INDIANAPOLIS — A new category in U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best States” rankings plays a role in pulling Indiana’s overall ranking down to 33rd out of 50. That’s a big tumble from its No. 22 ranking in 2017.
“Quality of Life,” measures each state’s natural and social environment. It takes into consideration each state’s drinking water, pollution, voter participation and community engagement. This is the first year that category been used in U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings. and Indiana’s inaugural score landed the state 48th out of 50. It finished behind only New Jersey (49th) and California (50th).
Here’s how Indiana finished in the other categories, compared to its 2017 rankings:
- Crime & Corrections: 30th (33rd)
- Economy: 25th (26th)
- Education: 35th (27th)
- Fiscal stability: 8th (New in 2018)
- Healthcare: 40th (41st)
- Infrastructure: 30th (20th)
- Opportunity: 11th (4th)
Indiana released more toxic chemicals into the air than all but five other states in the U.S. in 2016 — 133 million pounds of them, to be exact.
While Indiana ranks in the bottom half of states in overall ranking, it scored highly in two categories: fiscal stability and opportunity. Fiscal stability measures long-term and short-term stability, while opportunity measures economic opportunity, equality and affordability.
The rankings are determined by the average of two years of surveys, asking a combined total of 30,000 people to rank each category’s importance in their state. You can read more about the methodology here.