The Peace Garden State ranked first in fiscal stability and rise in youth population while also getting high marks for government efficiency and labor force participation.
Applying a wealth of data across a range of categories, such as health care access and economic growth, U.S. News and World Report has determined that North Dakota is the fourth best state in the country in a new report.
Seven categories were measured to determine the rankings. The Peace Garden State ranked first in fiscal stability and rise in youth population while also getting high marks for government efficiency and labor force participation.
The news wasn’t all good, however, as the same report indicated that North Dakota is near the bottom of the rankings - 46th out of 50 states - in the area of budget transparency.
According to Frontier Group, a public policy organization that helped compile the report, budget transparency rankings rely on ease of accessibility to and availability of state budget information.
Overall, North Dakota fared well in key categories. One boon to the state is its population growth: nearly 758,000 people live in North Dakota now compared to 672,500 in 2010.
Much of the population spike is attributable to the Bakken oil boom, but the state has been able to retain much of its population after production dropped due to falling prices.
The ability to maintain its population and attract people to the state may also be due to North Dakota’s high rankings in health insurance affordability (third overall) and low crime rate, among other factors.
Gov. Doug Burgum expressed his excitement about the report in a recent press release.
“We’re thrilled that North Dakota placed higher than all but three other states in the ‘Best States’ rankings,” Burgum said. “Our top-five position is a testament to the state’s innovative and hardworking people and a strong commitment to health, education and the economy from leaders at all levels.”
State legislators return from recess Wednesday to continue to tackle budget issues and preserve the state’s desirability moving forward.
One area that will be at issue is health care affordability, as legislators will be revisiting a Medicaid expansion discussion that started before the break.
Burgum acknowledged challenges the state faces despite its high ranking.
“We recognize there is room for improvement, and that begins with creating vibrant cities, diversifying our economy and reinventing government to be more efficient and responsive to citizens,” Burgum said.
Massachusetts ranked first overall in the report, while Minnesota placed third. South Dakota ranked 15th; Louisiana placed last.