Don’t take state rankings at face value

The American Press

Louisiana BayouAmerican Press composite

<p class="p1">As the Louisiana Legislature continues its current regular session, the state has fared poorly in the latest ranking of states in the annual U.S. News and World Report 2018 evaluation.

<p class="p3">In fact, our beloved states is at rock bottom, No. 50.

<p class="p3">While this is bad news, we should remember such reports don’t tell the whole story of each state, merely how they score on a set criteria that may or may not be fair, if all possible factors could be taken into consideration.

<p class="p3">Louisiana is a beautiful state with great people, unique culture, history, heritage and natural resources. We shouldn’t be discouraged by such reports, but learn from them and be more determined to improve on those areas that we can improve.

<p class="p3">We shouldn’t want to be like all other states, but we should want to keep what we love about Louisiana and keep it unique while improving our state’s economic and job  opportunities for our own Louisiana families.

<p class="p3">The top five states in the rankings are: 1. Iowa; 2. Minnesota; 3. Utah; 4. North Dakota; and 5. New Hampshire. The bottom five are: 46. Alabama; 47. West Virginia; 48, New Mexico; 49, Mississippi; and 50. Louisiana.

<p class="p3">The geographic imbalance of the top and bottom should be obvious. Why does the survey seem to favor mostly far north states, while mostly southern states do so poorly. There must be factors that are not being taken into consideration.

<p class="p3">The factors each state is judged by are health care, education, economy, opportunity, infrastructure, crime and corrections, fiscal stability and quality of life. 

<p class="p3">Louisiana’s ranking on each of the categories are: health care, 47; education, 49; economy; 44; opportunity, 50; infrastructure, 44; fiscal stability, 48; quality of life, 42.

<p class="p3">While it is right to question the fairness of such reports, we should also admit there is plenty of room for improvement in all those categories. Our elected officials shouldn’t just be defensive, but do more to improve Louisiana while not sacrificing our state’s history, heritage, culture and uniqueness.

<p class="p3">To read more of the report, visit www.usnews.com/news/best-states/rankings.

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