Boston, MA– For the second year in a row, Massachusetts came in at #8 on the U.S. News and World Report list of Best States. We’ve fallen since 2017, when we were rated #1. What happened to us, guys?

If it’s any consolation, we did achieve #1 in the category of Education this year, with a second-place ranking for access to health care. Massachusetts’s high school graduation rate is 87.5 percent, higher than the national average of 84.1 percent. Our state also gets high marks for its health care system, which led the way with universal health care coverage in 2006. And the business environment is welcoming to technology startups.

But Massachusetts was in the bottom 10 states based on measures of short-term fiscal stability, energy, transportation, and affordability. We rank #44 on infrastructure, and it’s no surprise that this is pulling us down. We heard from the MBTA this week that just to get the system in good working order, it will cost $10 billion. And as for affordability, Boston has some of the highest rents and is among the most expensive housing markets in the country. You need to make about $80,000 in order to rent your own apartment in Boston. The median annual income in Massachusetts is $42,000.

The best state in the U.S. according to the 2019 rankings is Washington. While it doesn’t rank #1 for any particular category, the state is strong overall, particularly in areas of infrastructure, the economy, health care, and education. Washington is up from #6 in 2018. The aerospace industry is a huge factor in the state’s economic stability, with thriving business in the technology and clean energy sectors as well.

The states at the bottom of the list were Louisiana (50), Alabama (49), and Mississippi (48).

The methodology behind Best State rankings by U.S. News and World Report took into account survey data and government statistics for 71 different metrics across eight categories, which were weighted in order of importance as follows:

Health Care: 16%

Education: 15.8%

Economy: 13.8%

Infrastructure: 12.9%

Opportunity: 12.7%

Fiscal Stability: 10.5%

Crime & Corrections: 9.9%

Natural Environment: 8.4%

These weights were assigned based on surveys of residents as to what mattered most to them.

Image via Wikimedia Commons / Alexrk2