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Say what? U.S. News ranks Florida only No. 15 in nation

Florida lawmakers and tourism agencies are quick to boast that the Sunshine State is by far the best state in the nation.

U.S. News and World Report disagrees.

According to the second annual 2018 Best States study, the digital news organization ranks Florida fifteenth of the 50 U.S. states.

Number one? Iowa.

This year’s rankings were based on 77 metrics across eight categories, the publication said.

In calculating the rankings, each classification was weighted “based on the average of two years of data from an annual national survey that asked a total of more than 30,000 people to prioritize each subject in their state.”

In order of importance to the total rank, 2018’s subjects were: health care, education, economy, opportunity, infrastructure, crime and corrections, fiscal stability, and quality of life.

Florida scored highest on two economic measures: third in fiscal stability, and fifth on the economy (the state’s current unemployment rate is at 3.7 percent, 20th best in the nation).

In another coup for Republican lawmakers who have controlled the state Capitol for two decades, education was listed as seventh nationwide.

“Opportunity” was the state’s worst ranking, finishing 36th. The second lowest was health care, as the nation’s third-largest state was ranked 34th.

“U.S. News & World Report is well-known for producing in-depth, data-driven rankings in education and health care that help people make key life decisions,” said U.S. News & World Report Chair Eric Gertler. “In evaluating the best states in the nation, we have combined trusted, high-quality data with the power of journalism to fill the current gap in local reporting, and ultimately to empower citizens, business leaders and policymakers to engage in improving their states.”

The entire list of the 50 states is here.

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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