The good news is that Kentucky has moved up six ranks on the annual list of best run states in America. The bad news, of course, is this is in comparison to last year, when the Bluegrass State finished dead last.
For the second year, the financial website, 24/7 Wall St., has reviewed data on financial health, standard of living and government services by state to determine how well each state is managed. Based on this data, 24/7 Wall St. ranked the 50 states from the best to worst run. The best-run state is Wyoming. The worst-run state is California.
Last year, 24/7 Wall St. named Kentucky the worst-run state in the country. The Commonwealth saw slight improvements in the percentage of its population with high school diplomas and poverty rate. Violent crime dropped significantly — now the 10th-lowest rate in the country, compared to the 17th-lowest last year. Despite these improvements, Kentucky remains one of the poorest states in the country, ranking among the five worst for median income and poverty rate. It is also one of just four states to be awarded an unfavorable AA- credit rating, the third worst score awarded to any state.
Kentucky’s state debt per capita is $3,107 (23rd lowest), and its unemployment rate averaged 9.7% (13th highest). Kentuckians without health insurance amounted to 15.3% of the population (20th highest), and 18.2% of our citizens were below the poverty line (4th highest).
To determine how well -- or how poorly -- a state is run, 24/7 Wall St. weighed each state’s financial health based on factors including credit score and debt. They also evaluated how a state uses its resources to provide its residents with high living standards, reviewing dimensions such as health insurance, employment rate, low crime and a good education.
This year, as a new component of their analysis, 24/7 Wall St. obtained additional budget data for each state. Examining the state’s revenue and expenditures, and what each government opted to spend money on, allowed them to determine if a state overspent limited resources, failed to devote funds to an urgent need of its citizens or spent a great deal of money but with poor results. While they did not use expenditures or revenue in the final ranking, these numbers reflect how a state is managed. Together with other budget data, living standards and government services, it provided a complete picture of the management of each state.
The list of states, from best- to worst-run:
3. North Dakota
10. South Dakota
13. New Hampshire
19. North Carolina
34. New York
37. New Jersey
39. West Virginia
41. New Mexico
43. Rhode Island
45. South Carolina
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