US News & World Report best states: Curiosities and sidenotes

St. John's River, North Florida

View of the St. John’s River, North Florida. (DOTD)

US News & World Report rated states to see which ones performed best for the people who live there. If you look at facts about the states, it’s interesting when you look at the top five and compare populations to the overall population makeup of the US.

For starters, populations in the top five are predominantly white by a larger margin than the country as a whole. That isn’t the only curiosity, though.

Top honors went to Massachusetts. In terms of population, Massachusetts is one of the smallest US states in population. The US Census estimates the white population in Mass. at 82.1 percent.

Second place went to New Hampshire, a state in the middle more or less when it comes to population rank. The US Census estimates the white count there at 93.9 percent.

Minnesota is in third place. The overall population is similar to that of New Hampshire. Minnesota’s white population is 85.4 percent.

North Dakota is fourth. It’s one of the least populated states. The white population there is 88.6 percent.

In fifth place: Washington. Washington is one of the top ten in population size overall. The percentage of whites there totals 80.3 percent.

In the US, overall, whites make up 77.1 percent of the population.

A note at Census explains something that may be of interest to poll takers:

“Hispanics may be of any race, so also are included in applicable race categories.”

The state where I now live, and of course, I think it’s the best of all, is Florida. Florida ranked in the middle of US News’ study, and the Sunshine State is close to the figure in terms of “race” makeup for the US overall—77.7 percent white.

US News described the study:

“The Best States ranking of U.S. states draws on thousands of data points to measure how well states are performing for their citizens. In addition to health care and education, the metrics take into account a state’s economy, the opportunity it offers people, its roads, bridges, internet and other infrastructure, its public safety and the integrity and health of state government.”

PayPal contributions link adAnother interesting note about Massachusetts involves immigration. The Bay State is the only state taking top honors from US News and also on a Pew list of the top 15 for immigrants. As of 2012, Massachusetts was not among top states for illegal migration.

It’s interesting to look at the study US News did and dig into each state’s makeup. It’s also interesting that of those top five states with white populations larger than the country overall, Donald Trump won only one of them—North Dakota. Hillary Clinton, the Democrats’ selected candidate, won the others.

It’s also interesting the top five have cold winters, one reason I’ll never live in any of them willingly. Florida does make a body forget the cold.

What does all this mean? I have no idea, but it was fun to look at numbers, populations, and the election results for those top five.

It’s also useful to note that selection of criteria for the study would naturally include biases. What one defines as good government another might decry.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Feb. 28, 2017)

About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.

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