A Landmark Study Measuring Economic and Personal Freedoms Across the States…
In a groundbreaking release, the 2023 edition of “Freedom in the 50 States,” a comprehensive index measuring both economic and personal freedoms at the state level, has named New Hampshire as the freest state in the United States. This extensive study, the only one of its kind, has evolved to include more policy variables, particularly focusing on land-use regulation and occupational licensing.
New Hampshire, leading the pack, set a record for the highest freedom score ever recorded in the 21st century. Governor Chris Sununu and the New Hampshire legislature have been commended for their efforts in maintaining the state’s top position since 2011. In a historical perspective, New Hampshire’s journey to the top spot has seen its share of ups and downs but has shown a consistent upward trajectory in recent years.
The index, which has been tracking data since 2000, employs a weighted sum of various variables to determine the overall freedom ranking of each state. These scores indicate how states fare in comparison to each other, with a score of 1 representing a state being one standard deviation above the average in every variable.
Following New Hampshire are Florida, South Dakota, Nevada, and Arizona, all significantly outpacing their peers. States like Tennessee and Indiana also find themselves in the top 10, maintaining their consistent performance in previous editions of the index.
On the other end of the spectrum, New York has been named the least free state, a position it has held since the inception of the index. Other states like Hawaii, California, New Jersey, and Oregon also feature in the bottom rankings, indicating lower levels of freedom as defined by the study’s metrics.
The index’s findings are significant as they encapsulate changes made by state legislatures and reflect the decisions of voters, particularly those elected in November 2020. The study presents a chain-linked index showing the evolution of the top and bottom states over time, highlighting the impact of governmental and electoral decisions on state freedoms.
The “Freedom in the 50 States” project began with the aim of creating a definitive source for economic freedom data at the state level in America. By adding more variables and refining measurement methods, the 2023 edition stands as the most comprehensive analysis of its kind, offering valuable insights into the state of freedom across the United States.
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