Study determines which states enjoy best overall quality of life, looks for partisan trends
Madison – June 25, 2013: When it comes to quality of life, what’s the best state? Ballotpedia, a nonprofit, nonpartisan collaborative encyclopedia that connects people to politics, examines this question in Part Two of its groundbreaking study, Who Runs the States.
Praise or blame is attributed to political parties for the economic, educational, health, and other quality of life outcomes resulting from the policies enacted into law by those parties. Both major political parties claim that their policies lead to better quality of life outcomes.
The researchers at Ballotpedia decided to see what the data show. According to Geoff Pallay, lead author of the study, “The purpose of this study was to answer the question: Which partisan control setup leads to the greatest quality of life outcomes for citizens?”
Part Two of the Who Runs the States study establishes a State Quality of Life Index, aggregating 19 different existing state indices into one measurement. The study spans from 1992 to 2012. The state with the highest aggregate ranking during the 21-year period was New Hampshire. The worst performing state in the study was Mississippi.
Minnesota finished second overall and placed in the top five every year of the study. Conversely, only Mississippi and West Virginia finished in the bottom five every year from 1992 through 2012. One state–Nevada–placed one year in the top five (2005) as well as one year in the bottom five (2012).
The three states that experienced the greatest improvement from 1992 to 2012 were Texas, North Carolina, and North Dakota. The three states that saw the biggest decline in their rankings from start to finish were Nevada, Connecticut, and Illinois.
Part One of the study, published in May, examined partisan control of state government from 1992 through 2013. Part Three of the study, scheduled for release in July, will overlay the two initial reports, analyzing correlation between quality of life and partisanship in the states.
Established in 2007, Ballotpedia is a nonprofit and nonpartisan collaborative wiki encyclopedia designed to connect people to politics through the free and open sharing of information. It includes information about the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, ballot measures (including ballot measure law, school bond and tax elections, recall elections and local ballot measures), and state executives. Ballotpedia is published by the non-profit, non-partisan Lucy Burns Institute, which is based in Madison, Wisconsin.