The best-run states in America
Fri October 15, 2010 8:22 am

We have all heard about how great Texas is doing, how it is number one in job creation (true). But that is just one part of the picture. The Web site 24/7 Wall St. published a study on October 4 of “The Best and Worst Run States In America.” These are numbers you won’t hear Rick Perry bragging about.

From the introduction to the article:

How well run are America’s fifty states? 24/7 Wall St. has taken several months to consider that question. Our writers looked at hundreds of data sets ranging from debt rating agency reports to violent crime rates, unemployment trends and median income. Of those, we chose what we considered to be the 10 most important ranking of financial and overall government management. The best run state is Wyoming. The Worst is Kentucky. The standing of each is supported by their ranking in the data sets we considered, as are the rankings of all fifty states.

24/7 Wall St. has completed one of the most comprehensive studies of state financial management ever performed by the mainstream media. It is based on evaluation principles used in the award-winning Best Run States In America ratings published by the Financial World Magazine during the 1990s. These studies were used by state governments to evaluate the efficiency of their own operations. The new 24/7 Wall St. study is meant to help businesses and individuals examine state operation with an unbiased eye.

CATEGORY: Debt per capita
Texas: $8,711
Highest (worst): Alaska $14,260
Lowest (best): Idaho $3,706
Texas rank: 36 of 50

CATEGORY: Gross domestic product per capita
Texas: $37,500
Highest: Delaware $56,000
Lowest: Mississippi $24,000
Texas rank: 19 of 50

CATEGORY: Median household income
Texas: $48,259
Highest: N/A
Lowest: N/A
Texas rank: 25 of 50

CATEGORY: Credit rating
Texas: AA+
Highest AAA (11 states tied)
Lowest: A- (California)
Texas rank: 12 of 50 (tied with fourteen states)

CATEGORY: Home price change (2006-2009)
Texas: +10.4%
Highest: Wyoming +23.6%
Lowest: Kentucky 6,1%
Texas rank: 16 of 50

CATEGORY: % with health insurance
Texas: 76.4%
Highest: Massachusetts, 95.5%
Lowest: Texas 76,4%
Texas rank: 50 of 50

CATEGORY: Violent crime rate
Texas: 502 per 100,000 population
Highest: South Carolina, 720 per 100,000
Lowest: Maine, 110 per 100,000
Texas rank: 39 of 50

CATEGORY: % of population below poverty line
Texas: 17%
Best (lowest): New Hampshire, 8.5%
Worst (highest): Arkansas, 19%
Texas rank: 44 of 50

CATEGORY: Adults with high school education
Texas: 78%
Best: Wyoming, 91.8%
Worst: Texas, 78%
Texas rank: 50 of 50

CATEGORY: Composite ranking
Texas: 36 of 50

The best-run state, according to this ranking, was Wyoming, the worst, Kentucky. Texas is never going to score well on these state-to-state comparisons because of its population characteristics. It is a lot easier for Wyoming to score well, with its largely homogenous white population, than it is for Texas, with its diverse population. What Wyoming does is irrelevant to Texas. But it should be of concern that Texas is not doing as well as states like Virginia and Maryland. Regardless of the rankings, it ought to be cause for concern to the state’s leaders that one out of every six Texans lives in poverty and fewer than half of our adults have completed high school. But it’s not even a subject for discussion.

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