As a resident of North Dakota, it's pretty cool when we get recognition on a nation level. While we may not get in national headlines all that often, U.S. News & World Report has recognized we still live in one of the better states in the country with it's 2019 state rankings.

The publication has been doing these rankings since 2017. This year North Dakota came ranked as number 15, putting us in the top half of the country. That's a good rating, though not great once you consider North Dakota was ranked the fourth-best state in 2017 and 2018.

So what caused the drop? 

The report uses more than 70 metrics in eight major categories, and they have tweaked the categories slightly each year. This year the categories were: health care, education, economy, infrastructure, opportunity, fiscal stability, crime & corrections, and natural environment. Health care and education were the two most heavily weighted categories.

One area where North Dakota takes a major hit is with health care. Our state was ranked as the 38th best in healthcare placing us firmly in the bottom half of the country. This category was broken into three main subcategories: access, quality, and overall public health. We were middle of the road as the 25th ranked in public health. More troubling is a bottom-10 ranking in quality of healthcare services (44) and another near bottom-10 finish in access (39). The report goes on to break down these categories further. What really sunk ND in this ranking was second to last finishes in both hospital and medicare quality.

Another area ND struggled in was in the economy category. Even though our state ranks seventh in employment, ND was dinged for business environment (41) and growth (42).

Well that's a downer, surely there's something positive though, right?

Yes, there is! We did great in infrastructure (5) and  opportunity (4) as well as decent scores in fiscal stability (13), crime & corrections (18) and education (20).

High marks in economic opportunity (9) and affordability of living (11) helped raise ND's opportunity score. We could us some improvement in equality (33) however.

Infrastructure was another high mark for our state. High marks in energy (5), internet access (11) and transportation (13) helped give ND a high score.

So what do you think? Did U.S. News & World Report get it right? What's your favorite thing about our state?

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