BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts is no longer the top state in the country – or even New England – according to a new ranking.
Taking over No. 1 is Iowa. Also finishing ahead of Massachusetts in fifth is New Hampshire, which dropped three spots from its 2017 runner-up position.
One of the new metrics used by the latest report that may be contributing to the drop-off is a “Quality of life” category that takes into account the natural and social environment of a state. Massachusetts finished in the middle of the pack at No. 25 in that category.
But there are plenty of bright spots. Massachusetts came in first in education, which is determined based on high school and college graduation rates, college readiness and student debt.
It’s also No. 5 in health care, but continues to struggle at 45th in the infrastructure category.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker went on CBS This Morning last year to tout his state’s first-place ranking.
“I think part of it is we have a lot of smart people, we have a lot of great schools,” Baker said. “That has led to a whole series of terrific, what I would call ecosystems around technology and healthcare and finance and education.”
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The governor’s office sent a statement to WBZ-TV following the publication of this year’s ranking.
” The Baker-Polito Administration is pleased that Massachusetts leads the nation in public education, energy efficiency and access tohealthcare, and while it is understandable that the organization would alter its metrics, the Administration is proud to have increased the rainy day fund by nearly 20%, brought spending in line with revenue, made significant down payments on pensions – all despite inheriting a billion dollar deficit – and also delivered tax breaks for working families,” Press Secretary Brendan Moss said.
Meanwhile New Hampshire is named the best state in the country for “opportunity,” thanks to its high median household income.
Elsewhere in New England Vermont finishes ninth overall and Maine getting top marks for public safety and corrections.
Following Iowa at No. 1 are Minnesota, Utah and North Dakota.
The bottom five states are Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, West Virginia and Alabama, U.S. News & World Report says.