Whether you love where you live or you’re thinking about moving to or from Colorado, the Best State Rankings from U.S. News & World Report shows Colorado in the top 20. Colorado ranks 16th in the nation based on seven metrics – drawn from thousands of data points – according to U.S. News & World Report. Categories evaluated for the ranking include state performance on health care, education, state economy, infrastructure, public safety, fiscal stability of state government, and the opportunity the state brings its residents.
“Health care and education were weighted most heavily. Then came state economies, infrastructure, and the opportunity states offer their citizens. Fiscal stability followed closely in weighting, followed by measures of crime and corrections and a state’s natural environment,” writes U.S. News & World.
Overall, Colorado has the eight largest land mass covering 104,095 square miles and is home to more than 5.75 million people who have a median income of $38,200. Colorado’s gross domestic product (GDP) is $393 billion.
State rankings on each of the metrics ranges widely from No. 2 in economy to No. 45 in fiscal stability. Following are details on each category.
Colorado ranks tenth nationwide in health care, US News’ highest-weighted metric. Factors considered are access and affordability, health care quality and health outcomes.
The second most heavily weighted factor is education. Colorado achieved the No. 5 position in the nation for its performance in educating students in preschool, K-12 and different levels of higher education.
With its years-long low unemployment, it’s not surprising that Colorado’s economy is the second in the country, as measured by the US News metrics of unemployment rates, GDP growth, migration into the state, patents, new businesses and other measures. The top-ranked economy is Utah and Idaho at is third, rounding out the top three.
Colorado is a respectable fifteenth in infrastructure ranking. This measures the quality of bridges, public transportation, power grids and broadband.
According to this report – at 41st – Colorado is ninth from the bottom nationwide for the opportunity ranking. The opportunity metric measures the state’s poverty, housing affordability and equality for women, minorities and people with disabilities. Iowa, Minnesota and New Hampshire rank as the top three states on this measure.
This ranking tracks the state government’s credit ratings, liquidity, pension fund liability and budget balancing. Colorado is 45th in the nation.
Crime and corrections
The state ranks No. 41 on an analysis of its public safety and the quality and fairness of prison systems, including racial bias.
In a state loaded with natural beauty and some of the country’s tallest mountains, Colorado should be at the top of this category. The state came in at 23rd in the nation for this measure, which is based on air and water quality and exposure to pollution and toxins. The top three are Hawaii, New Hampshire and South Dakota.
Methodology used for the overall Best State ranking from U.S. News & World Report considers 71 metrics across eight categories and 20 subcategories.
See the full report at usnews.com/news/best-states/rankings.