The John Locke Foundation just published its First In Freedom Index, a report that compares and ranks the relative freedom of all fifty states.
The North Carolina-based think tank says it has an institutional commitment to “individual liberty and limited, constitutional government,” weighed four different variables to compile the rankings.
The most significant consideration was fiscal policy, which measures taxes and budgetary measures. This aspect generated 50 percent of each state's score, with 20 percent given each to education and regulatory policies, and the final 10 percent to health care policy.
Here's a graphic representation of the country:
The overall results from the report show:
- The 'freest' state is Florida, followed by Arizona, Indiana, South Dakota, and Georgia.
- The 'least free' state is New York, followed by New Jersey, California, West Virginia, and Kentucky.
These are the state rankings based solely on fiscal policy:
These are the educational freedom rankings:
Here are the states' rankings based upon regulatory freedom:
And lastly, here are the rankings for health care freedom:
George Mason University's Mercatus Center also released a “Freedom in the 50 States” map, that includes more than 200 economic and personal variables in their calculations.
The results from George Mason University on the 'least free' state agree with the John Locke Foundation, placing New York at the bottom. But the two lists differ on the 'most free' state, with Mercatus Center putting North Dakota first.