Is Kentucky the best state? This ranking says no

Kentucky's not even close to being the best state in the country, according to a ranking released Tuesday.

In fact, we came in 42nd on a list put out by the U.S. News and World Report, ranking just above Alaska and Oklahoma in the bottom 10 states.

So what put us so low on the list? Well, here's how the ranking worked.

The list took into account seven categories — from health care to economy — to determine which states "are doing best at what matters most to Americans," according to U.S. News.

With help from consulting firm McKinsey & Company, U.S. News assembled thousands of data points from public documents to produce an online portal that's searchable to anyone.

The media outlet then weighted categories based on a survey conducted by McKinsey to determine where states should rank. Health care — the category survey participants cared most about — was weighted the highest at 18 percent, while government was weighted the lowest at 10 percent.

► Aloft Louisville named on Best New Hotel List

610 Magnolia one of '100 Best Wine Restaurants'

Kentucky has low ranks in the categories of health care, infrastructure and economy, placing it further down the full list of states than neighboring Indiana — which ranked 22 overall with high marks in the government and opportunity categories.

"It's hard to be good at many things," U.S. News editor Brian Kelly said in an article about the project. "The value of a ranking like this is we use our judgment to say, it's not just one thing that makes a state great. It's a combination of things. Are you serving your whole population?"

Of course, there are things about our rank that we could take issue with. Who wouldn't want to see their state higher on the list?

But when you look through Kentucky's statistics, it's easier to remember the progress we've made — and the issues that still need tackling.

Kentucky ranked 8th nationwide in the subcategory of health insurance enrollment, with just 10.8 percent of Kentuckians uninsured. But it ranked 45th for public health, with high rates of infant mortality, obesity and adults who smoke cigarettes.

In its best performing category, Kentucky ranked 11th for crime and corrections — placing seventh nationwide for the state's low violent crime rate. (In Louisville, we might beg to differ. Though we don't want to fight a positive ranking.)

It's unclear if or when the data will be updated and a new list released. But for now, Kelly of U.S. News said he hopes the information will help "spur behavior."

"I'm assuming, I'm hoping, that a bunch of governors look really hard at this, raise some questions, some state legislators get engaged," Kelly said in the article. "... We think, across the board, transparency and some light on these issues is very valuable."

For a closer look at Kentucky's data, visit usnews.com/news/best-states/kentucky.

Reach reporter Bailey Loosemore at 502-582-4646 or bloosemore@courier-journal.com.

Courier-Journal


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment