Sunday, January 6, 2008

Ranking of the states (States 31-40)

Before I get to the ranking of states 31-40, I thought it would be only fair to provide a counterargument to Maine being ranked 49th on my scale. One of my friends is from Portland , Maine and had this to say about his home state:

"Kevin, your evaluation and "ranking" of the state of Maine is completely bogus.

True, we do not have a professional sports team...but I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing. People in New England identify with and support New England sports...whether the team is based in Foxboro or Boston . It brings a certain camaraderie to the region that transcends state lines.

Maine is one of the most geographically diverse states in the country. We have rivers, lakes, mountains, wilderness, and more coastline than any other state on the eastern seaboard...yes including Florida . Hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to Maine every year for it's natural beauty, state and national parks, beaches, and yes...the incredible sea food. To discount any of these fine points would be a true injustice to the state, as well as your method.
And regarding the "awful weather," it's not nearly as cold as your home here in Minnesota . True, we do have more annual snowfall, but is because of the snow we can enjoy incredible skiing, snow showing, snow snowmobiling, ice fishing, dog sled racing, etc. And if you ever get a chance to experience the Narnia-like winter wonderland scene that follows a fresh snowfall it will all make sense.

I could keep going about education, employment, politics, crime rates, etc...and that it is consistently ranked as one of the top places to live / raise a family in the country.
I am truly flabbergasted and blown away by your dismal evaluation of a truly unique and extraordinary state, and would urge you to reevaluate." - former Maine resident

If you care for my response I have left it on the comments section of this post.

Here are the rankings of states 31-40:

40. Alaska: The “Last Frontier” What is the state known for? Outdoor beauty

Alaska is 1st in size and 47th in population of all of the United States, which means that like Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas there is plenty of open land. The state has brutal weather and despite having produced both Trajan Langdon and Carlos Boozer a terrible sports scene. Also, the state has a high cost of living (7th), but thankfully a good disposable income rank (12th). That should mean that Alaskans at least have the money to afford the high cost of living. However, all of that is assuming that you have a job in Alaska though since Alaska ’s unemployment is at 6.1%, which is 48th worst. The reason the state isn’t ranked worse is because of how unbelievable everyone says it is to vacation there. The natural beauty and the perceived friendliness of the people prevent this otherwise barren, frigid state from being ranked in the bottom 10.

39. Nevada. The “ Silver State ”: What is the state known for? Las Vegas

Unfortunately, for Nevada it is really only known national for Las Vegas. Until Vegas get an Nba team or UNLV goes back to their Jerry Tarkianian years the sports scene is pretty dead and that pulls the state down in the rankings. Of course you can always go to Vegas and gamble on every game known to man, but that is probably not the best long term idea. Nevada ’s job situation is below average since it has an unemployment % of 5.2%. The Disposable Income Rank (15th) and the Cost of Living Rank (13th) pretty much cancel each metric out, so it really comes down to the question on whether or not you would like to live in a city known for sin. I would much rather take a weekend trip to a place like Las Vegas or New Orleans than live there.

38. Iowa. The “ Hawkeye State ”: What is the state known for: Not much.

All I can really think of is: Field of Dreams, Wrestling, and Presidential Primaries. I welcome any challenge to that from any readers/friends from Iowa . Anyway, does it really matter that Iowa isn’t really known for anything? Does it matter that there are no professional sports teams and besides wrestling Iowa and Iowa St. aren’t really top-notch athletic schools? Does it matter that there are no attractions (living in MN I have no desire to go to Iowa for anything besides the Field of Dreams set) and below-average weather? In my mind, yes that matters. The good news and the reason Iowa is ranked higher than expected is that the cost of living (38th) compared to the disposable income (28th). Also, the unemployment % of 3.9% (ranked 18th) is above average. It seems like you can live a nice, good if not somewhat boring life in Iowa .

37. Oklahoma. The “ Sooner State ”: What is the state known for? Indians

Oklahoma with the self-titled state song is a state that I rarely think of when thinking of possible states to live in. Much to my surprise when I filled out the survey on (I recommend the website) I once got Oklahoma City , OK as the top city I should live in. I guess the only times I really think of Oklahoma is in discussion of the Indians (which is rare) and the football team. Like Iowa this state has a low Cost of Living Rank (46th) compared to the Disposable Income Rank (39th), so if anything it is a cheap place to live. Also, the state gets points in my books for being such a rabid basketball loving state. Who knew Oklahoma would support the Hornets so much better than New Orleans ? Overall there isn’t much else to say about the state, so lets move on.

36. North Dakota/ The “ Peace Garden State ”: What is the state known for? Buffaloes

The Cost of Living Rank (36th) is favorable and the Disposable Income Rank (29th) is only slightly unfavorable, so it seems like North Dakotans should have a fine monetary situation. Also, another positive (who knew there were so many positives about ND) is that they have a low employment rank of 3.4%, which is tied with Delaware for 13th best . The negatives of North Dakota are that the weather is awful and there is absolutely nothing to do. M and one of my good friends came up with a top 10 list of things to do in North Dakota and I am pretty sure a statue of a white Buffalo on the side of the road was in the top 3. North Dakota isn’t even the most famous of the Dakotas , which leads me to:

35. South Dakota. "Mount Rushmore State": What is the state known for? (Surprise) Mount Rushmore.

South Dakota is average or below-average in every ranking besides Cost of Living where it comes in as the 12th cheapest state to live in. At least there is Mount Rushmore and the fact that it isn't North Dakota.

34. New Jersey. "Garden State": What is the state known for? Being a suburb of New York

Have you ever tried to write down all 50 states? It is much tougher than you expect and for me I was able to name 49 out of the 50 states. The one I missed was New Jersey. That being written New Jersey has a great job market, a high disposable income rank, and a great intelligence rank. I think 34th out of 50 is a good spot for the Garden State.

33. New Hampshire. "The Granite State": What is the state known for? Self-Sufficiency

32. Arkansas. "The Natural State": What is the state known for? The Ozarks

From all indications Arkansas football fans are crazy as evidenced by them hiring Bobby Petrino and then holding a press conference where they "called the hogs":"

31. Utah. "The Beehive State" Or (seriously) "The Mormon State": What is the state known for? Mormons

I am partial to Utah because A) I am a Utah Jazz fan and B) M and I like the show Big Love.

Stay tuned for the rest of the rankings.


Kevin Malphurs said...

I agree with you that my ranking of Maine seems tough since based on a completely subjective viewpoint I really like the state. The problem is that the numbers just don’t add up. According to the stats it is an expensive place to live with a COL ranking of 14th most expensive state. That combined with the Disposable Income ranking of 35th weighted Maine down heavily.

Also, the employment % is 4.8% (which is 33rd out of the 50 states) and there is only 1 Fortune 1000 company. The numbers seem to suggest that in Maine it is tough to find low paying jobs even as you are spending more to live in the state than other states.

The sports thing is a personal preference. The point you make on New England sports is valid, but when I was considering the ranking of sports I was looking at seeing what sports I could see within the state. One of the reasons I like Minneapolis is that I can go to Twins, Twolves, and Vikings games. You could easily take up the sports ranking of Maine or remove it completely if you were doing another ranking.

I rated Minnesota and Maine as a 2 out of 10 in regards to weather. Again this is a personal preference since I don’t like skiing, snow showing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, dog sled racing, etc. I would like to live some place warmer.

As for education only 24.3% of people who live in Maine and are over 25 have a bachelor degree or higher. This is ranked 37th out of the 50 states.

I didn’t look at politics or crime rates or best places to live. Those might be good metrics to add in the future. Also, as I wrote in my blog I think food would be a great metric to add and definitely something that I was impressed with when I was in Maine . I did rate the state highly in terms of where I would want to vacation.

BC said...

Please notify me when this series of posts ends so that I can stop washing my hair/sweeping the kitchen floor/taking long walks while thinking about soccer's offsides rule/doing other things that aren't quite as boring.