PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — U.S. News & World Report is out with its latest Best States rankings, and once again Rhode Island falls in the middle of the pack.
The magazine ranks Rhode Island 26th out of the 50 states, with neighboring Massachusetts much closer to the top at 8th. The only New England state ranked lower than Rhode Island is Maine, which placed 32nd. Top honors nationally went to the state of Washington, while Louisiana ranked dead last.
Rhode Island ranked 21st on the first U.S. News Best States list back in 2017, then fell to 28th last year, though a spokesperson cautioned that a change in methodology make that somewhat of an apples-to-oranges comparison.
U.S. News ranked the states across eight categories. “The overall ranking takes a holistic view of all of these category rankings to determine which states are best for their citizens in all aspects,” the magazine said in a fact sheet.
Rhode Island took top honors in one, scoring first in the nation for its natural environment as measured by air and water quality as well as pollution.
Rhode Island also placed 5th-highest for health care and 13th for crime and corrections. But the state ranked 49th for infrastructure and 41st for education, as well as 20th for its economy and 31st for both fiscal stability and opportunity.
Massachusetts ranked first nationally for education, second for health care, fourth for crime and corrections, and seventh for economy. The Bay State’s worst ranking was for infrastructure, at 44th. It was near the middle for the natural environment (26th), opportunity (29th) and fiscal stability (30th).
Health care and education were weighted most heavily for the overall rankings.