Californians stop bragging about your beaches, mountains and culture, Californians. The latest study by U.S. News editors say all those amenities add up to nothing short of the worst “quality of life” in the United States.
The annual Best States ranking was part of a study that scored all 50 states across eight categories: health care, education, economy, opportunity, infrastructure, crime and corrections, fiscal stability, and quality of life.
More weight was given to scores in categories that, based on a survey, “mattered most to people.”
Due to that factor, health care and education were weighted the heaviest (16 percent), followed by state economies (14 percent), citizen opportunities (13 percent), and then infrastructure, crime and corrections, fiscal stability and quality of life. The data was derived from management consulting firm McKinsey & Company‘s Leading States Index.
“This explains why Iowa, ranking No. 1 in infrastructure and No. 3 in health care, occupies the overall No. 1 spot in the Best States rankings,” as U.S. News writes. “And it explains why Minnesota, ranking No. 2 in quality of life and No. 3 in opportunity for its citizens, ranks No. 2 overall in the Best States rankings.”
Overall, California fell in at No. 32 — behind New York (at No. 25), New Jersey (at No. 19), Florida (at No. 15), and Nebraska (at No. 7). California scored high in state economy (No. 4), but failed when it came to citizen opportunity (No. 46), fiscal stability (an understandable ranking at No. 43), and quality of life (dead least, at No. 50).
In this ranking, quality of life is defined by more than just the sunny skies.
“In addition to a healthy environment, a person’s quality of life is largely a result of their interactions with those around them,” U.S. News writes. “Studies show that when people feel socially supported, they experience greater happiness, as well as physical and mental health.”
Now, don’t expect that this claim of California having a poor quality of life holds any water. The five highest-ranked states in that category — North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and South Dakota — each maintain an average winter temperature that’s under 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Frankly, no pleasant interaction can make up for that kind of unbearable, frigid weather.
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