The best state has been revealed, and it’s probably not what you think

The United States may be one nation, but it’s no secret that we love to rank the states. There are lists of the best states to live in as a woman, best states for health care, and even the states with the best food. And today, February 27th, 2018’s Best State was announced — with some results that might be surprising.

In its second ever Best States study, U.S. News & World Report compared data on factors like health care, infrastructure, and quality of life in all 50 states. And when the dust settled, the highest-ranking state was none other than Iowa.

"What an honor it is to recognize Iowans that are making a difference in communities every single day all across our state," Governor Kim Reynolds said on CBS This Morning. "And Iowa truly is a place where if you work hard, dream big, anything is possible." 

To determine the best states, McKinsey & Company’s Lead States Index was used. This database compiles survey answers from more than 30,000 correspondents into two years worth of data. States were evaluated based on their rankings in eight categories: Health Care, Infrastructure, Crime & Corrections, Education, Economy, Opportunity, Fiscal Stability, and Quality of Life.

Although the Hawkeye State is most widely known for its corn and its caucuses, the state scored highly in Infrastructure, Health Care, and Economy, making us feel like Iowa must be a great place to live.

But other states received their own accolades, too. Colorado and Utah were the strongest performers in the Economy category, while Massachusetts and New Jersey took the top two places in the Education section. Maine was the top performer in Crime & Corrections, and North Dakota came first in the Quality of Life competition.

Last year’s winner, Massachusetts, fell seven spots to eighth place overall.

Of course, no one list can objectively say which state is truly the best. But given that Iowa performed so well in several categories, we’re eager to visit and see what all the buzz is about. After all, any state that uses Taylor Swift lyrics on road signs must be doing something right. Congratulations to Iowa on this honor!