Though the economy is strong, air and water quality are a concern.
The U.S. News & World Report released its third annual Best States rankings, and Colorado's report card has some bright spots and some challenges.
Colorado ranked 10th overall on the report, the same spot as last year, coming in behind Washington (No. 1), New Hampshire (2), Minnesota (3), Utah (4), Vermont (5), Maryland (6), Virginia (7), Massachusetts (8), and Nebraska (9).
The study compiled its rankings by measuring outcomes for citizens using more than 70 metrics.
On the positive side, Colorado ranked No. 1 for economy, which isn't much a surprise seeing how much of a boom many parts of the state are experiencing. The report recognized the legal marijuana industry as an innovative revenue generator, as well as the military base presence and growing tech industry. Tourism still remains a big part of the state's economy, bringing in $20 billion-plus yearly in recent years.
The Centennial State also ranked No. 8 for infrastructure, No. 11 in education, and No. 12 in healthcare.
On the flip side, we still have several things to work on, according to the report. The state ranked No. 28 for opportunity, but a part of the calculation of that score is affordability, which Colorado came in at the dismal No. 44.
Colorado ranked No. 29 for crime and correction, as well as No. 29 for fiscal stability. Our worst score came under the natural environment category. Ranking No. 31, the state has 53 more days of unhealthy air quality than the national average. Part of this could be attributed to that booming economy and population growth, particularly in the metro areas. The air and water quality ranking under the natural environment category was No. 44, which leaves much room to improve.
Nationally, there is obvious concern among citizens of every state, according to the report. The survey found that only one in three Americans agree their state government is effective and doing all it can on behalf of residents.
"As people are increasingly concerned about income disparities, rising health care costs, gaps in education and crumbling infrastructure, it's more important than ever to focus on the day-to-day policies that affect people where they live their lives," said Eric Gertler, executive chairman at U.S. News. "This is where the U.S. News Best States project is vital. In conjunction with objective data and trusted journalism on state performance, the rankings fill the gap in local reporting for the benefit of residents, business leaders, decision-makers and government officials."
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