February 28, 2017

NM ranked 46th on list of ‘Best states’

Laura Paskus

New Mexico ranked near the bottom of yet another list, this one ranking “Best States.”

U.S. News & World Report’s ranking put New Mexico at 46th place out of the 50 states. The ranking came from seven different categories, most of which New Mexico ranked near the bottom.

In the crime and corrections category, New Mexico ranked 49th, only ahead of Louisiana. The lowest marks came  in the public safety category, where New Mexico ranked 50th. That evaluates the violent crime rate and the property crime rate, relying on the FBI’s 2015 numbers.New Mexico had both the second-highest property crime rate and 3rd-highest violent crime rate.

For corrections, New Mexico was actually in the top-half, at 17, and ranked first in terms of low prison overpopulation.

New Mexico ranked highest in healthcare, 26th. The ranking was buoyed by the second fewest amount of nursing home citations and 6th-best rate of children with at least one dental visit each year. For Medicare quality, however, New Mexico ranked just 42nd.

When it came to education, New Mexico ranked 48th overall, largely because of a poor showing in the  Pre-K-12 subcategory. The high school graduation rate ranked dead last, while in the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading scores for 8th graders, New Mexico ranked second-to-last. On the other end of the scale, the pre-K quality ranked 7th.

For higher education, New Mexico ranked 17th, largely because of low tuition and fees and low debt at graduation. The four-year college graduation rate ranked 49th.

New Mexico’s lagging economy ranked 47th, with the growth of young population ranking 50th, while net migration ranked 49th.

New Mexico also lags in employment, ranking 49th for employment rate, 46th for labor force participation and 43rd for job growth.

The business environment ranks 25th, however, driven by a ranking of 13th in entrepreneurship.

Massachusetts was ranked as the best state in the nation, followed by New Hampshire, Minnesota, North Dakota and Washington.

Louisiana brought up the rear, ahead of Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama and New Mexico.