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Minnesota, North Dakota ranked high in 'Best States'


Minnesota and North Dakota have been recognized in top rankings on the U.S. News & World Report's first-ever "Best States" rankings released Tuesday.

Minnesota came in third, and North Dakota followed with the fourth-best ranking in the country.

To determine the Best States rankings, U.S. News & World Report measured seven categories: health care, education, infrastructure, crime and corrections, opportunity, economy and government.

Minnesota had high marks for health care, education and infrastructure.

The state had the third-best health care system in the country, with low mortality rates and high rates of residents with health insurance.

"This ranking affirms what we already know: We live in one of the very best states in the country," said Governor Mark Dayton in a news release.

Minnesota is ranked second best in opportunity, showing a low poverty rate and a high rate of gender equality.

North Dakota had the second-best economy, the sixth-best infrastructure and the seventh-best government efficiency in the rankings.

A breakdown of those categories ranked North Dakota first in commute time and growth of young population, third in labor force participation and fourth in both Medicare quality and two-year college graduation rate.

Gov. Doug Burgum welcomed the recognition, saying it underscores the state's commitment to excellence across all sectors.

"Our top-five position is a testament to the state's innovative and hardworking people and a strong commitment to health, education and the economy from leaders at all levels," Burgum said in a news release.

The state was seventh in opportunity, but ranked low in the subcategory of equality, which measured gaps in employment rates and incomes by race.

The report ranked North Dakota's overall government as the seventh-best in the country, and the state was first in fiscal stability. North Dakota was rated 46th in the government subcategory of budget transparency.

Minnesota had low scores in juvenile jailing and change in incarceration rates, which are subcategories of the crime and corrections category.

Massachusetts received the top overall ranking, and South Dakota ranked at 15. Louisiana was last.