Map 175 is a ranking of all fifty states and how well they are run according to a group called 24/7 Wall Street. I found the information for the map on a Yahoo Finance article and then turned it into a map (something they really should have done by themselves). 24/7 Wall Street compiled the rankings using a variety of criteria. “There is no comprehensive measure of how well or poorly a government runs a state” so their “basis for this ranking consists of measures of financial health and fiscal responsibility, as well as socioeconomic outcomes such as unemployment, poverty, and crime – conditions state governments are tasked with managing and improving” [Yahoo Finance]. So, the data is theirs, the map is mine. Take a look.
According to the source article, North Dakota has been at the top of this ranking for the past five years. New Mexico has been at the bottom for two years running. I’m very proud of my home state of Minnesota being ranked second. Democratic Governor Mark Dayton isn’t perfect and a Republican-controlled State Congress doesn’t share the same goals as myself but we do have a very well run state. And that’s not just a boast considering the available evidence! 14 of the top-20 states in the country are in the Northern Midwest, the West, and the Pacific Northwest. 13 of the bottom-20 states are in the Southwest and the Southeast. It does not appear that bigger or smaller states have any particular advantage. If you live in the United States, how does your state rank? And if your state ranks poorly, what are you doing to fix it?
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The end of 2016 is upon us at last so Map 176 shows the search terms each state used more than any other state. 2016 was a pretty bad year for a lot of people but that didn’t stop people in North Dakota from Googling Dirty Grandpa more than any other state. A lot of search terms in the map are famous people that died, including Prince (Minnesota), Gordie Howe (Michigan), Gene Wilder (Wyoming), Craig Sager (Illinois), Arnold Palmer (Pennsylvania), Gwen Ifill (Maine), Harper Lee (Alabama), Muhammad Ali (Kentucky), Florence Henderson (Indiana), David Bowie (Vermont), Merle Haggard (West Virginia), and Abe Vigoda (New Hampshire). There were quite a few famous people that died this year but evidently it was more important for the people of Missouri to research McDonald’s all day breakfast. I also assume that all states Googled “Alan Rickman” equally because that wonderful actor deserved to be looked up after his death.
There really are a lot of interesting terms in this map. Hawaii was interested in the Supermoon more than the other 49 states while Florida cared about the Zika Virus. California wondered if 2016 really was the worst year ever and I can’t say I blame them. It certainly was a negative year considering the Brangelina divorce (Delaware), Islamic State (Iowa), Syria (Oregon), and Harambe (Rhode Island). Politics crept in the Googlesphere as well, with Donald Trump (New Jersey), “how did Donald Trump win” (Idaho), “Pizzagate” (Alaska), “Comey letter” (Connecticut), and “new Comey letter” (Georgia). It wasn’t all bad in 2016, of course. This year brought us Simone Manuel, Gold Medal Olympian (Maryland), Gilmore Girls (Utah), and Beyoncé halftime show (Louisiana). Hopefully 2017 will be better. I’m not holding my breath, but hopefully.
See you next year,