Ohio ranks low in new study on state prosperity

Prosperity in Ohio has been stagnant over the past decade, and the state does not rank particularly well when compared to other states in the country, according to a new report.

The Buckeye State is the 34th most prosperous state, according to the United States Prosperity Index(USPI), published by the Legatum Institute. The index aims to measure the degree to which all 50 states and Washington, D.C., have inclusive societies, open economies and empowered people.

The report found prosperity in the U.S. improved over the past decade. Concurrent with that improvement is a narrowing of the gap between the most prosperous state, Massachusetts, and the least, Mississippi.

“Policymakers rarely consider fiscal and macroeconomic policy at the same time as social factors,” Philippa Stroud, CEO of the Legatum Institute, said in a news release. “But prosperity is the result of economic and social well-being working together. This report demonstrates the vital importance of viewing prosperity holistically to create an environment in which everyone can reach their full potential.”

The report ranked the Midwest as a whole third out of five regions, naming the Northeast as the most prosperous region and the Southwest the least. Within the Midwest, Ohio ranked eleventh out of the 12 states.

Minnesota was the best ranking Midwestern state, coming in at No. 3 nationally, followed by Wisconsin (No. 13) and Nebraska (No. 16). Among the Midwestern states, only Missouri performed worse than Ohio, coming in at No. 36 on the list.

Indiana ranked 32nd, while Michigan came in at 26th. Pennsylvania, considered as part of the Northeast, was No. 25. West Virginia trailed at No. 48, while Kentucky was at No. 45; the report classified both as part of the Southeast.

The research revealed Washington, D.C., experienced the most significant increase in prosperity over the past decade, topping California and South Carolina, which ranked second and third. Four states – Alaska, Louisiana, North Dakota and South Dakota – experienced a decline in prosperity.

While the report found prosperity has increased nationwide during the past decade, the data shows that no states perform well in all aspects. It also indicated the growing mental health crisis and declining social capital hinders further growth.

Since 2009, Ohio has not ranked better than No. 32 or lower than No. 35. The best-performing category for the state was education.

Ohio also ranked 40th for economic quality, 44th for the natural environment, 23rd for the business environment and 24th for living conditions.

One area where the Buckeye State did rank well was government integrity.

The United States ranks 19th globally for the integrity of its government, which has been increasing over the last decade, despite a small decline over the previous year. Ohio ranked No. 8, jumping 27 ranks over the past decade.

About The Center Square 700 Articles
The Center Square was launched in May 2019 to fulfill the need for high-quality statehouse and statewide news across the United States. The focus of our work is state- and local-level government and economic reporting. A taxpayer sensibility distinguishes our work from other coverage of state and local issues.