What makes a state the best? Is it great education, or access to and affordability of health care? Or do safety and infrastructure top the list?
Turns out, it's all of the above, and more.
Massachusetts apparently has what it takes to be a superlative state, according to theU.S. News and World Report.The Bay State ranked first in the publication's "Best States" list.
The ranking is based on seven key metrics. Health care, education, crime and corrections, infrastructure, opportunity, economy and government all factor in to a state's score.
Massachusetts achieved was ranked first in the nation in the education category. Students in the state took the top spot for high national math scores; and access for children to education is among the highest in the nation.
The state was ranked second in the health care category with top rankings in subcategories of child wellness visits and health insurance enrollment.
The state ranked first in the nation in internet access.
Contributing to the state's top ranking were such factors as its employment rates, business environment, entrepreneurship and patent creation. And as a hub of technology and education, the state was ranked first in the nation in internet access.
New Hampshire, Minnesota, North Dakota and Washington round out the Top 5.Louisiana was ranked the worst state, preceded by Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama and New Mexico.
Best known for its ranking of universities and colleges, U.S. News and World Report's Best State ranking is a new effort by the website. Government and private sources were used to determine the roster, which the publication says it created to renew focus on the states.
"We pay too much attention to Washington, and not enough to the states," editor and chief content officer Brian Kelly said. "And yet, you look at the states and all of the issues we talk about in broad strokes are playing out there –education and health care and crime, the economy and jobs."