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Is NJ one of the best states in the US? See the rankings

Is NJ one of the best states in the US?  See the rankings

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When you think of the best states in the country, where does New Jersey rank? Chances are, if you live in the Garden State, you probably think about it pretty hard.

And you wouldn’t be wrong: New Jersey is considered the 14th best state in the country, according to US News & World Reports’ 2024 Best State Rankings. This is an improvement from last year’s top state rankings, where New Jersey ranked 19th out of 50 states.

The rankings were based on eight categories: health care, education, economy, infrastructure, opportunity, fiscal stability, crime and corrections, and natural environment. Each of these categories was assigned a weight based on the three-year average of data from recent national surveys that asked nearly 70,000 people to prioritize each issue in their respective state. Each state also received individual rankings for each of these eight categories.

Where New Jersey Ranked in Each Category

Of the eight categories considered in the rankings, New Jersey ranked in the top half of the 50 states for six of them.

The state achieved the highest rankings for both healthcare and education and was ranked fourth overall. This is an improvement from New Jersey’s eighth-ranked health care ranking in 2023, which is in line with the report’s assertion that the nation has seen significant improvement overall in Medicare quality, enrollment for health insurance and air quality in the city.

However, New Jersey’s education rankings have fallen from second place in 2023, which the report said is due to findings that states in the Northeast are better at pre-K-12 education than at higher education.

“The top five states in the pre-K-12 subcategory (Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire and New York) are all in the bottom half of states for higher education,” the report said. “Almost across the board, these five states rank in the bottom 10 when it comes to tuition, fees and debt at graduation, with New York’s No. 14 in tuition and fees being the long exception.”

The state also maintained its fifth place in crime and correction, maintaining fairly similar standards as of 2023 by ranking 24th for both natural environment and economy. But the state saw significant improvement in infrastructure and ranked 16th compared to 35th in 2023.

Opportunity and fiscal stability are the two categories in which New Jersey performed poorly, ranking in the bottom ten of all states. The state ranks 43rd in opportunity and 48th in fiscal stability, remaining fairly consistent from their 2023 rankings.

What are the five best and worst states in the country?

Utah ranked as the top state in the nation, achieving top 20 results in seven of eight categories, according to the report. New Hampshire, Nebraska, Minnesota and Idaho round out the top five best states.

And Louisiana ranks 50th overall and is considered the worst state in the country, according to the report. New Mexico, Mississippi, Arkansas and West Virginia make up the remaining five bottom states.

Maddie McGay is the real estate reporter for NorthJersey.com and The Record, discussing all the things worth celebrating about life in North Jersey. Find her Instagram @maddiemcgay, on X @maddiemcgayyand sign up for her Living in North Jersey newsletter. Do you have a tip, trend or great house she should know about? Email her at MMcGay@gannett.