Freedom in America: A Comparison of Liberty in the 50 States

Even freedom can be fun!

Because America is built on competition, and nothing spurs competition more than interstate rivalries, especially comparisons of individual freedom, the CATO Institute has released its new report Freedom in the 50 States. It’s chock full of data to rev up that statewide pride.

The top five states for freedom in order:  New Hampshire, Alaska, Oklahoma, Indiana, and South Dakota (notably, in a recent TPOH post, South Dakota also earned a distinction for being affordable, so keep your eye on the Mount Rushmore State, whose very nickname embodies a sense of America’s best).

New York, California, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Maryland were ranked worst in overall freedom.

So what’s freedom?

(Click on the map to try the interactive features.)

According to CATO, it’s a lot of things. More than 230 different variables were measured to come up with an index. The variables are narrowed down to three broad categories: fiscal policy, regulatory policy, and personal choice. They can be further broken down into categories on litigation, insurance, education, marriage, asset forfeiture, incarceration, and labor, among other topics.

In an effort to be as transparent as possible, CATO is offering all the data it used to readers for them to make their own calculations, turning on and off variables that they may not value as CATO does. Nothing says freedom more than that.
How does your state rank?