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State Rankings by US News & World Report

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 7:29 pm UTC
by Pfhorrest
So I'm seeing it reported all over the place today that in some new survey California was ranked last in "quality of life" among the US states.

Here's a relatively neutral report:
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nat ... 384853002/

But conservative blowhards everywhere seem to be running a victory lap, a la:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/03/01/ca ... -says.html

Top of the list, on the other hand, was North fucking Dakota. Feeling like I slipped into bizarro land, I looked into the original report as linked from that USA Today article above:

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states

...aaaand it does not seem to confirm what everyone is reporting? Until I dug into the US News site a little further and found:

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states ... ty-of-life

Which turns out to be only one of eight categories according to which they rank states, and furthermore the category given the least weight in the overall ranking because it's what survey respondents said was the least important aspect to them:

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states ... ethodology

Funny that, "quality of life" is the least important thing to people? Maybe that's not such a good name for the thing you're measuring?

Re: State Rankings by US News & World Report

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:13 pm UTC
by pogrmman
Some of their choices seem pretty arbitrary. Why is voter participation a factor in quality of the social environment? I mean, sure, if there’s active voter suppression, that should count against it, if there’s not, why should it count against the social environment? Not everybody likes or wants to be politically engaged.


Also, their weighting certainly needs to be changed. Do people really want to live in North Dakota? Sure, if you work in the oil industry, you can make lots of money. But is there anything else to do there?

Re: State Rankings by US News & World Report

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:46 pm UTC
by Yablo
pogrmman wrote:Also, their weighting certainly needs to be changed. Do people really want to live in North Dakota? Sure, if you work in the oil industry, you can make lots of money.

The same argument can be made for Alaska.

But is there anything else to do there?

If you count "stand outside and look at the beautiful scenery," they've got that. Again, so does Alaska, but we also have fishing.

I agree something is wrong with the Quality of Life ranking, unless I totally misunderstand the definitions of "Natural Environment" and "Social Environment." In Natural Environment, Alaska was ranked #42. They mean to say fucking New Jersey (at #32) has a Natural Environment that much better for quality of life than Alaska?! Alaska is nothing but Natural Environment. Ask the bears that stroll past my house every spring and summer.

And in Social Environment, Alaska was #1. Seriously? I call absolute bullshit on that. First of all, most Alaskans prefer their privacy. It's a huge part of the reason we even have a population. I suppose a case can be made for how tightly-knit the many remote communities are, but I can just about guarantee they hate each other there, too. It's important not to conflate Social Environment and mistrust of outsiders. Second, my state doesn't really get motivated for social justice stuff like some other states, so that can't be it either. Our voter turnout is pitiful as well. I've lived here off and on my entire life, and for the past 13 years in this current run. I've never seen anything to suggest Alaska should be anywhere higher than the bottom 1/3 (at best) in the Social Environment category.

Re: State Rankings by US News & World Report

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:22 pm UTC
by bantler
This smells like West Coast propaganda to deter immigration. I hope it works.

Re: State Rankings by US News & World Report

Posted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:45 am UTC
by ObsessoMom
You can safely ignore any rankings of the Best Places to Live in the U.S., the Best American Universities, the Best Companies to Work For, etc., etc. These rankings are all as subjective as hell, even if they're not (as I suspect) completely bogus.

Except, of course, when your own hometown, alma mater, or employer is in the top ten. Then these rankings are completely valid and well-researched, and you are a perceptive genius for having picked the right place to spend your time. Well done, you!

Re: State Rankings by US News & World Report

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:30 am UTC
by Prefanity
I can't understand how Nevada got fifth in infrastructure when my own city can't reliably keep my power on when clouds peak over the Sierras (let alone do anything).

Re: State Rankings by US News & World Report

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:30 pm UTC
by slinches
But all five roads in that state are in excellent condition!!!

And the validity of these studies are likely quite good for the right audience (i.e. those whose values match the author's exactly). And putting it this way is much more likely to get grant funding than saying "I'd like you pay me to figure out where I should I move to."

Re: State Rankings by US News & World Report

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:33 pm UTC
by cphite
pogrmman wrote:Some of their choices seem pretty arbitrary. Why is voter participation a factor in quality of the social environment? I mean, sure, if there’s active voter suppression, that should count against it, if there’s not, why should it count against the social environment? Not everybody likes or wants to be politically engaged.


There are parts of California that are actually quite conservative, and as an overall percentage of the population of the state, conservatives are larger than most people might assume... but for anything outside of local politics, their votes are effectively meaningless. And so a lot of them don't bother voting; which makes the conservative vote even more meaningless.

The opposite is true in some red states; there are liberals who really don't have much of a say in anything beyond the local level.

This makes for a lot of frustrated people; and frustrated people aren't as happy. In California, it's reached a point where some people actually want to break off and form a new state.

Also, their weighting certainly needs to be changed. Do people really want to live in North Dakota? Sure, if you work in the oil industry, you can make lots of money. But is there anything else to do there?


It depends on what you mean by things to do... some people love it because there is so little there.

Re: State Rankings by US News & World Report

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:07 pm UTC
by bantler
pogrmman wrote:Some of their choices seem pretty arbitrary. Why is voter participation a factor in quality of the social environment? I mean, sure, if there’s active voter suppression, that should count against it, if there’s not, why should it count against the social environment? Not everybody likes or wants to be politically engaged.


I'm sure voter-suppression isn't factored because Winners deny it exists.