Utah’s strong economy and fiscal restraint have landed the Beehive State near the top of one analysis about the best-run states in the U.S.
Financial blog 24/7 Wall Street broke down a number of factors, including whether a state can meet their financial obligations, unemployment rate, migration patterns, and pension funding for public employees, to come up with their rankings.
Utah’s population has increased by about one-third since 2000. As Utah’s population expanded, the state has been able to achieve smart, sustainable growth. Water consumption fell by approximately 25%, largely due to increases in housing density that resulted in smaller lot sizes. Air pollution has fallen by roughly 50%, partially as the result of an extensive clean air campaign. Also, the number of vehicle miles traveled per person has remained largely unchanged due to increases in density and public transit infrastructure.
Due in part to a growing GDP, the state’s economy has easily accommodated the population influx. Utah’s economy expanded by 3.7% in 2016, nearly the fastest GDP growth among states and more than double U.S. economic growth the same year. As of 2016, just 3.4% of Utah’s workforce were unemployed, and only 10.2% of residents lived in poverty, far less than the 4.9% national unemployment and 14.0% poverty rates.
Iowa, Oregon and Washington rounded out the top-five.
On the other side, the bottom five states were Pennsylvania, Alabama, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Louisiana.