The high quality of life in the West was confirmed again with the release of the U.S. News and World Report "Best States Rankings," which includes 7 western states in the top 20.
North Dakota earned the highest "overall" ranking among western states, landing at No. 4, while Washington (5), Utah (7) and Colorado (9) also made the top 10. Nebraska (13), South Dakota (15) and Oregon (19) rounded out western states in the top 20.
The report noted that even though the oil boom that fueled North Dakota's rise has slowed, "overall oil production has held up" and "unemployment in North Dakota – about 3% – stood among the lowest jobless rates in the nation last year."
Western states also ranked highly in other aspects of the annual ranking, which seeks to highlight states performing best for their citizens. For example, the top four states for "Infrastructure" are western: Oregon, Washington, Utah and Nevada.
U.S. News and World Report employs more than 60 metrics to measure outcomes on issues such as health care, economy, infrastructure, education, state government and more. (Read the full report)