New Hampshire is the most economically free state in the union, according to a report by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think tank.
New Hampshire scored a 7.93 out of 10 in this year’s report, well above its New England neighbors and far above lowest-ranked New York (4.49), which placed last for the fifth year in a row.
No other New England state made the top ten. Connecticut ranked 13th, Massachusetts 17th, Maine 36th, Rhode Island 38th, and Vermont 47th.
“New Hampshire’s low-tax, limited-government political culture continues to make the Granite State the envy of both New England and the nation,” said Andrew Cline, president of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, which partnered with the Fraser Institute in releasing the study. “New York and Vermont, on the other hand, continue to show us that economic freedom retreats when under attack from high taxes and heavy regulations.”
The Economic Freedom of North America report measures government spending, taxation and labor market restrictions using data from 2017, the most recent year of available comparable data.
“When governments allow markets to decide what’s produced, how it’s produced and how much is produced, citizens enjoy greater levels of economic freedom,” said Fred McMahon, report co-author and the Dr. Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom at the Fraser Institute.
Rounding out the top five freest states are Florida (2nd), Tennessee (3rd), Virginia (4th) and Texas (5th). Rounding out the bottom five are West Virginia (49th), Alaska (48th), Vermont (47th) and Oregon (46th).
The report also includes an additional all-government ranking, which adds federal government policy to the index and includes the 50 U.S. states, 32 Mexican states and 10 Canadian provinces.
From 2003 to 2017, the average score for U.S. states in the all-government index fell from 8.23 to 7.92. Across North America, in the most-free jurisdictions, the average per capita income in 2017 was 9.2 percent above the national average compared to 3.4 percent below the national average in the least-free jurisdictions.
“Higher levels of economic freedom lead to more prosperity, greater economic growth, more investment, and more jobs and opportunities,” said Dean Stansel, report co-author and economics professor at Southern Methodist University.
The Economic Freedom of North America report, also co-authored by José Torra, the head of research at the Mexico City-based Caminos de la Libertad, is an offshoot of the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World index, the result of more than a quarter-century of work by more than 60 scholars, including three Nobel laureates.
Detailed tables for each country and subnational jurisdiction can be found at www.fraserinstitute.org/economic-freedom.