(05/15/2019)
Charleston politicians, many with ownership and vested interests in the continuing "resurrection" and development of the state's natural extractables, have been hard pressed for over a century to embrace 20th and 21st Century developments or certainly any "green new deal."

West Virginia ranks 47th in U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 Best States survey, unchanged from its ranking in last year’s report.

The study, based om 80 metrics, paints a dismal picture of a state that has been stuck for years.

Furthermore, WV is a state that people are leaving as quick as they can, except the devoted people of place lovers and those who can't finance a "bus ticket."

The state now has populist movement that has thrown all their cards to President Donald Trump to resurrect and develop the state's centuries old format to make it great again.

Of course, those who benefit from their business enterprises are quite happy.

The state ranked 50th in two categories — economy and infrastructure — and slipped in the survey in two other categories, including health care.

West Virginia ranked in the upper half of states in only one category, crime and corrections, an analysis of public safety as well as quality and fairness of the prison system, where the state ranked 21st — up from 31st in 2018.

“As people are increasingly concerned about income disparities, rising health care costs, gaps in education and crumbling infrastructure, it’s more important than ever to focus on the day-to-day policies that affect people where they live their lives,” Eric Gertler, executive chairman at U.S. News & World Report, said in a statement accompanying release of the annual survey.

“This is where the U.S. News Best States project is vital,” he added. “In conjunction with objective data and trusted journalism on state performance, the rankings fill the gap in local reporting for the benefit of residents, business leaders, decision-makers and government officials.”

A measure of more than 70 metrics and tens of thousands of data points, the survey ranks states overall and in eight categories: crime and corrections, economy, education, fiscal stability, health care, infrastructure, environment and opportunity — the latter measuring poverty rates, housing affordability, and level of equity for women, minorities and people with disabilities.

West Virginia ranked 30th in that category, slipping from 23rd in 2018.

It also slipped from 49th to 50th in economy, a category measuring unemployment rates, Gross Domestic Product growth, migration into the state, patents and new businesses, among other metrics.

It also slipped from 44th to 48th in health care, which measures health care access, affordability and quality, as well as health outcomes for residents.

Deidre McPhillips, senior data editor at U.S. News & World Report, said West Virginia is comparatively strong in health care access, including ranking fourth in the U.S. for the lowest percentage of adults who went without a routine health checkup in the past year, at 23.8 percent.

“However, it has room for improvement in terms of public health, with the worst rates of smoking, obesity and mental health out of all 50 states,” she said.

In addition to improving in the category of crime and corrections, West Virginia moved up one spot in education, from 45th to 44th, a measure of quality of education from preschool to higher education.

West Virginia remained unchanged at 50th in the nation in infrastructure, a compilation measuring quality of bridges, public transportation, power grids and broadband.

It ranked 41st in environment, a new category in the 2019 survey, measuring air and water quality, and pollution levels.

Joining West Virginia as the bottom 10 states are: Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Alaska, Arkansas, New Mexico, Mississippi and Louisiana, which finished 50th.

Top 10 states in the 2019 report are: Washington, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Utah, Vermont, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, Nebraska and Colorado.

Among other bordering states, Ohio finished 39th, followed by Kentucky at 40th.

This was the first time Washington finished first in the U.S. News & World Report survey. The report cited a booming economy for the state — which is home to Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing — as well as top five rankings for health care, economy, infrastructure and education.

Conversely, Louisiana ranked 50th in three categories — crime, opportunity and environment — and no higher than 43rd in any category.


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