Much has been made of U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of Massachusetts as the nation’s No. 1 state.
The commonwealth performed very well in measurements such as health care, economic growth, and schools.
The ranking—which U.S. News says is the first such comprehensive one for states—fails to give much weight to two key costs that should make Massachusetts far from the best state in the union: namely, housing and childcare.
Massachusetts is far and away one of the most expensive states for childcare, particularly of the infant variety. The Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank, pegs the annual cost for infant childcare here at more than $17,000.
And housing! Massachusetts, especially its dense eastern reaches around Boston, has some of the nation’s costliest rents and prices (the median price of a downtown Boston condo, for instance, hit $790,000 in 2016, according to data firm LINK). Bidding wars, all-cash offers, and chronically low supply only compound such high prices.
Finally, while we’re at it, Massachusetts residents also endure some of the nation’s worst traffic—congestion that steals not only time, but real dollars, and that public transit does little to really alleviate.
Then there’s the weather....
So, yes, Massachusetts is a wonderful state in which to live; but it’s far from the best of the lot.
- Ranking States, Highlighting Success, Promoting Progress [U.S. News & World Report]
- Boston traffic among world’s worst, new report says [Curbed Boston]