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Kerry states concentrated in the least free regions of U.S.

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Red States Enjoy More Economic Freedom

Kerry states concentrated in the least free regions of U.S.

The Pacific Research Institute has released its U.S. Economic Freedom Index for 2004, ranking the 50 states based on the amount of economic freedom afforded to their residents.

The institute defines economic freedom as “the right of an individual to keep what he earns, produce what he wants, and compete in product and labor markets of his choosing, subject to the restriction that he cannot use force or fraud to further his interests.”

To derive its rankings the institute created indexes for 48 different criteria such as tax rates, state spending, environmental regulation, etc., giving states a rating of 1-50 in each, with 1 being most free. The state with the lowest average number was the freest.

Kansas took the top billing in 2004, replacing Idaho as the nation’s most economically free state. Arizona made the most progress from 1999 to 2004, advancing 14 places. New York was again rated the least economically free state, edging California for the honors.

The chart below ranks the states from most to least economically free and shows how each of the states voted in the 2004 presidential election — either Red or Blue. President Bush won 23 of the top 25 more economically free states, while Sen. John Kerry (D.-Mass.) picked up just two. You’ll see that states that Kerry won are concentrated in the less economically free regions of the country.

U.S. Economic Freedom Index 2004

Rank State
Score
1999 Rank
1 Kansas

18.18

10

2 Colorado

18.81

14

3 Virginia

18.86

2

4 Idaho

19.02

1

5 Utah

19.35

3

6 Oklahoma

19.56

18

7 New Hampshire

20.19

6

8 Delaware

20.90

7

9 Wyoming

21.24

4

10 Missouri

21.82

13

11 Arizona

21.89

25

12 Nevada

22.10

20

13 South Carolina

22.41

16

14 Indiana

22.69

22

15 South Dakota

23.34

5

16 Iowa

23.43

24

17 Texas

23.52

8

18 North Dakota

24.00

21

19 Georgia

24.06

12

20 Nebraska

24.23

23

21 Montana

24.63

26

22 Florida

25.12

30

23 Arkansas

25.14

15

24 North Carolina

25.58

17

25 Alabama

25.87

11

26 Tennessee

26.16

19

27 Maryland

26.54

35

28 Mississippi

26.54

9

29 Oregon

26.86

41

30 Maine

26.93

42

31 Washington

27.28

40

32 West Virginia

27.73

32

33 Alaska

27.82

38

34 Michigan

27.90

27

35 Hawaii

27.95

39

36 Vermont

28.04

34

37 New Mexico

28.37

28

38 Wisconsin

28.75

37

39 Kentucky

29.13

29

40 Louisiana

29.16

31

41 Massachusetts

29.41

47

42 New Jersey

30.19

48

43 Ohio

30.91

33

44 Minnesota

31.13

43

45 Pennsylvania

31.58

45

46 Illinois

32.77

36

47 Rhode Island

33.21

49

48 Connecticut

35.21

46

49 California

38.79

44

50 New York

39.50

50

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