U.S. News: N.J. ranked ‘Best State’ for education, No. 4 in health care — but one of the worst for fiscal stability

The state of New Jersey was ranked as the best state in the country for education, according to U.S. News & World Report, which released its annual rankings of states Tuesday morning.

U.S. News ranked states in eight categories: health care, education, economy, infrastructure, opportunity, fiscal stability, crime and corrections, and natural environment.

New Jersey earned three top finishes (also scoring well in health care and crime and corrections), but it had multiple low rankings, including fiscal stability, where the state ranked No. 49, with only Illinois lower).

U.S. News gave different weights to the eight scores, then totaled them for an overall state ranking. New Jersey finished No. 19 on the overall list — topping both New York (No. 21) and Pennsylvania (No. 40).

Here’s how N.J. fared in the eight categories:

  • Health care: No. 4 (Hawaii was tops);
  • Education: No. 1 (Massachusetts was No. 2);
  • Economy: No. 33 (Utah was tops);
  • Infrastructure: No. 41 (Nevada was tops);
  • Opportunity: No. 19 (Iowa was tops);
  • Fiscal stability: No. 49 (Alaska was tops);
  • Crime and corrections: No. 5 (New Hampshire was tops);
  • Natural environment: No. 33 (Hawaii was tops).

Here are the Top 10 states:

  1. Washington;
  2. Minnesota;
  3. Utah;
  4. New Hampshire;
  5. Idaho;
  6. Nebraska;
  7. Virginia;
  8. Wisconsin;
  9. Massachusetts;
  10. Florida.

Gov. Phil Murphy was thrilled by New Jersey’s ranking in education — which is a factor he strongly pitches to companies that are considering relocating here.

“Investments in our students are investments in the future of our state, and I am incredibly proud that our schools have been ranked No. 1 in the nation,” he said. “Today’s recognition by U.S. News & World Report proves that students across New Jersey — starting with our youngest learners — are given the opportunity to achieve long-term success. I would also like to thank the educators who work tirelessly to make sure that our students receive the best possible education.”

U.S. News & World Report described the rankings this way:

“At a time when the federal government is attempting to hand more responsibility for spending and policymaking to the states, these rankings offer the first comprehensive view, state by state, of how some states already are performing best. This highly interactive platform enables users to explore thousands of important benchmarks and easily draw state-to-state comparisons. Build a chart, share it and ultimately discover what all the states can learn from one another.

“The site also delivers a freshly updated menu of reporting and analysis on state trends and developments, making it a must-read source for anyone interested in what’s happening nationally.

“The data driving these rankings were drawn from extensive and reliable governmental and private sources as well as proprietary data, including a national survey of what matters most to citizens around the country. Among the eight main categories measured in the Best States rankings, 20 subcategories encompassing more than 70 metrics are taken into account.”

You can go to the rankings here.