Connecticut is the 12th best state in the country in which to live, according to a report released by U.S. News and World Report on Feb. 28.
The study, which incorporated statistics in areas including states’ economies, crime prevention methods and education systems, listed every state in the Northeast in the top half of the ranking. Massachusetts and New Hampshire are the best and second-best states to live in, according to the report.
Connecticut’s 12th-place ranking puts it above two of its three neighbors: New York ranked 17th and Rhode Island ranked 21st. City spokesman Laurence Grotheer said it was “heartening” to see Connecticut ranked as high as 12th.
Connecticut had an especially high ranking in the education category, at fourth overall. In this category, states were tested on the performance of students in pre-K through 12th grade and their performance in higher education. Connecticut ranked third in college readiness and second in preschool enrollment.
But though students in Connecticut have the 13th-highest high school graduation rate and the eighth-highest four-year college graduation rate of any state, they are also the ones to graduate with more student debt than students in all but seven other states.
Connecticut ranked 12th for health care availability. The state performed better in crime and corrections, placing eighth. That category measured the amount of violent crime and the number of incarcerations within states. Connecticut’s high ranking in this crime and corrections category can be attributed in part to the steep drop in violent crime in New Haven since 2011.
Despite this high state ranking, city resident John Daniels harbored concerns about crime in New Haven.
“People seem to be getting a hold of guns more easily,” Daniels said. “Shootings don’t seem to be considered a big deal anymore, or at least not as big of a deal as they used to be.”
But the Nutmeg State ranked poorly in various other categories — particularly those related to the state economy. The study found Connecticut to have the 13th worst economy and the 25th worst infrastructure out of all states. And though the state is ranked above average in employment, it also has the seventh-slowest rate of economic growth.
New Haven resident Selena Evans said state and city government should be doing more to create jobs and stimulate economic growth. Yet Grotheer said the state’s economic woes can in part be attributed to its “dysfunctional” taxation system.
“Because of state limitations on the ability of municipalities to raise revenue, towns are pitted against one another in a competition for development and industry,” Grotheer said. “A statewide property tax would eliminate competition between cities and towns, and if one town wasn’t at the throat of the next, a more suitable environment for economic growth would exist.”
City officials, including Mayor Toni Harp, have made frequent visits to Hartford over the past weeks to ask the state to provide New Haven and other Connecticut cities with adequate funding from tax money. Many in the city are concerned that the new state budget, which likely will be signed early this summer, will move several multimillion dollar payments from the state government to municipalities without giving the local governments a means to cover these new payments.
States in the deep south, Appalachian region and the southwest ranked poorly on the list. The most populous U.S. states, California, Florida and Texas, ranked 23rd, 24th and 38th, respectively.