Minn., N.D. are in top 10 ‘livable’ statesBISMARCK—North Dakota and Minnesota are both in the top 10 most livable states in a new set of rankings announced Wednesday. And Minnesota has reclaimed the title of healthiest state nine years after it last topped that list.
By: Janell Cole, N.D. Capitol Bureau
BISMARCK—North Dakota and Minnesota are both in the top 10 most livable states in a new set of rankings announced Wednesday. And Minnesota has reclaimed the title of healthiest state nine years after it last topped that list.
But North Dakota, ranked safest state every year for the past decade, has fallen out of the top spot and is now No. 3, according to the rankings. Among the states beating it out as most livable is New Jersey.
Minnesota is 17th safest.
New Hampshire is the most livable and safest state, according to the rankings. Minnesota knocked Vermont out of first place in the healthiest rankings, which had been first for six of the past seven years.
Mississippi is the least livable and least healthy state, while Nevada is the most dangerous, according to the ranking in a series of publications announced Wednesday by CQ Press.
CQ Press has taken over the lists formerly published annually by Morgan Quitno Press.
Press releases for the publications do not specify where North Dakota ranked last year in health and livability, nor where Minnesota ranked last year in the three areas.
A spokesman for Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said the governor is not surprised.
“We’re pleased to see that once again Minnesota has been named one of the most livable states in the nation,” said Brian McClung. “We’re biased, but despite what this survey says, we think we’re number one overall. Minnesota does rank first in Fortune 500 companies per capita, first in student ACT scores, first in the highest percentage of residents with high school diplomas and bachelors degrees, and first in child well-being.”
In North Dakota, Gov. John Hoeven’s spokesman said the ranking in the top 10 is a sign of the state’s continuing progress.
“This is good news, of course,” said Don Canton. “Clearly we’re making progress, and we need to keep it going. In fact, we’re seeing good business and quality of life rankings in other surveys, like Forbes Best Places for Jobs and Careers and Beacon Hill Press. That’s why we’ve seen our population stabilize, and in fact grow by 7,000 people since 2003.”
CQ Press said it ranked states’ safety based on rates of crime in six categories—murder, rape, aggravated assault, burglary, robbery and motor-vehicle theft, but it does not say what year’s statistics were used. A call to the CQ Press seeking the information was not immediately returned.
A spokeswoman for Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said crime statistics for 2007 have not been completed or analyzed yet.
In September, Stenehjem said the FBI’s report that violent crime in North Dakota jumped 15 percent in 2006 worried him, especially pertaining to the upward trend of aggravated assault since 1999. He attributed it in part to methamphetamine drug use.
In 2006, North Dakota recorded eight homicides. A review of news databases shows the state had at least 12 homicides in 2007. From 1978 through 2006, the state has had between six and 22 homicides per year, with the 22 having been in 1993. The years with six murders were 1982, 1994 and 2002.
CQ Press is a division of Congressional Quarterly of Washington, D.C.
The publications can be seen at http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/206349/00b0a8bec7/59000866/4a3cf64f89.
Janell Cole works for Forum Communications Co., which owns The Dickinson Press.