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Is Illinois a good place to live? U.S. News releases best state rankings

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While not quite a bottom feeder, Illinois ranks No. 38 among U.S. states, receiving dismal marks for its fiscal health and economic outlook, according to a new state-by-state analysis.  

According to the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, the state ranks last in the United States for short-term and long-term fiscal stability, No. 43 for its economy, and No. 40 for opportunity.

How does Illinois rank for crime? 

The state's best ranking came in the crime and corrections category, where it ranked No. 15. It ranked better than the national average for incarceration rates and violent crime per 100,000 residents.

The rankings factored in pension liabilities, which have exploded in Illinois over the years, for long-term stability. The state did record a positive credit rating, an improvement from decades ago.

The report examined budget balancing and liquidity for short-term stability. The study found that the state's liquidity numbers were well below the national average.

How does Illinois' economy rate? 

For the economy, the study found that Illinois ranked below the national average for job creation and net migration, as more people left the state for other places.

In the opportunity category, the report looked at affordability, equality, and the overall economy. The state ranked above the national average for cost of living, higher than average for median income ($76,708), and below the national poverty rate.

Illinois does comparatively well on education metrics, primarily due to a strong ranking for K-12 (No. 7) compared to higher education (No. 38).

The state's high school graduation rate (87.3%) exceeds the national average, while math test scores come in just above average. The average student loan debt ($14,926) is slightly above the national average. 

According to U.S. News, the ranking looked at 71 metrics in six categories.

The report said, "The data behind the rankings aims to show how well states serve their residents in various ways." 

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