Massachusetts tops 2017 Best States ranking

Massachusetts took the top spot in U.S. News & World Report’s inaugural list of the best U.S. states overall. Evaluated across 68 metrics, rankings for the 50 states are based on seven factors: health care, education, economy, crime and corrections, infrastructure, opportunity, and government.

Here are the top 10:

1.    Massachusetts

2.    New Hampshire

3.    Minnesota

4.    North Dakota

5.    Washington

6.    Iowa

7.    Utah

8.    Maryland

9.    Colorado

10.  Vermont

Massachusetts also ranks first for education, second for health care and fifth for economy.

According to Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer for U.S. News & World Report, Massachusetts has a “terrific” education system, both in higher education and K-12, and “phenomenal” hospitals, including Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The economy is benefiting from a concentration of smart people, he said.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker agreed.   

“That has led to a whole series of terrific, what I would call ecosystems around technology and health care and finance and education. And you put it all together, in this day and age, in this kind of global economy and global world that we live in, it’s a terrific mix,” Baker said Tuesday on “CBS This Morning.”

The state also has a “bipartisan approach” to working together, said Baker, a Republican governor in a reliably Democratic state.

“People are OK with the ideas of compromise and collaboration. If you look at the success we’ve had policy-wise in the education, health care, economy spaces, energy, and a whole bunch of others, they’ve all been things that have been done on a bipartisan basis,” Baker said.

One issue Baker has tackled on a bipartisan basis is the opioid crisis. Baker, who was seated next to President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, during the Governors’ Ball at the White House this past weekend, revealed he spent most of his time with her talking about the opioid epidemic.

“The plan we actually developed and worked through our legislature, the National Governor’s Association recommended it to the other governors, and 46 of them basically signed on to it and said this would be a good way for us to approach this problem in our states,” Baker said.

The plan includes prevention education and better training of prescribers.

“Until very recently, you could practice medicine, you can be a dentist, you could be a nurse, you could be a physician’s assistant and never take a course in pain management or opioid therapy. In Massachusetts, anyway, you’ve got to actually take a course and pass it now to graduate from any of those schools,” Baker said. 

New Hampshire, Minnesota, North Dakota and Washington round out the top five on the list.

Kelly said North Dakota landed its fourth place finish thanks to its economy, government and infrastructure. 

“There’s energy development there. The fracking, enormous gains in income in a short period of time. So, that’s a little bit transitional. Maybe that comes, maybe that stays, maybe it goes,” Kelly said. “But the North Dakota state government is really well run. They do a lot good things in terms of citizen services. So they’re just not like a flash in the pan. They’ve been doing this for a while, so, that’s a good example of a small state. They have a bonanza in revenues, but they’ve done good things with it.” 

For more details on the Best States ranking, visit USNews.com