U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best States Rankings placed Iowa at 14th this year, down from No. 1 in the 2018 rankings. Iowa was one of two states that dropped out of the top 10 list from a year ago, along with North Dakota, which dropped from fourth to 15th. 

The study considers 71 factors across eight areas: health care, education, economy, infrastructure, opportunity, fiscal stability, crime and corrections, and natural environment. Washington state moved up from sixth to the No. 1 spot, with strong showings in the three highest-weighted measures — health care, education and economy. 

Iowa’s ranking was affected by some sharp declines in those three measures, including dropping to 20th in health care from No. 3 last year, from fifth to No. 9 in education, and from 17th in economy to No. 32 in the 2019 rankings. Iowa’s highest ranking among the eight areas considered was for opportunity, with a No. 2 ranking.

Two of Iowa’s neighboring Midwest states — Minnesota and Nebraska — maintained spots in the top 10, at No. 3 and No. 9, respectively. To see details of how Iowa ranked in each category, 
click here.