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Pollen fills an oak tree near the State Capitol, Friday, February 24, 2017, in downtown Baton Rouge, La.

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK

Louisiana is the worst state in the country, according to a new analysis based on health care, education, infrastructure, crime and other quality-of-life measures.

U.S. News & World Report, known for annual education, health care and other consumer-focused rankings, launched its first ever "Best States" list Tuesday as part of a new data-driven interactive platform designed to provide insight into how states stack up on various issues.

The review for Louisiana isn't pretty, with the state receiving low marks in individual rankings on crime and corrections (50th); opportunity (49th); education, economy and government (46th in each); health care (45th) and infrastructure (39th).

Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama and New Mexico rounded out the bottom of the list. In a similar list last year compiled by Politico Magazine, Louisiana came in 51st, because Washington, D.C., was also included.

At the top of the new "Best States" list: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Minnesota, North Dakota and Washington.

“Together, the new Best States rankings and platform are a comprehensive effort to provide citizens with a full picture of what’s working and what needs to be improved in their states," Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer of US News & World Report, said in a news release announcing the inaugural rankings.

U.S. News based its rankings largely on federal government data, including the U.S. Census, National Center for Education Statistics, the FBI and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Other sources included ACT, Moody's investors service and regional research centers. The data was weighted based on a nation-wide survey of which issues Americans find most important to their quality of life.

Louisiana did see a couple of bright spots, ranking 7th in state budget transparency and 18th in affordability.

Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration noted that the assessment is based on, in some cases, data that dates back to 2013.

"This is a great effort and could be a valuable tool in guiding public policy, but the initial report lacks critical information and uses outdated statistics that pre-date the current administration," Edwards spokesman Richard Carbo said. "While the governor understands there are areas for improvement, the methodology used in this report to take a quick score of every state certainly doesn't come close to capturing the very best parts of making a life here in Louisiana."

He noted that since Edwards took office last year, the state expanded its Medicaid program to cover more low-income workers. In that time, more than 400,000 have received health care coverage through the expanded program, reducing the state's uninsured population.

Edwards, a Democrat, was in Washington, D.C., on Monday for the annual winter meeting of the National Governors Association.

Carbo said that other findings in the report highlight the governor's priorities on issues like equal pay legislation and criminal justice reform.

Louisiana ranked 49th in gender parity in the report and 50th in corrections.

"Gov. Edwards believes we can make positive reforms in the criminal justice system that will remove our state from this top ranking," Carbo said. "Aside from comprehensive tax reform, criminal justice reform, will be the focus of the governor’s legislative agenda in April, and we are confident the state will see an improvement in next year’s report."

U.S. News & World Report state rankings 
 Best States  Worst States 
1. Massachusetts50. Louisiana
2. New Hampshire 49. Mississippi  
3. Minnesota 48. Arkansas 
4. North Dakota 47. Alabama 
5. Washington 46. New Mexico

Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.