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WASHINGTON — Louisiana is now three for three in being recognized as the worst state based on health care, education, infrastructure, crime and other quality-of-life measures, according to a national analysis released this week.

U.S. News & World Report, known for consumer-focused rankings on education, health care and other factors, released its third annual "Best States" list Tuesday. The feature was launched in 2017 to provide insight into how states stack up in specific areas of interest.

In addition to coming in 50th overall each time the report has been released, Louisiana this year also ranked 50th compared to all others in individual analyses on crime, opportunity and the environment. Other categories scored included the state's economy (49th), education (48th), fiscal stability (43rd), health care (45th) and infrastructure (48th).

“As people are increasingly concerned about income disparities, rising health care costs, gaps in education and crumbling infrastructure, it’s more important than ever to focus on the day-to-day policies that affect people where they live their lives,” said Eric Gertler, executive chairman at U.S. News. “In conjunction with objective data and trusted journalism on state performance, the rankings fills the gap in local reporting for the benefit of residents, business leaders, decision-makers and government officials.”

Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia and New Mexico rounded out the bottom of the list.

At the top: Washington, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Utah and Vermont.

According to U.S. News, the "Best States" methodology was streamlined this year "to reflect more objective, transparent and comparable data across the framework."

"The rankings are based on more than 70 metrics and tens of thousands of data points," U.S. News said in a news release.

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration has argued the data U.S. News uses for some categories is years old and pre-dates his time in office or only includes his first few months.

“Unfortunately, this ranking doesn’t accurately reflect the progress Louisiana has made in recent years and how much better we are doing today given the gains that we have made in many critical areas that directly impact people’s lives,” Edwards said in a statement. “Louisianans know how much better we’re doing now than when we were facing down a $2 billion dollar deficit just a few years back. By working together across party lines, we’ve stabilized our budget, turned deficits into a surplus, are investing more in education at all levels and focusing on our infrastructure for the first time in years. We have improved our health care by extending coverage to thousands of working adults, we no longer have the highest prison population in the country, and higher education funding is fully stable.”


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According to U.S. News' methodology, data for each measure is from 2015 or more recent, with regularly scheduled updates. The analysis also was measured on outcomes, so in the case of education the number of degree-holders was a factor but not the number of people enrolled in college or money spent on higher education per student.

Sources include ACT, U.S. Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FBI, Bureau of Labor Statistics and others.

The publication also added this year a national survey of 23,000 people across the country to provide direct input on levels of satisfaction with government services.

Louisiana did see a slight uptick in its rankings in health care (from 47th to 45th) and fiscal stability (from 48th to 43rd) compared to last year. Both areas have been priorities for Edwards, who expanded the Medicaid health care program after taking office in 2016 and spent the first three years of his term addressing budget instability before the Legislature acted to shore up the state’s finances with the extension of a 0.45 percent sales tax hike last year. The state sales tax rate went from 4 percent when Edwards took office, to a temporary stint at 5 percent, and now is 4.45 percent.

“It takes time for improvement to show up in data, and some of the U.S. News and World Report’s data sources are several years old, which is frustrating. But we know we’re doing far better than we were years ago and we fully expect that will show up in future rankings,” Edwards said.

See the full report and rankings here.

Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.