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For A Better Future, Live In A Red State

The BriefGet Up To Speed

While gridlock and division in Washington make it difficult for either party or ideology to set the policy agenda, single-party government prevails in three-quarters of the states. In 24 states Republicans control the governorship and both houses of the legislature, and in 13 states Democrats enjoy one-party control. Comparing economic growth, education, health care, quality of life and environment, and the strength of civil society, do red or blue states win out?


We need to get beyond the dysfunctional and outdated ideas of 20th-century liberalism.

Sunday, April 1, 2012
Walter Russell Mead

Low-tax, energy-rich regions in the heartland charge ahead as economies on both coasts sing the blues.

Monday, February 25, 2013
Joel Kotkin

The blue states appear to be continuing their decades-long meltdown.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Joel Kotkin

Mercatus Center scores all 50 states on over 200 policies encompassing fiscal policy, regulatory policy, and personal freedom. They weight public policies according to the estimated costs that government restrictions on freedom impose.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Mercatus Center

Over the course of the last century, from the Progressive era through the New Deal and Great Society, the United States slowly but surely moved toward guaranteeing those things. Giving the red states the power to deviate from this course means giving them the right to undo that progress.

Friday, October 5, 2012
Jonathan Cohn

The red states generally receive more subsidies from the federal government than they pay in taxes. It is the other way around with the blue states.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Jeffrey Frankel

By defining the debate largely in terms of power—framing it with the Biblical idea of challenging the rich and defending the poor and powerless—Moral Mondays not only emphasizes a progressive economic agenda but also opposes Republicans’ assaults on abortion rights and gay rights.

Monday, July 29, 2013
Abby Rapoport

2012 presidential election results.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Maps of election results by state, population cartogram, and by county.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

A table listing party affiliation for state governors and legislatures.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Gallup determines the partisan orientation of each state by subtracting the total percentage of adults identifying as or leaning Republican from those identifying as Democrats or leaning Democratic, thus creating a "Democratic advantage" figure.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Lydia Saad

Stateline’s 13th annual State of the States report looks at key issues legislatures are debating this year, with a particular emphasis on the relationship between states and the federal government.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Despite key Democratic victories at the state level in the 2012 elections, Republicans remain dominant. See the Power Index measuring the ease with which Democrats and Republicans can pass legislation and state power shifts.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Tax Foundation compares the 50 states on many different measures of taxing and spending, including individual and corporate income tax rates, business tax climates, excise taxes, tax burdens and state spending. Examples: Connecticut is ranked as having the highest tax burden per capita, with Mississippi ranked as having the lowest. Wyoming’s business tax climate is ranked most favorable, with New York ranked last.

Monday, March 18, 2013
Edited by Scott Drenkard

The average dependence on each of the major taxes, reliance on income or sales taxes, how important severance, property and business taxes are to state finances.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Tax Backgrounders

Links to state tax systems information, revenues and expenditures, and credits.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Regressive state tax structures are pushing families deeper into poverty.

Sunday, September 1, 2013
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy

Nationwide the U.S. median household income for 2012 was $51,371. Maryland had the highest median household income at $71,122 while Mississippi had the lowest at $37,095.

Thursday, September 19, 2013
Melissa Maynard and Pamela Prah

Mississippi had the highest poverty rate in 2012 at 24.2% while New Hampshire had the lowest at 10%.

Thursday, September 19, 2013
Melissa Maynard and Pamela Prah

Compare the cost of living in two cities using the CNNMoney Cost of Living calculator.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Using average wage and unemployment data, cost of living figures, state tax information and workplace environment rankings, the top five states to make a living are Washington, Virginia, Colorado, Texas and Wyoming. The bottom five are South Carolina, New York, Rhode Island, Mississippi and Hawaii. More explanation on what makes them the <a href=" and the <a href="

Monday, April 1, 2013
Richard Barrington

Nevada had the highest unemployment rate among the states in August, 9.5 percent. The next highest rate was in Illinois, 9.2 percent. North Dakota continued to have the lowest jobless rate, 3.0 percent.

Friday, September 20, 2013
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Gross Domestic Product

Click on links to tables with GDP (millions of current dollars) 2009-12 and real GDP (millions of chained 2005 dollars) 2009-12. [Bureau of Economic Analysis website unavailable due to government shutdown, 10/4/13]

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Data from 1997 to 2012.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Economic Research

San Francisco’s metropolitan area contains an economy the size of Thailand. Chicago’s GDP rivals Switzerland.

Thursday, July 21, 2011
Richard Florida

Frederick Boehmke and Paul Skinner built a database of 189 policies that states adopted between 1912 and 2009 and created an ‘adoption rate’ measure that assesses states based on how many of the universe of possible policies they’ve adopted at each point in history. Overall, California is the most innovative state while Mississippi is the least innovative.

Monday, November 19, 2012
Melissa Maynard

Rankings are based on Bureau of Labor Statistic’s launch rate of private-sector businesses and the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity’s percentage of people who are starting new businesses an how that percentage changed over time. Florida, Texas, Maryland, Arizona and Alaska are in the top 5, with Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia in the bottom 5.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Fast Company
Labor Unions

The 2011-2012 annual averages for union affiliation of employed wage and salary workers by state. New York had the largest membership as a percentage of the employed, 23.2%, and North Carolina had the lowest at 2.9%.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Bureau of Labor Statistics

From a pro-right to work organization: A Right to Work law secures the right of employees to decide for themselves whether or not to join or financially support a union. However, employees who work in the railway or airline industries are not protected by a Right to Work law, and employees who work on a federal enclave may not be.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Right to Work States National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation

This type of law does not guarantee anyone a job and it does not protect against unfair firing. By undermining unions, so-called ‘Right to Work’ laws would weaken the best job security protections workers have - the union contract.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

State data on demographics and the economy, health costs and budgets, health coverage and uninsured, health insurance and managed care, health reform, health status, HIV/AIDs, Medicaid and CHIP, Medicare, minority health, providers and service use, and women’s health.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

The Affordable Care Act expands Medicaid coverage for most low-income adults to 138% of the federal poverty level ($15,856 for an individual or $26,951 for a family of three in 2013). Following the June 2012 Supreme Court decision, states face a decision about whether to adopt the Medicaid expansion. View the states’ current status, governors’ positions and key legislative activity.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Tables containing state and county health insurance coverage estimates for 2012.

Thursday, September 19, 2013
State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC)

Enactment of high-profile omnibus immigration laws, like Arizona’s SB 1070, has all but halted. Not only have state lawmakers seemingly taken a hiatus from pursuing restrictive state-level immigration bills, in recent months, a number of them have also taken up pro-immigrant legislation — primarily facilitating unauthorized immigrants' access to in-state college tuition rates and driver's licenses.

Thursday, May 23, 2013
Muzaffar Chishti and Faye Hipsman

California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois were home to 60% of unauthorized immigrants in 2012.

Monday, September 23, 2013
Jeffrey S. Passel

In 2013, Colorado, Minnesota and Oregon extended in-state tuition benefits to unauthorized immigrant students, bringing the number of states offering these benefits to 15. Other states addressed driver’s license eligibility, beginning with California in the fall of 2012, and continuing in 2013 with Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Vermont.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Each of the 20 fastest-growing metropolitan areas in 2011-2012 were located in the South and West, including Charleston, Orlando, Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. Each of the 20 slowest growing or declining areas were located in the Northeast and Midwest, including Youngstown, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis.

Friday, March 15, 2013
William H. Frey

States were measured on gun rights/friendliness to gun owners. Topping the list of pro-gun states were Arizona, Vermont, Alaska, Utah and Kentucky. At the bottom were New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and California.

Thursday, March 14, 2013
James Tarr
Gay Marriage

13 states—California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington--plus the District of Columbia, allow same-sex marriage, and 35 states have limitations on it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Masuma Ahuja and Emily Chow

Currently, two states have legalized recreational use of marijuana, Colorado and Washington, and 20 states and Washington, DC, have passed laws allowing marijuana to be used for a variety of medical conditions.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

A wave of abortion limits have been passed this year by conservative lawmakers and governors, who have approved more than 40 restrictions in statehouses around the country. <a href="">Here</a> is a look at individual state policies.

Friday, July 5, 2013
Juliet Eilperin

An annual ranking of states, based on 10 criteria, finds that eight of the top 10 are on the West and East coasts. Vermont tops the list, followed by New York, Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, California, Nevada, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine.

Friday, April 15, 2011
Wendy Koch

Regardless of which city is “greenest,” all U.S. cities are greening up every day because planners now realize the economic advantages of using less energy, recycling more and keeping air and water clean.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

State reported high school graduation rates. Iowa topped the list at 88%, with Nevada ranked last among the states at 62%.

Monday, November 26, 2012
U.S. Department of Education

Education Week’s Quality Counts report tracks key education indicators and grades the states on their policy efforts and outcomes. For the fifth year in a row, Maryland posts the nation's highest overall grade.

Friday, January 4, 2013
Amy Hightowner

The best educated states are Massachusetts, Maryland and Connecticut, while West Virginia, Mississippi and Arkansas are among the worst.

Monday, October 15, 2012
Fox Business

An interactive look at school choice programs in America.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

The highest ranked public colleges and universities in the 2014 Best Colleges rankings, listed according to their ranking category. Among national universities, the top 5 are UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Virginia, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Metro areas where more than one in three adults were college-educated had an average unemployment rate of 7.5 percent earlier this year, compared with 10.5 percent for cities where less than one in six adults had a college degree. <a href=" is the share of residents with college degrees in the 100 largest metro areas, based on data from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Sabrina Tavernise
Quality of Life

Top states are Hawaii, Colorado, Minnesota, Utah and Vermont. Rankings are based on data collected from January 2, 2012 to December 30, 2012.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Measured by how much they share out of what they have available, the most generous Americans are not generally those in high-income, urban, liberal states like California or Massachusetts. Rather, people living in areas that are more rural, conservative, religious, and moderate in income are our most generous givers.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Karl Zinsmeister
Additional Articles

The Republican party gets more support from the rich than from the poor, especially in poor states. (In poor states such as Mississippi, rich people are much more Republican than poor people; in rich states such as Connecticut, rich people are only slightly more Republican than the poor.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Andrew Gelman

As Romney vs Obama enters the final stretch, the statistician and author of Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State uncovers the (often surprising) realities of how Americans of different backgrounds vote.

Friday, June 1, 2012
Five Books interviews Andrew Gelman