How Free Is Your State?

New Hampshire's state motto is "Live Free or Die." But is New Hampshire the most free place to live in the United States? Apparently it is, according to a new study, Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom, just released by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

For this study, the authors analyzed state policy measures ranging from tax rates and business regulations to drug laws and social policy to determine the relative degree of freedom allowed under state law. The winners? New Hampshire topped the list as the most free state in the nation, followed by Colorado and South Dakota. The least free? New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. My own state, Ohio, was ranked 38th.

Do you disagree with the rankings? Do you think the authors care too much about taxes and tobacco, yet not enough about sexual liberty or personal expression. The authors disclose their methodology and have made their data available at this website. Further, they explicitly "invite others to adopt their own weights to see how the overall state freedom rankings change." This strikes me as a very useful project.