Every two years the 50 states compete for the title of “Most Free State,” and George Mason University’s Mercatus Center rankings based on 200 factors generalized under Fiscal Policy, Regulatory Policy, and Personal Freedom, provide significant color on just how free (or not) the various states are. New Hampshire was the ‘free-est’ state in 2011 but fell to 4th this year as North Dakota is 2013’s ‘free-est’ state. New York and California bring up the rear as the least free states but the following clip and charts show just where the freedom is spreading – Georgia, Arizona, and Idaho; and where it is not – Oregon, Kansas, and Colarado.
The overall freedom ranking is determined by combining scores for fiscal, regulatory, and personal freedom.
Economic freedom includes fiscal and regulatory policy.
Fiscal Policy (35.3%)
The fiscal policy dimension consists of the following categories: Tax Burden (28.6%), Government Employment (2.8%), Government Spending (1.9%), Government Debt (1.2%), and Fiscal Decentralization (0.9%).
Regulatory Policy (32.0%)
The regulatory policy dimension consists of the following categories: Freedom from Tort Abuse (11.5%), Property Right Protection (7.6%), Health Insurance Freedom (5.4%), Labor Market Freedom (3.8%), Occupational Licensing Freedom (1.7%), Miscellaneous Regulatory Freedom (1.3%), and Cable and Telecom Freedom (0.8%).
Personal Freedom (32.7%)
Personal freedom dimension consists of the following categories: Victimless Crime Freedom (9.8%), Gun Control Freedom (6.6%), Tobacco Freedom (4.1%), Alcohol Freedom (2.8%), Marriage Freedom (2.1%), Marijuana and Salvia Freedom (2.1%), Gambling Freedom (2.0%), Education Policy (1.9%), Civil Liberties (0.6%), Travel Freedom (0.5%), Asset Forfeiture Freedom (0.1%), and Campaign Finance Freedom (0.02%).