Virginia is the seventh best state in the country based on 70 different metrics, according to a ranking by U.S. News and World Report.
The commonwealth jumped 13 positions in the ranking from last year, from 20th to seventh, and improved in several of the categories. The state ranked 11 in 2017.
Using the 70 metrics, the study provided eight categorical rankings along with its overall rankings.
Virginia ranked in the top 10 in four of the categories: Education at seven, opportunity at nine, fiscal stability at eight and crime and corrections at nine. It ranked in the top half in healthcare at 18 and natural environment at 18, ranked dead center on the economy at 25 and in the bottom half for infrastructure at 35.
Healthcare in the commonwealth saw a vast improvement, as it was ranked 25th in 2017 and 29th in 2018. The state's education has gradually increased, too. Fiscal stability has improved from 2018, as well; this was not a category in 2017.
The economy in Virginia has remained virtually stagnant in the rankings and the infrastructure ranking has plummeted.
“It’s troubling that Virginia’s economy rank remains in the middle of the pack and that the Commonwealth’s infrastructure rank has actually fallen nine places over the last two years,” Chris Braunlich, president of the Virginia-based, free-market Thomas Jefferson Institute, said in an email.
“The two of these are deeply interconnected, whether we are talking about a service economy or a manufacturing economy: Products need to move; internet needs to be connected and high speed,” he said. “The success of one drives the success of the other, and so too will the drag of one drag down the other.”
Washington ranked as the best state and placed in the top five in four categories. Massachusetts ranked first in education, Hawaii for healthcare, Colorado for the economy and Oregon for infrastructure.
Maryland is the only mid-Atlantic state to perform better than Virginia, ranking at sixth overall. New Jersey performed well at 12 and Delaware and New York finished around the middle of the pack. Pennsylvania and West Virginia ranked at 41 and 47 respectively.
Healthcare and education comprised 16 percent of the score each. The economy accounted for 14 percent of the score, infrastructure and opportunity 13 percent each, and fiscal stability 11 percent. Crime and corrections accounted for 10 percent of the total score and natural environment impacted the score the least, accounting for 8 percent.