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Where do Kansas and Missouri rank in “best states” list?

Kansas City is that odd metropolis where two-thirds of the population lives in one state, while the other third lives in another. We call the divide between Kansas and Missouri “State Line.”

So how does  each state fair in the latest best “Best States” list? Both hang out together in the middle.

The survey by U.S. News & World Report, which is best known for raking colleges and universities, places Missouri at number 30, while Kansas is a notch above at 29.  The analysis examined each state in eight different categories to come up with its final result.

Ranking categories

The Show-Me State ranked highest at 10th, in fiscal stability while Kansas came in at 39th. It tracks government credit ratings, liquidity, pension fund liability and budget balancing.

Kansas ranked relatively high at 16 for quality of life, which emphasizes air quality, pollution and voter participation among other factors. Missouri came in at 15.

In the fiscal responsibility category, all top 10 states were “red” or Republican states. “Blue” or Democrat states took 8 of the 10 worst states for fiscal responsibility including several like California that are at risk of bankruptcy and the worst Illinois which came in at 50.

Certain categories weighed each Kansas and missouri down in the survey. For Missouri it was crime and corrections, where the state ranks 45. In Kansas it was the economy where the Sunflower state ranks 42.  Violent crime has been well documented in the state’s urban areas, especially St. Louis and Kansas City.  St, Louis recorded its highest murder rate in more than two decades last year.

Missouri also ranked a low 39th, in health care. Kansas 30th. For the ranking they considered adults and children who go without medical and dental care and considered the cost of services.

Kansas Turnpike

Kansas got high marks for infrastructure appearing in the top 1/3 of the ranking at 16. Missouri wasn’t far behind at 20 though drivers on I-70 may disagree.

The U.S. News & World Report analysis weighted education and health care as the most important categories, giving each one 16% of the overall score.

The category of Opportunity was allocated 13% followed by Infrastructure 12%, Crime and Corrections 11%, Fiscal Stability 10% and Quality of Life 8%.

–By Dwight Widaman