Press Release

New 2020 Economic Competitiveness Rankings Reveal the Reforms that Win for Taxpayers  

Alexis Jarrett

New 2020 Economic Competitiveness Rankings Reveal the Reforms that Win for Taxpayers  

Utah takes top rank for Best Economic Outlook, Vermont and New York rank last

ARLINGTON, VA – (AUGUST 12, 2020) The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) releases today, the thirteenth edition of Rich States, Poor States – its newest publication in an annual series illustrating each states’ competitiveness and economic outlook using 15 equally weighted policy variables and examining trends from past decades. This publication examines the policy choices made across the 50 states in 2019 and whether those choices have improved economic competitiveness.

In the newest edition of this publication, Utah again earns the top spot for states with the best economic outlook in 2019, followed by Wyoming, Idaho and Indiana. The report also reveals the policy choices that have proven to encourage economic opportunity and which policies have proven to be obstacles to state growth.

“Across the states and over the years, Rich States, Poor States showcases the positive impact of free market, pro-growth policies on state economies,” says ALEC Chief Economist and report co-author Jonathan Williams. “Following months of COVID-19 uncertainty, taxpayers and their legislators need choices that promote stability and are proven to build stronger and more resilient states. This publication provides a roadmap to recovery based on fiscally sound choices.”

The 15 economic policy variables used by the authors to rank the economic outlook of states have proven over time to be the most influential for state growth. This report shows that big reforms have significantly helped Wyoming, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Delaware and Montana improve their national rankings this year. The top ten and bottom ten states for 2020 are:

Overall Economic Outlook for 2020

Top Ten Bottom Ten
1.       Utah 41. Maine
2.       Wyoming 42. Oregon
3.       Idaho 43. Rhode Island
4.       Indiana 44. Hawaii
5.       North Carolina 45. Minnesota
6.       Nevada 46. California
7.       Florida 47. Illinois
8.       Tennessee 48. New Jersey
9.       Oklahoma

49. Vermont

10.   Arizona 50. New York

Find your state’s ranking here.

Used by state lawmakers across the states since 2008, Rich States, Poor States is authored by Reagan Economist Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, economic policy expert Stephen Moore and ALEC Chief Economist Jonathan Williams.

“The data outlined in the 13th edition of Rich States, Poor States shows how economically competitive states thrive and how those that don’t make proactive pro-growth reforms, like Connecticut and Illinois, are left in the dust,” says author Dr. Arthur B. Laffer. “Sound tax policy and eliminating excessive government regulations continue to stand strong and true in improving states’ competitiveness, and we hope these states’ stories serve as a guide as we navigate the economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.”


The American Legislative Exchange Council is the largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators in the United States. The Council is governed by state legislators who comprise the Board of Directors and is advised by the Private Enterprise Advisory Council, a group of private, foundation and think tank members. For more information about the American Legislative Exchange Council, please visit:

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