Press Release

New 50-State Rankings Showcase Economic Policies Attracting Individuals and Job Creators

Utah claims top spot for economic outlook for 16th straight year.

ARLINGTON, Va. – Today, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) released the 16th edition of Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index, the annual report assessing each state’s competitiveness and economic outlook. The report, which has been used by lawmakers across the states since 2007, is co-authored by Reagan Economist Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, FreedomWorks Economist Stephen Moore, and ALEC Chief Economist Jonathan Williams.

“When the states – our 50 laboratories of democracy – promote economic growth through lower taxes, responsible budgeting, and pro-worker policies, they attract new residents and job creators,” said ALEC Chief Economist Jonathan Williams. “Americans continue to vote with their feet by relocating to states like Utah, North Carolina, and Arizona, where elected officials’ commitment to free market principles and pro-taxpayer reforms were a key factor in achieving our top overall rankings.”

The authors utilize 15 economic policy variables to rank the economic outlook of every state. These variables have proven over time to be influential for state competitiveness and growth. The report highlights that cutting taxes, paying down debt, and maintaining free market policies have significantly helped states attract new residents.

 Find out how your state ranks here.

 Top 10 States Bottom 10 States
1. Utah 41. Maryland
2. North Carolina 42. Hawaii
3. Arizona 43. Oregon
4. Idaho 44. Maine
5. Oklahoma 45. California
6. Wyoming 46. Illinois
7. Indiana 47. New Jersey
8. North Dakota 48. Minnesota
9. Florida 49. Vermont
10. Nevada 50. New York


“This amazing repository of data on the competition among the states is the ultimate guide to economic growth and prosperity,” said Dr. Arthur Laffer. “Rich States, Poor States tells a clear story: states with low taxes attract more business investment and more workers. People move to where they have economic opportunities.”

Utah has maintained its position as the top-ranked state for economic outlook for 16 years in a row. State leaders and legislators have a strong record of implementing pro-taxpayer reforms in recent years, including the adoption of a flat personal income tax rate, pension reform for its previously endangered system, and an innovative approach to property tax reform.

 “A freedom and prosperity movement has been unleashed in state capitals in part because of the continuing impact of Rich States, Poor States. It truly is a must-read for state legislators around the country,” explained Stephen Moore. “Over the past 16 years, we’ve seen a race to the top among states. Our rankings continue to motivate state legislators and governors to pursue pro-growth policies while limiting the size and intrusiveness of government.”

North Carolina’s sustained success in maintaining its second overall ranking can be largely attributed to its historic 2013 tax reform, which helped catapult the state from 22nd place to its current position. Similarly, Virginia’s impressive climb from 24th to 18th place in the rankings can be attributed to the significant tax cuts and rebates enacted during its 2022 legislative session. In contrast, New York’s ranking at the bottom of the list has remained unchanged due to its persistently high personal, corporate, property, and inheritance taxes, which continue to place a heavy burden on taxpayers in the state.

“With no end in sight to the dysfunction in Washington, states are taking matters into their own hands,” added ALEC CEO Lisa B. Nelson. “This new edition of Rich States, Poor States showcases how states are competing with one another to become bastions of freedom and opportunity. Ultimately, it is the American people who benefit from this friendly competition, which ALEC is proud to promote.”

The American Legislative Exchange Council is the largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators in the United States. For more information about the American Legislative Exchange Council, please visit:

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