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Minnesota is the nation's fifth "best run" state, but is it legislation or luck?

We're super smart and make boatloads of money, but dumb old North Dakota still beat us.

We're super smart and make boatloads of money, but dumb old North Dakota still beat us.

According to people with statistics and figures, supreme Minnesota is among the “best run” states in the country.

The stat pullers at financial website 24/7 Wall St. weighed several economic indicators, including median household income, poverty, and unemployment rates, and debt per capita to determine which states are the best managed. Fresh off the news of a $1.9 billion budget surplus, Minnesota checked in at No. 5.

Agapitos Papagapitos, who chairs the economics department at the University of St. Thomas and has possibly the Greekest name ever, isn’t surprised at our display of economic awesomeness.

“The economy suffered during the financial crisis, but we’re not an economy that’s entirely dependent on a particular industry, therefore there’s good diversification,” the prof says.

Papagapitos points to Minnesota’s smart workforce and solid infrastructure as helping to attract high-paying jobs and the corporations that offer them. According to the study, the typical Minnesotan household earned nearly $61,500 a year — the 10th wealthiest in the U.S. The state also has some of the lowest unemployment and poverty rates in the country.

While Minnesota’s is basically the Chuck Norris of economies (kicks copious amounts of ass), two of our neighbors actually fared better in the rankings. At No. 3, Iowa was two slots above Minnesota, as it’s apparently a good time to be in the corn, soybean, or hog businesses. But for the fourth straight year, North Dakota topped the list thanks to its plains being blessed with oil. Conversely, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Mississippi were deemed the “worst run.”

Not all economic indicators or peaks accurately reflect how a state is managed, Papagapitos notes. North Dakota for instance didn’t legislate the gift of oil and national trends can easily affect states’ numbers. Year-to-year variations — like the occasional $1.9 billion budget surplus — don’t reflect how states are run as much as long-term trends, he says.

“The state was probably equally well managed a year ago, yet we didn’t see that kind of budget surplus,” Papagapitos says. “You can’t assign too much credit or too much blame sometimes. Sometimes you get lucky.”