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Minnesota is the state of the future, Gallup says

Minnesota comes out tops in two of Gallup's 13 future-predicting metrics, including easiest to find a safe place to exercise.
Minnesota comes out tops in two of Gallup's 13 future-predicting metrics, including easiest to find a safe place to exercise.
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In 50 years, we'll be hanging with robots, flying our cars, and... living in Minnesota, suggests a Gallup analysis of the best states to live in the future, released yesterday.

Minnesota comes in just below Utah, which edged it out by three points for gold. Colorado, Nebraska, and North Dakota fill in the top five, and other neighbors Iowa and South Dakota are seventh and ninth.

The rankings aren't based on an algorithm or a crystal ball, but instead, 13 metrics that Gallup deems essential to future livability. We lead on two of them: Highest economic confidence and easiest to find a safe place to exercise.

But while Minnesotans may be bullish on the economy, when asked to anticipate the quality of our future life, we're among the most pessimistic -- gloomier than 47 other states. Mississippi wins in that category, taking top marks for optimism, even though the state's overall ranking is in the bottom five. (Mississippians are also striking out on oral hygiene, with the fewest number of residents who have seen a dentist in the past year). Numbers like these are less interesting for what they say about the future, and more interesting for what they tell us about our lives now: Mississippians are apparently delusional (or value different metrics than Gallup), and here in Minnesota, we don't know how good we have it.

The other metrics consider obesity (we're twelfth), number of smokers (seventh), access to safe water (second, after Utah), and job creation (10th), plus more abstract categories, such as "learned something new yesterday" (we're sixth) and "manager treats you like a partner, not a boss" (12th). There are subjective measures, too, like the respondents' perspectives on whether their city/area is getting better or worse (sixth again).

If you're in the bottom ten, this is your warning. The future is coming, and according to Gallup, it doesn't look good for you.
If you're in the bottom ten, this is your warning. The future is coming, and according to Gallup, it doesn't look good for you.
Gallup

The findings are based on over 530,000 interviews conducted over the past year-and-a-half, from Jan. 2, 2011 to June 30, 2012. The 13 metrics, all weighed equally, represent Gallup's best guesses of what will be relevant to future livability. Some of these -- health, outlook, good jobs -- are standard indicators of well-being, while others, such as ample access to clean and safe water, speak more directly to the challenges of the future.

 

If Gallup's guesses prove correct, our whole region's going to be thriving in the coming years. In an earlier article based on these same metrics, Gallup praised the "heartland" -- us West-North-Central-ers -- as poised to be "the best place to live in America."

The states with the dimmest outlooks? West Virginia, followed by Mississippi, Kentucky, Nevada, and Arkansas. So, the future: Not all that different from the present.

The winners and losers in each of Gallup's 13 metrics.
The winners and losers in each of Gallup's 13 metrics.
Gallup


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