By now loyal City Pages readers have to know Minnesota is a great place to live. Last month we put together a top 10 list of all of the top 10 lists Minnesota made last year, and to be honest that list could've been twice as long.
But yesterday Politico crowned us with the big daddy prize: Best American State. Well, we tied for first with New Hampshire, but still: FIRST PLACE WHOOOOO. You feel that? That's called validation. See also: The Top 10 of the Top 10 Lists That Declared Minnesota Fabulous This Year
Politico broke down 14 different categories broadly measuring each state's health, wealth, education, and safety. Then it compiled all of the rankings into one table and Minnesota came out tied with New Hampshire for first.
David Montgomery with the Pioneer Press delved a little deeper into Politico's analysis to throw some water on the celebration. Montgomery argues yes, Minnesota is great, but the rankings really only measure wealth.
...It's not that Politico chose the wrong categories; it's that they chose the same ones. Almost all of Politico's criteria are either directly or indirectly related to money.
Look at the list: per-capita income, unemployment, and poverty all reflect how affluent a state is. Education, health, and crime are also highly related to income -- wealthier people tend to be better educated, healthier, less obese, and less likely to break the law.
The only Politico categories that don't have an immediate link to wealth are income inequality (it's possible for a state to be wealthy but have the income be unequally distributed), STEM jobs (they tend to pay better, but none of these states have more than 10.4 percent employed in STEM jobs), and homeownership (luxury apartments are a thing, after all) -- but all of those could also be correlated, too.
In other words: When we say Minnesota is the best, are we just saying Minnesota is rich?
Send news tips to Ben Johnson.