Minnesota is a below-average state in freedom, particularly if we look at economic freedom. So says the Mercatus Center in its “freedom index.” How does Minnesota do? It comes in at #34, though it is “almost average” in the personal-freedom department.

Here is the ranking of the state on the various metrics:

  • Fiscal policy: #36
  • Regulatory policy: #38
  • Economic freedom: #38
  • Personal Freedom: #27

The brief textual analysis for the state includes the observation that “Social services spending and individual income taxes stand out as particularly high.”

The ten most free states:

  1. New Hampshire
  2. South Dakota
  3. Indiana
  4. Idaho
  5. Missouri
  6. Nevada
  7. Colorado
  8. Oregon
  9. Virginia
  10. North Dakota

The least-free states: (#1 on this list means #41 on the national list; #10 on this list means #50 on the national list.)

  1. Illinois
  2. Ohio
  3. Maryland
  4. Alaska
  5. Rhode Island
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Hawaii
  8. California
  9. New Jersey
  10. New York

The most interesting part of considering any complex index is to look at the various subindexes, what ranking scheme the authors used, and why. So dig deeper into this report and consider whether you think Minnesota is “free enough,” and if not, what it can do.

Be sure to check out the comments of Veronique de Rugy, a Mercatus Center scholar who was not involved in the report. She asks why people continue to live in unfree states. One reason is that compared with the U.S. government, the ability of the states to impinge on freedom is fairly limited. My favorite item in the readers’ comments on de Rugy’s post may be this: “People will put up with a lot so that they can live on a California beach.”