Nevada is near the bottom in education and “natural environment” in the U.S. News & World Report “Best States” rankings published this week.
The state ranked near the top in the infrastructure and economy categories.
The publication ranked Nevada the 37th best state overall.
Nevada’s complete rankings:
- Health care — #37
- Education — #45
- Economy — #8
- Infrastructure — #4
- Opportunity — #37
- Fiscal Stability — #37
- Crime & Corrections — #39
- Natural Environment — #46
The “natural environment” category considered drinking water quality, urban air quality and total toxic chemical pollution per square mile were used to measure and evaluate states’ natural environment. Then ranking combined air and water quality (Nevada ranked 32nd) and “overall pollution” (Nevada ranked 47th), giving Nevada’s overall natural environment ranking at 46th.
Two measures of air and water quality were considered in the ranking: the number of days the Air Quality Index was above what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deemed a “healthy” threshold, and the number of violations against drinking water systems in each state per 1,000 residents served.
The Air Quality Index measures five air pollutants: particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone.
Toxic chemical pollution and “the long-term, chronic health effects of that pollution on state residents” was considered in the ranking as were emissions to air and water from manufacturing, mining, electric power generation, and hazardous waste treatment.
Nevada’s ranked 18th in higher education, but 48th in K-12, landing the state 46th in education overall.
Factors used to determine the K-12 rankings included national reading and math tests of eight-graders, high school graduation rates, and college readiness.
Additionally, stating that “early childhood education provides a firm grounding for children entering kindergarten,” the report includes pre-school enrollment as a factor when determining K-12 rankings.
Washington was ranked the “Best State” overall in the rankings, followed by New Hampshire, Minnesota, Utah and Vermont.
At the bottom of the rankings were New Mexico, West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, and ranking 50th, Louisiana.