Washington Ranked 5th Best State To Live

Coming as no surprise to anyone living in Washington State, a new report ranks it as the 5th best state in America. With abundant outdoor activities, quality higher education and a diverse employment base Washington State is a great place to live and to visit. Now thanks to US News and World Report we have data to show just how great Washington is!

Living in Washington State

US News and World Report just completed their first ranking of states. Using thousands of data points, the report measures how each state is performing in 7 major areas. The goal of the report is to have citizens and government leaders engage in discussions on what needs improvement and how to make those improvements across the country.

In addition to finishing 5th overall, Washington ranked highest among the west coast states. Oregon was next, coming in at 19th and California was ranked 23rd.

Washington is now home to over 7 million people and is expecting another 2 million to live in the state by 2040. This growth will create many opportunities for the State and residents to work together to continue to improve on the basic services and infrastructure needed to keep Washington ranked at or near the top in the near future.

Detailed Rankings

Here are some quick numbers that show how Washington State tends to be “above average” in a lot of categories:

  • Washington finished in the top 10 for Health Care, Education, Infrastructure, and Government.
  • Washington finished in the top 25 for Crime & Corrections, Opportunity, and Economy.
  • Overall, Washington State averaged a score of 11 out of 46 in all areas.

How Washington Ranked For…


Washington ranked 9th overall in the healthcare category.

This ranking was based on the following question: “How affordable and accessible is health care to Washington State residents?”

Open Healthcare Chart


National Rank

Adult Dental Visits 19
Adult Wellness Visits 42
Child Dental Visits 3
Child Wellness Visits 12
Health Care Affordability 16
Health Insurance Enrollment 18


When Pre-K – 12 education was measured Washington ranked 16th. Notably, the 4 year college graduation rate earned 5th place in the nation. Total ranking was 7th overall.

Open Education Chart


National Rank

2-Year College Grad. Rate 11
4-Year College Grad. Rate 5
Educational Attainment 10
Low Debt at Graduation 10
Tuition and Fees 24
Pre-K – 12 16
College Readiness 11
High School Grad. Rate 38
NAEP Math Scores 12
NAEP Reading Scores 21
Pre-K Quality 2
Preschool Enrollment 35

Crime and Corrections

In the crime and corrections category, Washington State ranked 25th. Even though we scored 2nd place in corrections, public safety was a below average 37th.

Open Crime and Corrections Chart

Crime & Corrections

National Rank

Corrections 2
Change in Incarceration Rate 25
Equality in Juvenile Jailing 12
Least Juvenile Incarceration 21
Low Incarceration Rate 10
Low Prison Overpopulation 34
Parole Completion 1
Public Safety 37
Low Property Crime Rate 48
Low Violent Crime Rate 17


2nd place finish based on having the 2nd best internet, 7th in energy, and 20th in transportation (have they been here?! Traffic on I-5 is no picnic folks)

Open Infrastructure Chart


National Rank

Transportation 20
Bridge Quality 6
Commute Time 40
Public Transit Usage 3
Road Quality 41
Energy 7
Electricity Price 1
Power Grid Reliability 47
Renewable Energy Usage 2
Internet Access 2
Households With Internet Access 2
Online Download Speed 6


Washington ranked 16th overall in the opportunity category. Pretty good overall, but dragged down by ranking 41st in affordability – the Washington’s worst showing in any of the metrics.

Open Opportunity Chart


National Rank

Economic Opportunity 16
Gini Index 18
Household Income 10
Low Food Insecurity 19
Low Poverty Rate 17
Equality 17
Disability Employment Rate 23
Education Equality by Race 28
Employment Equality by Race 8
Gender Equality 14
Racial Gap in Income 37
Affordability 41
Cost of Living 38
Housing Affordability 46


Ranked 11th overall, Washington was ranked as the 6th best in growth, 26th in employment, and 9th in business environment.

Open Economy Chart


National Rank

Growth 6
GDP Growth 7
Growth of Young Population 9
Net Migration 8
Employment 26
Job Growth 9
Labor Force Participation 26
Low Unemployment Rate 39
Business Environment 9
Entrepreneurship 35
Patent Creation 3


Washington State ranked 8th overall with scores of 18th in fiscal stability, 24th in budget transparency, 6th in government digitization, and finishing 7th in state integrity.

Open Government Chart


National Rank

Fiscal Stability 18
Government Budget Balancing 26
Government Credit Rating 16
Pension Fund Liability 16
Government Digitalization 6
Budget Transparency 24
State Integrity 7

Washington is a Great Place to Live

Living in WashingtonEvent though there are certain areas where Washington state can improve, the overwhelming majority of rankings for the Evergreen State were above average.

These findings were published here on the US World News and World Report. The full report provides greater detail on each of these categories and we encourage you to take some time and go and review the full list of rankings. Washington State had solid ranking across all 7 major categories finishing in the top 50% of every category.

While a report in a national publication is great to help you get a broad overall view of an area, we know that nothing beats actually spending time in an area to see how it actually feels.

Explore Washington State is here to help you learn more about the communities, towns, and cities in Washington. Using local resources, we are your go-to place for everything Washington. You can search for all our online resources below:


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Scott Cowan

A lifelong resident of Washington who grew up in Tacoma, and spent his six freshman years attending CWU in Ellensburg, Scott’s professional life was spent in Olympia, Seattle and Tacoma. Deciding that the traffic on the west side was too much, Scott moved with his family to Wenatchee where they are settling in and finding that there is life after the daily commute. With a passion for good caffeine, hard ciders, and pizza along with the scenic beauty of Washington State you will find Scott out and about in Washington State looking for that next magical cup of coffee.

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