How We Rate…

Where Minnesota ranks in everything from health to wealth, hotness to happiness


Population: 21st

[California is 1st]There are about 5,266,214 of us—some 445 people for every lake. In the next 10 years, Colorado, the next largest state, is expected to surpass us.

Cleanliness: 16th

You can breathe easier—Minneapolis came in just below Oklahoma City in a ranking of America’s 50 cleanest big cities.

Godliness: 31st

Sharing: 40th

The number of Minnesotans who say they believe in God leaves our collective faith a little lacking. The most religious states are all in the Deep South (Mississippi ranks first), while New Englanders, particularly in Vermont and New Hampshire, rank as the biggest skeptics.[We rank 40th in carpooling, 37th in philanthropy] “Every man for himself” might as well be our unofficial state motto, with just 9.4 percent of us sharing rides and annual charitable donations per person of about $3,784—nearly half what our South Dakota neighbors offer up.

Voter turnout: 1st

Drunk driving: 3rd

We may end up in deadlock, but at least we vote.[Yet we’re only 46th in traffic fatalities] The five states with the most drunk drivers are all in the Upper Midwest. It’s a wonder, then, that we’ve so few fatalities.

Largest metro: 16th

Armed and dangerous: 22nd

[Seattle ranks 15th, San Diego is 17th] The Twin Cities grew 10 percent in the last decade, but will likely be surpassed soon by Tampa and Denver—even as we pass ailing Detroit.

Oldest: 35th

How young do you feel? Despite our graying small towns, Minnesotans 65 and older comprise just 12.5 percent of ourpopulation—for now.

[We’re 22nd in gun ownership, 41st in gun deaths] We’re not Texas, but we pack more heat than most. Luckily, we’re pretty nonviolent—or just poor shots.

Most Liberal: 17th

True blue? We’re not even in the top 10 among people who self-identify as liberals. In fact, we rank just above Arizona.




[District of Columbia is 1st, North Dakota is 51st] Josh Hartnett doesn’t help us much in rankings based on, among other things, fitness levels, beauty pageants, and hometown hotties.

Divorce: 42nd

We stick together like few other people (especially Nevadans, who split the most) making us either steadfast or stubborn—or just better at picking partners.

Package Size: 28th

[New Hampshire is 1st, Wyoming is 50th] Size doesn’t matter—except to Condomania, an online seller of condoms. They crunch the data on what sizes they ship to each state. Hey, we beat Wisconsin.

Dating Difficulties: 3rd

Minneapolis ranks as the third-worst city for dating based on the percentage of singles, population density, and places to hang out. (Bar-packed Austin comes out on top, Charlotte at the bottom.) And it may be worse here for men: The Twin Cities, like most metro areas west of the Mississippi, have predominantly more single guys than gals.

Gayness: 1st

The Advocate recently named Minneapolis the gayest city in the country based on the number of gay dating profiles, gay elected officials, lesbian bars, gay-friendly congregations, and gay-friendly businesses.

Mrs. Mom: 6th

When it comes to having babies out of wedlock, we’re in the company of Mormon states like Utah and Idaho with the 6th lowest percentage of unmarried moms. We also have the seventh lowest percentage of teen moms.

Childcare Costs: 2nd

Raising rugrats isn’t cheap here: Only Massachusetts parents spend more than we do, as a percentage of income, to keep an infant in daycare.



Water: 1st

There’s a reason we’re also No. 1 in boat ownership—6 percent of Minnesota is liquid, making us the state most covered in water.

Energy use: 22nd

[Wyoming uses the most per capita, Vermont the least]  Never mind all our Priuses—our carbon footprint is about as big as, well, most everyone else’s. We’d rank higher if we weren’t so spread out: New Yorkers actually use the least energy per capita.

Tornadoes: 1st

A changing climate may be making us the new tornado alley. Since 1950, we’ve suffered about 26 tornadoes a year, but in the last decade we’ve averaged 40. Last year, we were smacked with well over 100.

Real-estate flips: 2nd

Why is the FBI concerned about our high number of same-day real-estate flips? It’s an indicator of mortgage fraud—and we rank just below Florida.

Organic farming: 5th

We don’t just eat a lot of organic food, we grow a lot, too. But we only have half as many organic farms as Wisconsin (in third place), and far fewer, not surprisingly, than California.

Largest: 12th

Call us flyover country, but you’ve got a lot of flying to do to get around us. When it comes to square feet, we’re well above average.


Happiness: 5th

[Utah is the most blissed out, West Virginia the least] Based on indicators of well being, we have few reasons to complain. Now wipe that smile off your face—let’s not be smug.

Longevity: 2nd

You want to live a long time? Stay put—or move to Hawaii, which has the longest-lived people in the country.

Toothiness: 4th

Smile: Minnesotans have much better odds of keeping their teeth than most Americans—not as good as Connecticut but far better than West Virginia or even 30th-ranked Wisconsin.

Binge drinking: 3rd

Maybe it’s the long, cold winters. Or maybe it’s just a Midwest thing. But whatever the reason, the four states with the most binge drinkers (in order from most to least) are Wisconsin, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa.

Autism: 1st

No one knows why, but we have the country’s highest prevalence of autism—by far.

Diabetes: 50th

We’re hardly the least obese state (that’s Colorado), but it seems we aren’t paying for our sins with diabetes.

Health Insurance: 3rd

Whether or not the federal healthcare reforms take root, we’re already solidly insured.



Big business: 1st

The Twin Cities are home to 21 Fortune 500 companies, the country’s highest concentration per capita.

Moonlighting: 4th

Michele Bachmann once infamously said she was proud that Minnesota is the “workingest state,” as nine percent of us work two jobs. (We also rank second in percentage of couples in which both spouses work.)

Time-wasting: 21st

Nearly 43 percent of Minnesotans are Facebooking at work.

Industry: 45th

[Nevada is 1st, Wisconsin is 46th] Logging just 33.5 hours a week, we’re among the least workaholic states in the nation.

All aboard: 14th

Just 3.3 percent of us take public transportation to work—not great, but better than Wisconsin at 1.8 percent.

Entrepreneurism: 46th

We may be ahead of the pack in engaging the global, innovation-based economy (ranking 13th in building a new economy and 8th in fostering an ideal business climate). We just aren’t starting many companies ourselves.

Wages: 43rd

Of the 45 states with a state minimum wage, our rate of $6.15 an hour gives us the dubious distinction of being one of just four states undercutting the federal minimum of $7.25.

Commute: 35th

At 22 minutes, our average trip to work is hardly speedy, though it clocks in at almost a third less than the typical New Yorker’s.


Bookish: 3rd

Minneapolis has slipped from first place in the annual America’s Most Literate Cities ranking. But its abundant bookstores, a still-strong Star Tribune, and decent libraries add up to a whole lot of noses in books around here.

Broke students: 4th

We crave education here—we just can’t afford it: 72 percent of our college grads leave school saddled with an average of $25,558 in debt.

Brainiest: 4th

[Raleigh-Durham is 1st, San Francisco is 2nd, Boston is 3rd] But you probably already knew that. In fact, based on bachelor’s degrees, voter participation, and other signs of intelligence, the Twin Cities ranks above many noted college towns, though we still can’t explain Jesse Ventura.

Teacher Salaries: 20th

Sure we pay our teachers a bit more than average, but that’s less impressive when you consider that our income in Minnesota is well above average (11th highest). And since salaries usually reflect regional income differences (Connecticut and California pay their teachers the most), our teachers may be the ones really getting left behind.

School funding: 15th

[Wyoming, with a low population, ranks as the most education-friendly, Tennessee the least]We may not dole out the most funding per student, but we do well in distributing it wisely to ensure equal access.

Top high schools: 31st

Our kids may be above average, but not our high schools, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. None have made the “gold-medal” list. 

ACT scores: 1st

[Iowa is 2nd, Wisconsin is 3rd] We are so ready for college. Now all we have to do is pay for it.

Artsiest: 2nd

Plays—and sculptures and paintings, etc.—are indeed the thing here, thanks to the Legacy Amendment: Our total legislative appropriation for the arts is second only to that of New York.

Wanna know the details? For source information, go to