Massachusetts named best state in U.S.

Massachusetts ranked high on the list for health care, education, and the economy. —Susan Safford

Massachusetts has been named best of all in the first state ranking report by U.S. News & World Report. The report evaluates all 50 states in various categories. Massachusetts was not first in each category, but at the top of the heap overall.

Massachusetts ranked first in health care and second in education, and was among the top 10 for economy, low crime rate, and imprisonment. Massachusetts also had the most accessible health care, and ranked third for prekindergarten through 12th grade education.

“Massachusetts is a great place to live, work, and raise a family because of the strength and character of all those who call the commonwealth home,” Gov. Charlie Baker said. “Everyone should be proud that Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in health care access and public education for all citizens, and our administration will continue to build on these accomplishments to bring more economic success to every corner of Massachusetts.”

Massachusetts also ranked as No. 1 in enrollment for Medicare Advantage plans, as well as higher education attainment and college readiness.

“Well, it doesn’t surprise me in the least,” Nancy Gardella, executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, said in a phone conversation with The Times on Tuesday.

But, Ms. Gardella said, there’s still work to be done, referencing that Massachusetts also has been rated the sixth highest in the country for income inequality. The rating was from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2015. But as far as diversity of the population, robust arts and culture, educational and employment opportunities, and the state’s natural beauty, Ms. Gardella understood why Massachusetts would be ranked No. 1.

“The state is recognized for all that it offers,” Ms. Gardella said. “I think that our residents play a big part in that.”

According to the U.S. News and World Report website, “Best States” is an interactive platform developed by U.S. News for ranking all 50 states, and is designed to engage citizens and government leaders in a discussion about what needs improvement across the country. It aims to inform people across the country about what is working in various states, and includes rankings that measure states overall and in seven different categories: education, health care, government, infrastructure, economy, opportunity, and crime and corrections.

The data was provided by McKinsey and Co.’s Leading States Index. The company is an international management-consulting firm based in New York City.