Don’t Give Much Weight to Louisiana’s Latest Ranking, Say Business Leaders in a Region – L’Observateur

Louisiana has recently ranked last on the “Best States” list for the past five reported years by US News & World Report. Although the state has consistently ranked low on this list, it is important to note that historical comparisons are not recommended due to the methodology being revised with each release. Therefore, a lower ranking does not necessarily mean that the state is failing but rather that other states outperformed it.

The state ranked last in two categories, “crime and corrections” and “economy,” with 639 crimes per 100,000 population being one of Louisiana’s most alarming crime statistics. However, the majority of students in Louisiana have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and the storm, and their school district has shown resilience despite the negative impact of these major events, as noted by Dr. Shannon Lafargue, State Superintendent of the Calcasieu Parish Board of Education.

Louisiana’s “economy,” “opportunity,” and “infrastructure” rankings depend on various factors, including venture capital per GDP, affordability, and renewable energy usage. Although Louisiana’s cost of living index is 8.3 points lower than the national average, its median household income is $52,087, lower than the national median of $69,717, with 19.6% of households living in poverty compared to the national rate of 12.8%.

While it is difficult to rank highly in an economy with high crime, poor education, a less healthy population, and especially poor infrastructure, exploring ways to diversify, adding alternative refined and industrial products to the mix, and improving quality of life in ways that retain and attract businesses and residents are some of the crucial steps to take towards change. The Calcasieu long-term recovery plan and the JustImagineSWLA long-term plan delve into the elements of quality of life, among other initiatives.

Overall, although Louisiana has consistently ranked low on various lists, it is crucial to approach these rankings objectively, as different methodologies impact the results, and exploring ways to diversify and improve the state’s quality of life can pave the way towards change.

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