True Measures of a “Liberal” Economy

If you read the comments section appended to almost any Boston-based news story regarding politics and Massachusetts, gay marriage, gun control or Barney Frank, you will almost certainly come across some highly colorful explanations of what a total bleeping idiot you are for living in a “liberal” economy. The harshest of critics suggest that many liberal politicians have totally ruined this once fine state in every possible way. Just in case you’ve had your feelings hurt by any of this commentary, here are some actual measures of how the Commonwealth is doing.

According to the most recently available data from the Census Bureau:
MA ranked #1 for persons over 25 with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher.
MA ranked #1 for doctors per 100,000 population.
MA ranked #3 in the nation for personal income per capita.

Here are some more statistics:
MA ranked 47th for energy consumption per capita.
MA ranked 49th for infant mortality rate.
MA ranked 50th for traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles driven.

So, as measured by real-world metrics, the Bay State is doing comparatively well financially. We’re also rather well educated, comparatively healthy, unusually green, and surprisingly safe. (For fun, you might want to use the data to check out those same metrics for your favorite red state.)

Beyond the Census data, MA comes out rather well as measured by a variety of sources:
US News and World Report
declares that we have the best national university in Harvard; the first and second best national liberal arts colleges in Williams and Amherst; and the best undergraduate engineering program in MIT. shows MA to have the 3rd lowest rate of deaths due to firearms; the third lowest teen-pregnancy rate; and the 3rd lowest rate of obesity.

Forbes ranked MA the 6th healthiest state, right behind Utah.

And, despite what Fidelity Investment might think, CNBC ranked MA as 5th in the nation in 2010 for business, based on an index that combined 40 measures of competitiveness.

So, honestly, the real-world “good news” here is that we aren’t as “stupid” for living here in Massachusetts as all those people living in their mom’s basement in other states keep saying we are. Well, except for that whole thing about the weather. (Sorry. Can’t help you there.)