Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Tennessee and the Dakotas are the freest states in the U.S., according to a new analysis. Sound like places where you’d want to live?
The analysis comes from the market research center at George Mason University in Virginia. It uses numerous measurements of freedom. Some of the weightiest measures include tax burden, the legal climate for businesses and how often people are incarcerated for “victimless crimes” such as illegal gambling or drug use.
Not everyone will agree that all of the freedoms are positive. For example, different people will surely want more or less stringent rent control laws, gun control laws and same-sex marriage availability. The George Mason analysis counts less rent control, less gun control and more marriage equality as more freedom.
The map’s creators make their own stance clear. In a YouTube video, they poke fun at Vermont and New York for being “weighed down by taxation and debt,” while in blog posts, they write about the advantages of greater freedom as they define it. Nevertheless, their online app offers a cool function: You can make your own map including only the freedoms you want. Go to “Personal Rank” in the top menu and click on the names of the larger categories to see more specific categories you can select as you desire.