Every year, U.S. News and World Report publishes a ranking of all 50 U.S. states, judging them by metrics within seven weighted categories that indicates which states best serve their citizens. This year, Maryland beat out most other states, earning the no. 8 spot.

Based on U.S. News’ methodology that gives higher value to education, health care and opportunity than other categories, Maryland’s education system and opportunities afforded to residents helped it break the top 10.

“Education” factored in the percentage of adults with associate’s degrees or higher, college completion rates, the percentage of children enrolled in preschool, national test scores for middle schoolers and high school graduation rates, among other factors. “Opportunity,” meanwhile, included income disparities, upward mobility and the poverty rate, among others.

Gov. Larry Hogan couldn’t help but take credit for some of Maryland’s superficial, ratings-based success. In a point that may sting for education advocates here in Baltimore, his administration noted in a release that they’ve been “funding K-12 education at record levels for three budgets in a row and making record investments in higher education.”

The governor’s office also touted the EARN workforce training program and the 73,000-job boost the state has felt since he took office in 2015.

“Maryland has made tremendous strides in turning our economy around, improving education, and working to ensure that every single Marylander has the opportunity to succeed,” Hogan said in a statement. “We have made incredible progress over the past two years, but there is still more work to do to continue making Maryland the very best place to live, work, raise a family, and retire.”

Two areas that the state didn’t fare quite as well in: Overall economy (no. 21) and crime and corrections (no. 22). Additionally, while Maryland grabbed the no. 14 spot for health care, its care quality was down at no. 36, thanks in part to having the highest hospital readmission rate of any state.

But that’s getting in the weeds. Residents should rejoice in the fact that a publisher made both famous and infamous by its rankings has dubbed the Free State the eighth-best in the nation. If you care about this sort of thing, then it’s way better to be closer to Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Minnesota in spots 1-3 than Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi down at spots 48-50.

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Ethan McLeod

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...