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Government Watch

Which States are the Most Free? This Map Shows Americans Where to Live If They Crave Liberty

The John Locke Foundation, a North Carolinian think tank, created an index to rate the freedom of individual states. The ratings were determined by giving 50% weight to fiscal policy (a measure of taxation and budget policy), 20% to educational policy, 20% to regulatory policy, and 10% to health care policy:

  • The most free states in order from most free to 5th most free are: Florida, Arizona, Indiana, South Dakota, and Georgia.
  • The least free states in order from worst to 5th worse are: New York, New Jersey, California, West Virginia, and Kentucky.
  • The most fiscally free states are: South Dakota, Wyoming, Nevada, Texas, and Florida.
  • The most educationally free states are: Florida, Arizona, Indiana, Georgia, and Louisiana.
  • The states most free from regulation are: Iowa, Georgia, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Vermont.
  • The states most free in health-care choice are: Idaho, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, and Indiana.



Source: John Locke Foundation, “First in Freedom Index,” February 2015.


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California at one time was truly a great state until it was hijacked by a corrupt bunch of low-lifes known as the democrat party.`


You are off your freaking rocker, I live in Florida, you can’t have a business without a hundred licenses, you can not DO ANYTHING on your home without permits and everybody’s permission. This is one of the LEAST FREE states, get your head out and try some reality.


New Jersey just below New York? New Jersey has been so messed up for so long, there is no end to this dark tunnel. Along with horrible Governors, sadly to say I voted for some of them, we are stuck with a legislature that are only looking out for themselves and think finding a state bird is more important that getting rid of corruption in this state. Of course if they did get rid of corruption, they would all be out of work. Sometime I wonder why I vote.


Good old New York State…..Dead last again. Good thing that incompetent dictator Cuomo is really turning things around.


You know what Earl? I spent 4 years of my life in the military fighting communism and it still disgusts me. I am sick to death of people like you whining and crying about how they never get enough from the their fellow taxpayer, but then the bridges and roads are all falling apart. Did you take math in school? More Americans are now on welfare or working for the government than are in the private work sector. How is that supposed to work without the stupid dumbacrat theory of tax the rich? What happens when we tax them into poverty for you? We borrow more from the red chinese? I am 68 and still work but I don’t resent the wealthy ornsit around on my handsncrying about it. Get off your dumb ass and get some kind of a job if you are rotting away in poverty! You and… Read more »

Mark Blackburn

This is a real jewel! I wish, however, that it had weighted civil liberties, too (such things as are you free to ride a motorcycle as God intended, or are you free to wear a sidearm, or are you free to make love to your wife or partner without getting permission or going to jail, or grow native plants in your yard, etc.). Still, as a proxy for civil liberty, this chart is probably not too far off, and the economic freedom component is valuable. I’m having a little trouble understanding what educational freedom is. Is that the ability of parents to have a voice in how their children are educated and whether they must be subjected to mandatory mercury poisoning prior to entering government schools, or parents’ ease of educating their children in a nurturing home environment rather than in a statist facility?

Stephen Hare

Thank God I’m a Floridian, I just hope the Liberals from the Northeast don’t move down and start asking for handouts. Americans need to wake up and understand what debt, like our national debt of 17 trillions dollars really means, because it will take US A!! down, irregardless of what state we live. Socialism will absolutely lower the standard for everyone, then no-one will thrive. Good fascial policies aren’t a good idea, they are the only way to survive & thrive. Spend less then you make and it will set you Free, indeed.


So am I the only one who was raised with the “don’t talk religion or politics” credo! People, lets all take a breath. We still live (though some days it may not seem like it) in the most amazing country on this planet. We have our problems and we need to address them, but we will never solve them if our hands are around each others throats instead of on the issues. We have allowed the politicians (on both sides) to herd us into camps and label us “left wing nuts” or “right wing extremist” which allows them to ignore and demean all Americans. Think long and hard before you vote this election – not about what “free” stuff you are being promised but about what is in our collective best interest. Boarders, language and culture are not just talking points, they are the very fabric of what makes this… Read more »

John Overington

Now that West Virginia has passed Right to Work or Workplace Freedom we ought to improve by a few places.

Gerald Courtney

I live in Florida 27 years, and I don’t know about the assessment for this state. But of all the states listed, Delaware is not shown? MD is a lousy Democratic one and heavily taxed.




M. Hanson

We get called hicks and the like, but we are living in state #3.


I am proud to live in state 5. If I understand this correctly the major success and/ or failure is States Rights. When a state gives up power to Federal involvement it’s usually a bad idea!

Tony Favero

Hah….California….yep nearly dead last. Figures for a state that is totally in love with Hillary and her corruption and scandals. Democrats have a real shot at reclaiming the supermajorities they lost two years ago. On paper, a legislative supermajority would give the Democrats power to approve tax increases and place measures on the ballot. But legislation that requires two-thirds approval would still need the support from moderate, business-friendly Democrats – and they are often less inclined to support liberal proposals Assembly Democrats needed to gain one additional seat and appear to have picked up three. In the Senate, a single district in Los Angeles County will decide whether Democrats reach the two-thirds threshold. The Republican candidate holds a two-thousand vote lead, and the race is too close to call….pity for the democrats. If California can get back their Supermajority, then we can be just like Cuba!!!!!! Viva Fidel! Perhaps we… Read more »

K Marvel

Charles L – I can’t disagree with anything you’ve just said.



Paul Lindstrom

I can live anywhere i choose, but I live here; I love my life
and choose to live here……

Tim Jeandrevin

I find it EXTREMELY sad there is a difference in ANY state compared to any other! This is supposed to be “the land of the free”! We are supposed to have “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!

Arizona Sage

This rating like most statistics always leave out important variables. Where do the majority of citizens in those states feel freest from always more oppressive government, should be in there.

Carl Darnell

I was amazed that Ky is 5th most regulated state. I live in Ky and am interested how you arrive at the placing of the states in the regulated list.