Freedom in the 50 States

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We happily concede that different people value aspects of freedom differently. You can personalize the ranking and pick and choose which aspects of freedom you value and see how the states stack up.

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How the Rankings Are Calculated

We score all 50 states on over 200 policies encompassing fiscal policy, regulatory policy, and personal freedom. We weight public policies according to the estimated costs that government restrictions on freedom impose on their victims.

More on how it's calculated

Meet the Authors

William Ruger

William Ruger

William Ruger is Vice President for Research and Policy at the Charles Koch Institute and Vice President for Research at the Charles Koch Foundation. He was previously an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Texas State University. Ruger earned his PhD in Politics from Brandeis University and an AB from the College of William and Mary. His scholarship has appeared in a number of academic journals, including International Studies Quarterly, Civil Wars, and Armed Forces and Society. He is the author of the biography Milton Friedman and a coauthor of two books on state politics, including Freedom in the 50 States. Ruger has written op-eds for a number of outlets, such as the New York Times, SA Today, and Foreign Affairs, and he has been interviewed frequently for television and radio, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News. Ruger is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and an officer in the U.S. Navy (Reserve Component). He lives with his wife and two sons in Virginia.

Jason Sorens

Jason Sorens

Jason Sorens is a lecturer in the Department of Government at Dartmouth College and received his PhD in political science from Yale University in 2003. He has researched and written more than 15 peer-reviewed journal articles and a book, Secessionism (McGill-Queens University Press). His research has focused on independence movements around the world, the theory and practice of fiscal federalism, and subnational economic policymaking. He has founded two nonprofits, the Free State Project and Ethics and Economics Education. He lives with his wife and daughter in New Hampshire.