So says US News, which has dropped Louisiana to the bottom of its annual state rankings.
Louisiana was 50th in the publication’s Best States rankings in 2019, and nothing has changed. That makes sense, since nothing positive has happened in Louisiana over the past year that would alter its ranking.
Louisiana was 50th in the 2018 and 2017 rankings as well. In fact, Louisiana has ranked worst in the US News state rankings since John Bel Edwards has been its governor. To be fair, there have only been four years where those rankings from US News have been published, so perhaps the state’s last-place finish isn’t something Edwards created.
But he certainly hasn’t fixed it. And in talking with business and political leaders around the state there are scant few who believe he will. The frightening thing is, nobody particularly believes it’s even fixable by anyone right now, a level of despair the Bayou State can’t afford. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much energy in the heavily-Republican legislature to do anything to spark positive change.
In none of the categories US News uses to compile its ratings does Louisiana rise above a pitiful 42nd – that ranking came in “Fiscal Stability.” In everything else, Louisiana ranks in the bottom five.
Louisiana is the only Southern state currently losing population. Louisiana lost 13,000 people last year, almost half a percent of its population. Most of that comes from a lot more people picking up and moving out of the state than are moving in. We don’t yet have the most recent year’s net outmigration numbers, but Louisiana has been losing more than 25,000 people on net every year since Edwards was inaugurated, and it’s very likely the newest numbers will show an acceleration of that trend.
People don’t like being in last place.
They don’t like to see the state’s leadership thoroughly incapable of dealing with its problems and satisfied with their incompetence. They don’t like to see radical political activists running amok and trashing its cultural patrimony. They don’t like the state’s awful economy, in which it’s harder here than anywhere else in the South to launch and grow a business. They don’t like the dearth of good jobs coming out of that awful economy. They don’t like the trash littering the streets, the crime, the behavioral pathology infecting its perennially-poor areas. They’re tired of COVID lockdowns when other states are reopening. They’re sick of declining cities and the underperformance of basic tasks of public governance.
They’re tired of dysfunction and they don’t see it ending. So they’re leaving. And without them Louisiana will continue to bring up the rear.