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June 24, 2013

While the rest of the country likes to make the most of New Jersey’s negative image, it turns out that those of us living in the Garden State should be the one’s laughing. That’s because New Jersey ranks third among states for general wellbeing in a new report called Measure of America, from the Social Science Research Council.

The report ranks states based on the “Human Development Index,” which takes into account what it calls the three core dimensions of human wellbeing: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and a decent standard of living. It compares its index favorably with a state’s gross domestic product (GDP), because it uses a “people-centered perspective” to supplement “money metrics with human metrics.”

New Jersey was awarded a 6.12 on the Human Development Index, while the country as a whole garnered a 5.03. Connecticut, which placed first in the rankings, earned a 6.17, and Massachusetts, which was second, earned a 6.16. The District of Columbia (4) got a 6.08 and Maryland (5) got a 5.94. Lagging in the index are Mississippi, Arkansas, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Alabama.

New Jersey earned a 6.53 on the index for income (a drop from 7.0 in 2000), a 5.89 for education and a 5.95 for health, both of which reflected an increase from 2000, the last time the index was published.

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