Pictured: Governor Northam at the Virginia Commerce and Trade Bill signing ceremony. Picture courtesy of the Governor’s Flickr page.
RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam celebrated Virginia’s jump to seventh place in the U.S. News 2019 Best States Rankings, representing a 13-spot jump from 20th in 2018. In calculating the rankings, each of eight categories was assigned weightings based on the average of three years of data from an annual national survey that asked a total of more than 50,000 people to prioritize each subject in their state. The data behind the rankings aims to show how well states serve their residents in a variety of ways. In addition to healthcare and education, the metrics consider a state’s economy, infrastructure, fiscal stability, public safety, natural environment, and the opportunity it affords its residents.
Virginia experienced the most significant improvements in its rankings from 2018 to 2019 in the categories of healthcare (from 29th to 18th), education (from 12th to 7th), economy (from 30th to 25th), and fiscal stability (from 14th to 8th).
“In Virginia, we are laser focused on growing and diversifying our economy, driving innovation, and bringing jobs and prosperity to all corners of the Commonwealth—and as a result we are making steady progress toward restoring Virginia’s standing as the top-ranked business destination in the country,” said Governor Northam. “Virginia’s rise to from 20th to 7th in the U.S. News Best States ranking is evidence that our priorities of expanding healthcare, investing in education, and creating economic opportunity are paying off. I look forward to building on this momentum with our state, local, and regional partners across the Commonwealth.”
“We work tirelessly with many public and private sector partners to make Virginia more competitive, and it is gratifying that our efforts have been recognized by improved third-party rankings from an international news outlet like U.S. News,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “We are moving in the right direction, and remain committed to focusing on the key areas for improvement that will push Virginia forward.”
Virginia recently has moved up in several business climate rankings, including those published by CNBC, Forbes, Site Selection, and Chief Executive. Most recently, Virginia improved from 15th to 13th in Chief Executive’s Best and Worst States for Business. The latest Chief Executive ranking was based on a national survey of business executives conducted from late February to mid-March of this year.
“I am very grateful for all that Governor Northam and the General Assembly have been doing to improve Virginia’s business climate and make us more competitive for economic development opportunities, said VEDP President and CEO Stephen Moret. “With the full implementation of several recently funded initiatives, such as Virginia’s historic tech-talent investment program and a big investment in rural broadband, as well as new initiatives focused on marketing Virginia for business, preparing sites for development, and launching a world-class custom workforce solutions program, Virginia will be poised for additional improvements in our national rankings and more economic development wins.”
“Recent investments in and modernizations across Virginia’s education continuum are better preparing our workforce to drive Virginia’s economy forward,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “Providing every Virginian the opportunity to access high quality education at every level is a top priority for the Commonwealth, and our shared commitment to that will build a strong foundation for Virginia’s success for decades to come.”
Read more about the U.S. News 2019 Best States Rankings and the Chief Executive 2019 Best and Worst States for Business.