Today, the Fraser Institute released its Economic Freedom of North America 2015 (2015 EFNA) report, an annual index that uses a 10-point scale to measure North America’s economic freedom according to size of government, taxation, and labor market freedom at the country, state, and provincial levels. Since 2003, Canada, Mexico, and the United States have all seen a decline in their economic freedom. The United States has had the most drastic fall, with its average state score dropping from 8.24 to 7.59.
According to the 2015 EFNA, the average per-capita income in states with the most economic freedom was more than 14 percent greater than in states with the least economic freedom. Yet economic freedom does more than impact incomes: As the Fraser Institute’s annual Economic Freedom of the World index demonstrates, countries with higher levels of economic freedom also have more civil rights, experience less corruption, and enjoy cleaner environments.
That’s good news for residents in New Hampshire, South Dakota, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, and Virginia—the U.S. states that have the highest levels of economic freedom according to the 2015 EFNA. New York, California, Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, and West Virginia ranked at the bottom, with the lowest levels of economic freedom.
While economic freedom has declined in North America for more than a decade, the 2015 EFNA does show positive gains for some states since last year’s report. Fifteen states have improved their overall scores, and 23 states have improved their “size of government” score.
The national and subnational rankings for Canada, Mexico, and the United States can be found in the full report.