South Dakota is Number 1 in Freedom Study

Map of South DakotaIt is nice to know that South Dakota is adept at ringing the bell of freedom (compared to the other states):

The Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a free-market think tank based in California, today released the U.S. Economic Freedom Index: 2008 Report, a ranking of economic freedom in the 50 states. Published in association with Forbes, the Index scores states based on 143 variables, including regulatory and fiscal obstacles imposed on businesses and residents.

South Dakota, which ranked 15 in 2004 (the last time the Index was published), has assumed the notable spot as the nation’s most economically free state, while New York consistently remains the most economically oppressed state, ranking 50 in all three editions of the Index.

The net migration rate for the 20 freest states was 27.36 people per 1,000, while it was a low 1.17 people per 1,000 for the 20 most economically oppressed states. “People are moving to the freest states and fleeing the least free states as our market-based migration metric of economic freedom predicts,” said Lawrence J. McQuillan, Ph.D., director of Business and Economic Studies at PRI and director of the project. “By measuring economic freedom and studying its effects, people will gain a fuller appreciation of the important imprint it makes on the economic and political fabric of America and will encourage new state legislation that advances economic liberty.”


As the most economically free state, South Dakota has no corporate income tax, no personal income tax, no personal property tax, no business inventory tax, and no inheritance tax. South Dakota’s business climate is thriving and companies are relocating and opening plants in the state. In 2007, the Small Business Survival Foundation ranked South Dakota as the best business climate for entrepreneurs. In 2008, Forbes magazine ranked Sioux Falls as the best smaller metro area for business and careers. Moreover, the state has faired well in other indexes measuring items such as inbound migration (United Van Lines) and the cost of doing business in the state (Milken Institute).

I like it. Perhaps it is time to change the state’s tourism tag line. May I suggest “A great place to live, a great place to die” as one freedom-loving alternative?