North Dakota fell from a high perch in the U.S. News and World Report comprehensive rankings of states, an annual list that was previously trumpeted by Gov. Doug Burgum.
The rankings, which were released Tuesday and used "thousands of data points to measure how well states are performing for their citizens," put North Dakota at 15th overall. In each of the first two years of the list, the state ranked fourth.
A senior data editor at U.S. News and World Report said in a statement that the rankings "provide a snapshot in time and should be used to analyze long-term trends, rather than direct year-over-year comparisons."
Minnesota came in third this year, trailing only Washington and New Hampshire as the top states in the nation. South Dakota came in 20th and Montana landed at 29th.
North Dakota was in the bottom third of the list for health care and the economy. But it ranked fifth for infrastructure and fourth in "opportunity," which measures poverty, housing affordability and equality for women, minorities and people with disabilities.
The state also had the highest labor force participation rate, the fourth-lowest unemployment rate, the shortest average commutes at about 17 minutes and was second in health care affordability.
Last year, North Dakota ranked first in quality of life, which is no longer a separate category.
Burgum's office previously issued news releases praising the past two years' rankings. In a statement requested by Forum News Service Tuesday afternoon, his spokesman Mike Nowatzki said the rankings "reinforce our message that North Dakota is one of the best states in the nation to live, work and raise a family."
“We’re pleased that this year’s U.S. News & World Report rankings once again recognize North Dakota as a land of opportunity," he said.