Connecticut fell 12 places to 24th overall in U.S. News & World Report's 2018 Best States report, slumping in a number of key categories.

The magazine ranked Connecticut in the bottom 10 in three of the eight weighted categories that assess how states are serving their residents, with additional declines in traditional strengths like education and quality of life.

Connecticut's US News Best States ranking
Connecticut's fiscal problems are impacting its quality of life, education, infrastructure, and economic growth.

U.S. News & World Report rated Connecticut fourth for healthcare (a bright spot, jumping eight spots from 2017), eighth in the crime and corrections category (unchanged), and 14th for education, down 10 places from last year.

The state's opportunity ranking—measuring affordability, economic opportunity, and equality—fell 14 spots to 29th and quality of life dropped to 38th among all states.

Connecticut's economy ranked 43rd, down five positions from last year and the state's lowest ranking in all categories.

That downgrade was driven by poor performances in a number of economic subcategories, including GDP growth (45th), growth of young population (49th), net migration (45th), unemployment (36th), and business tax burden (45th).

Fiscal Problems Weaken State's Strengths

Fiscal stability ranked 10th worst in the country, while the state's infrastructure ranking plummeted 15 positions to 41st.

CBIA economist Pete Gioia said there should be no surprise at the state's bottom 10 rankings for economic performance and fiscal stability, given projected multi-billion dollar budget deficits.

Our traditional areas of strength like education and quality of life are clearly being eroded by our ongoing fiscal problems.
— CBIA economist Pete Gioia
"However, it's clear that our ongoing fiscal issues are having a widening impact on other areas," Gioia said.

"That includes traditional areas of strength like education and quality of life, which clearly are being eroded, and transportation, which faces a funding crisis.

"Maintaining and protecting those areas means addressing those critical challenges that limit our strengths and threaten our way of life."

Iowa Ranked Top State

Three of the six New England states ranked in the top 10, led by New Hampshire at number five with top five rankings for education, opportunity, crime and corrections, and quality of life.

Massachusetts fell from first place to eighth and Vermont was ranked 9th. U.S. News ranked Maine 22nd and Rhode Island 28th.

Iowa was the number one ranked state, with Minnesota, Utah, and North Dakota rounding out the top five.

Louisiana ranked last for a second year, followed by Mississippi, New Mexico, West Virginia, and Alabama.