Surveys are a good tool to measure the public’s opinion, but are they as reliable as we think?

U.S. News & World Report recently unveiled a ranking that put the great State of Alabama in, well, not so great of company. The Heart of Dixie was ranked 49th in their U.S. best overall report – that’s second to last. Louisiana rounded out the list at No. 50. How did they come up with it? A survey, of course.

The report stated, “In calculating the rankings, each of the 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: health care – 16 percent, education – 15.8 percent, economy – 13.8 percent, infrastructure – 12.9 percent, opportunity – 12.7 percent, fiscal stability – 10.5 percent, crime & corrections – 9.9 percent and natural environment – 8.4 percent.”

Isn’t there more than 320 million people living in the U.S.? So by my basic math skills, isn’t that data from only less than 1 percent of our nation’s people?

I have two words for U.S. News & World Report: Rankings. Sh’m’ankings.

Alabama is a wonderful place to live and honestly a state that’s on the rise.

In April, Gov. Kay Ivey announced that the state set a new record with more than $8.7 billion in economic growth projects during 2018, which could provide 17,000 new jobs. We have a multitude of state parks so gorgeous that people all over the country come visit. Huntsville is home to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and a leading candidate for the Space Command (or Space Force) headquarters being started by President Trump. And, let’s not forget, we’re the kings of football thanks to the spectacular histories of the University of Alabama and Auburn University. But seriously, our education system isn’t as bad as people make it out to be. Remember, we have the nation’s leading Pre-K program.

Now would I say Alabama No. 1? No, not quite – Hawaii is nice any time of year – but I would be remiss by not standing up and reminding everyone that there’s a lot to love about Alabama.

But if this ranking has gotten you down, just keep one thing in mind: at least we’re not in Louisiana.

Taylor Beck is managing editor for The Reporter. His email is

(1) comment


Sorry, Alabama is last in education and that's not based on a survey. You may like living there but it makes me wonder if you've lived any where else.

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