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America's Top State For Business - Quality of Life

7/22/2015 10:14:43 AM

Outstanding quality of life is a key reason CNBC named Minnesota as "America's Top State for Business 2015" in June.

Minnesota finished third in quality of life, one of 10 broad measures the business news channel examined in determining the best state for business. CNBC gave the state 268 points out of a possible 325 points in this category. Minnesota trailed only Hawaii and Vermont in quality of life.

CNBC based its quality of life scores on several factors, pointing out that "the best places to do business are also the best places to live." Criteria included crime rate, inclusiveness (such as antidiscrimination protections), quality of health care, level of health insurance coverage and the overall health of the population. In addition, they evaluated local attractions, parks and recreation, as well as environmental quality.

Among Minnesota's strengths, the network highlighted Minnesota's low crime rate-just 228 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in 2014-and its clean air, healthy population and access to quality health care.

Minnesotans are indeed a healthy bunch. The state ranked sixth in the health of its population in 2014, according to America's Health Rankings. The Twin Cities metro area was recently ranked second fittest in the nation by the American College of Sports Medicine.

When it comes to the quality of Minnesota's health care, the state ranks among the top five in overall performance, according to the 2014 National Healthcare Quality Report. Minnesotans can receive care at many highly regarded medical facilities-including Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., which was ranked the best hospital in the country for 2014-2015 by U.S. News and World Report.

As far as family and community, Minnesota has been ranked as the No. 1 best state for children in the annual national Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Other things that add greatly to quality of life are cultural and natural attractions, and Minnesota has a plentiful supply of both. From theaters and music to museums and galleries, the arts are thriving. Minnesota also has a vibrant culinary scene, and the Twin Cities was recently ranked fifth among the "Best Cities for Foodies" by Travel + Leisure magazine.

Professional and collegiate sports - including football, baseball, basketball and hockey - draw large crowds. Their popularity has sparked recent construction of several new stadiums in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Minneapolis has been chosen to host the 2018 Super Bowl.

The "Land of 10,000 Lakes" (officially 11, 842 lakes) also is full of scenic beauty. Minnesota has 76 state parks and recreation areas. Fishing, boating, skiing, snowmobiling, skating, golfing, windsurfing, hiking and hunting - residents and tourists can do them all in Minnesota.

But what about Minnesota's blustery winters? CNBC said it never considers weather when measuring quality of life because it's "just too subjective." But, the network added, anyone who has lived through a Minnesota winter "knows that Minnesotans don't just adapt to the cold, they embrace it-and are then rewarded with glorious springs and summers."

CNBC examined 10 categories, and we're taking a closer look at each to see how Minnesota fared. You'll find other write-ups on our blog.

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