Monday, October 10, 2011

State Rankings

Is Oklahoma Ok?
We all like to believe our state is the best. It is that pride that comes from living in a great state and wanting to believe we have made a smart choice in living here. Here are some rankings that others give our state- from both the good and the bad.
A report on health in the United States ranks Oklahoma among the worst states.
With a death rate 23 percent higher than the national rate, United Health Foundation ranked the Sooner state 46th out of all 50 for overall health.
Oklahoma received a "F" for heart disease deaths, diabetes, lack of physical activity and smoking.
According to the study, 32 percent of Oklahomans are considered obese compared to 27 percent nationally.
Twenty-five percent of Oklahomans smoke compared to less than 18 percent nationwide; however, Oklahoma ranked 14th in the amount of money we spend per person on public health.
Meanwhile Oklahoma's personal income growth was among the nation's best in the April-to-June period, the second straight quarter Oklahoma's ranking has been among the top five states.
The state's average personal income growth of 1.7 percent was the fourth-highest among all states, according to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Oklahoma's growth rate was fifth in the nation in the first quarter
Economist Mickey Hepner said the numbers appear to signal a trend.
“The key point is that once again our personal income growth was among the highest in the nation in the second quarter,” said Hepner, dean of the University of Central Oklahoma's College of Business Administration.
Another interesting ranking, OK ranks in top 3 states for retirement. Why it's in the top 10: By knocking the cover off the ball in economic factors, Oklahoma was able to overcome poor performance in the areas of life expectancy and crime.
Economic factors: Oklahoma got the best overall score for economics, because its cost of living, unemployment and tax burdens are all among the 10 lowest in the nation.
Climate: Oklahoma's score for climate was not spectacular but well above average.
Life expectancy: Oklahoma's life expectancy of 75.2 years is in the bottom 10.
Crime: Oklahoma scored well below average in this category, because of high violent and property crime rates.
A new report says the Tulsa and Oklahoma City metros are on track to rank among the nation's smoggiest cities in 2011.
Environment America, a coalition of environmental advocacy organizations, has released on a report on smog statistics for 2010 and for the first 9 months of 2011.
The report looked at the number of days ozone pollution rose above the official level the Environmental Protection Agency considers unhealthy for children, the elderly and people with respiratory disease.
The Tulsa metro area had recorded 15 smog days. Oklahoma City metro had recorded 17 smog days.
Tulsa is ranked 14th on the list, while Oklahoma City is ranked 12th in 2011.
Looking back at 2010, Tulsa was ranked at 104th place with three smog days, plus additional days, Environment America says had air unhealthy to breathe.
Oklahoma City came in at 121st in 2010 with 2 smog days plus 6 additional days which had air unhealthy to breathe.
1 in 4 drivers in Oklahoma reportedly uninsured.
The Oklahoma auto accident lawyers at Atkins & Markoff hereby share a message regarding the statistics that have been compiled, organized, kept and recently released by the Insurance Research Council, a non-profit organization that tracks relevant auto accident and liability statistics. Specifically, the statistics recently released concern the number of uninsured drivers in Oklahoma.
According to the estimates released by the group, nearly one out of every four drivers, or 23.9 percent of motorists in Oklahoma do not have auto insurance. This percentage was recorded in 2009, and it marks the fifth consecutive year that Oklahoma has been ranked in the top 10 on this list of percentage of uninsured drivers. The percentage also remains at its current level despite the fact that a state law exists that requires that drivers carry auto insurance on their vehicles. "If you are uninsured and you are involved in a traffic incident or accident, your vehicle will be towed," said Tulsa Police Captain Jonathan Brooks.
Each year, the Annie E. Casey Foundation releases a report known as the Kids Count Data Book. The recently released Data Book shows Oklahoma ranks 43rd in the areas of child well-being. This ranking improved by one over 2010 and 2009 data; in 2003, Oklahoma enjoyed a ranking of 38th out of all 50 states in child well-being, as reported by Tulsa World.
Child well-being for each state and the nation as a whole was based on criteria in ten areas, with data compiled from 2000 to 2009. The 10 "key indicators" as outlined by the Kids Count Data Book: Percent low birth-weight babies; infant mortality rate; child death rate; teen death rate; teen birth rate; percent of teens not in school and not high school graduates; percent of teens not attending school and not working; percent of children living in families where no parent has full-time year-round employment; percent of children in poverty; and percent of children in single-parent families.
Poverty is considered to be an income below $21,756 annually for a family with two adults and two children in 2009.
Clearly, increases in any of the 10 key indicators of child well-being results in negative or tragic news for the individuals behind the statistics. The child death rate, measured as deaths per 100,000 children ages 1 to 14 years, not only increased by 16 percent in the state of Oklahoma since the previous Data Book, but also compares sadly with the national data of an improvement in the child death rate by 14 percent. In this single key indicator, Oklahoma ranks 47th.
The teen death rate, measured as deaths per 100,000 teens ages 15 to 19 years, increased by 8 percent; the national trend was a decrease of 7 percent.
Oklahoma City is once again being recognized nationally and this time it is for its residential real estate market. today ranked Oklahoma City as one of the top 15 cities in the nation that have seen the most improvement in home prices since 2009. Oklahoma City was ranked eighth in the nation by MSN with a 1-percent increase in year-over-year home prices. Furthermore, the city is expected to have another 1-percent increase over the next 12 months. MSN reported that the average home price in the city is currently $156,333.
Oklahoma number 12 in freedom among the states. A new analysis of freedom in the 50 American states gives Oklahoma a positive ranking, assessing the state as the twelfth freest state. The Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia released the analysis this week.
William P. Ruger and Jason Sorens, authors of the study, summarized this analysis this way:
“Oklahoma is a solid performer and among the most economically free states. Indeed, it is the third-best state in terms of fiscal freedom, with low spending, taxation, and debt. However, like many Southern states, it has much room for improvement in terms of personal freedom.
“One fiscal oddity is that the government has a bloated payroll that represents 15.2 percent of the private workforce, nearly a standard deviation higher than the national average.
“In terms of personal freedom, gun control is fairly limited and alcohol taxes and restrictions are decent. However, the state’s marijuana sentencing is unreformed. Indeed, Oklahoma’s lifetime maximum possible sentence for a single marijuana offense is draconian. Asset-forfeiture rules are in need of reform. Several types of gambling are illegal (not casinos), though social gambling is technically prohibited.
“Private- and home schools are virtually unregulated, though kindergarten attendance is required by law. The state has limited smoking bans with a number of exceptions. Arrests for victimless crimes and the state’s drug law-enforcement rate are at or below national averages.
“Land-use planning is minimal. Labor and health-insurance laws are generally market friendly. Eminent-domain reform needs much more work. Campaign-finance regulations are quite strict. Improvements have been seen in the state’s liability-system rating.”

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