NEWS RELEASE: Texas ranked 5th most economically-free state—New Hampshire tops ranking, New York ranks last

NEWS RELEASE: Texas ranked 5th most economically-free state—New Hampshire tops ranking, New York ranks last

Nov. 7, 2019

For Immediate Release

TORONTO—Texas is the 5th most economically-free state in the union, finds a new report released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

Texas scored 7.53 out of 10 in this year’s report, behind top-ranked New Hampshire (7.93) and above lowest-ranked New York (4.49), which ranked last for the fifth year in a row.

Meg Tuszynski, Texas Policy Fellow at the Lone Star Policy Institute, notes that the 5th place ranking is a drop from the number 3 spot last year. Though the score changed very little, other states saw noticeable improvements, causing Texas’ relative rank to fall. According to Tuszynski, “If Texas wants to maintain its reputation as a business-friendly state, we must constantly work to improve our environment of economic freedom. If we rest on our laurels, other states will soon become more attractive places to do business.”

The Economic Freedom of North America report measures government spending, taxation and labor market restrictions using data from 2017, the most recent year of available comparable data.

“When governments allow markets to decide what’s produced, how it’s produced and how much is produced, citizens enjoy greater levels of economic freedom,” said Fred McMahon, report co-author and the Dr. Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom at the Fraser Institute.

Rounding out the top five freest states are Florida (2nd), Tennessee (3rd), Virginia (4th) and Texas (5th). Rounding out the bottom five are West Virginia (49th), Alaska (48th), Vermont (47th) and Oregon (46th).

The report also includes an additional all-government ranking, which adds federal government policy to the index and includes the 50 U.S. states, 32 Mexican states and 10 Canadian provinces.

From 2003 to 2017, the average score for U.S. states in the all-government index fell from 8.23 to 7.92. Across North America, in the most-free jurisdictions, the average per capita income in 2017 was 9.2 percent above the national average compared to 3.4 percent below the national average in the least-free jurisdictions.

“Higher levels of economic freedom lead to more prosperity, greater economic growth, more investment, and more jobs and opportunities,” said Dean Stansel, report co-author and economics professor at Southern Methodist University.

The Economic Freedom of North America report, also co-authored by José Torra, the head of research at the Mexico City-based Caminos de la Libertad, is an offshoot of the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World index, the result of more than a quarter-century of work by more than 60 scholars, including three Nobel laureates.

Detailed tables for each country and subnational jurisdiction can be found at


Fred McMahon

Dr. Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom, Fraser Institute

Desk: (416) 363-6575 ext. 226 Mobile: (416) 727-7138

Dean Stansel

Research Associate Professor, O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom

Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University


The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit

For more information, please contact:

Bryn Weese

Media Relations Specialist, Fraser Institute

(604) 688-0221 ext. 589