There has been a lot of talk after this year´s budget on how rotten our state is, how bad things are and how everyone seems to be looking for the exits. Here are CAHS we are not shy to point out many of the things that Connecticut does horribly, horribly wrong (from income inequality to regressive taxes, and don´t let me get started on how dreadful Metro-North is), but this whole "our state is terrible" thing needs to stop. Not just because people both inside and outside Connecticut are starting to believe it, but because it is flatly not true.
Connecticut is actually a really nice place to live, and there is plenty of data to back that up. Let´s go over this.
- Connecticut is one of the safest states in the country. The homicide rate is about half the national average, and dropping rapidly. We are close to the bottom in violent crime rates, and in the top-10 in lowest overall crime. Scary headlines aside, this is a very safe, very pleasant place to live in.
- Taxes are actually fairly low, considering how wealthy the state is. Bill Cibes already wrote about how low business taxes actually are, but this extends also to other taxes. State and local taxes as share of personal income is just 16,7%, compared to the 18.7% national average. Connecticut had the 6th lowest burden in 2012; even with recent tax increases, our rank has barely bulged.
- Connecticut schools are stellar. Only Massachusetts has better test scores; even compared with other countries, our schools fare better than students in places like France, Denmark or Ireland.
- Health-wise, Connecticut has the 3rd highest life expectancy. In most health indicators (obesity, smoking, low birth weight, diabetes) we are at the top or close to the top of the pack.
- Of course, the state is still one of the wealthiest in the country, and one of the wealthiest places on earth. Income mobility is well above the national average, as well, meaning that we have better, stronger ladders to reach the middle class.
- If we take all into account (income, health, education, crime, economy) we are arguably the best state by some accounts.
And all this without having to mention how pretty the state is, how pleasant our towns are, how good New Haven pizza is and how nice and civilized life is here.
Sure, Connecticut has problems. The weather can be pretty dreadful sometimes. Housing is incredibly expensive. Income inequality is a huge issue. Some of our cities and towns are not sharing much of our prosperity. Our roads have way too many potholes. There are many things we need to work on. We have our share of problems and issues.
But in both relative and absolute terms, no matter where you look, Connecticut is a great place to live. Crime is low, taxes are reasonable, health care is great, education is fantastic, opportunity still abounds, and we have the best pizza. No matter how much we whine and complaint about, we should not forget that.