To paraphrase Thucydides, happiness hinges on freedom, and freedom hinges on courage.
So how do the 50 states rank in a combination of personal and economic freedoms?
The Cato Institute recently released its fifth edition (2018) of Freedom in the 50 States:
This 2018 edition of Freedom in the 50 States presents a completely revised and updated ranking of the American states on the basis of how their policies promote freedom in the fiscal, regulatory, and personal realms.* * *
In addition to providing the latest rankings for year-end 2016, the 2018 edition provides annual data on economic and personal freedom and their components back to 2000.
Published by the Cato Institute and accompanied by demographic and economic data on each state, Freedom in the 50 States is an essential desk reference for anyone interested in state policy and in advancing a better understanding of a free society.
As detailed in the fifth edition, the top five freest states are:
2. New Hampshire