Iowa ranks among the nation’s “most livable” states on a new survey from the United Way. The agency’s annual “State of Caring Index” compares the states based on a variety of factors, according to Chris Coleman, vice president of the central Iowa chapter.Iowa ranks 6th this year after ranking 7th in 1998 and 9th in 1995. The full survey isn’t being released until Thursday, so it’s not known how all states ranked, though it’s reported Minnesota ranks number-one. The full rankings will be published at “www.unitedway.org” after midnight tonight. Coleman says many things go into making up the index. There are six variables: economic wellbeing, health, education, environment, volunteerism and safety. There are 35 indicators overall and Coleman says Iowa improved in 18 of the 35 in the past year. Coleman says Iowa leads the nation in several areas.Iowa’s number one in several indicators, including: percentage of people living in counties meeting air quality standards, violent crimes reported per 100-thousand residents, percentage of 4th graders at or above proficiency levels for reading. Coleman says Iowa still needs to improve in several areas, like: percentage of single-parent families, percentage of low birthweight babies and percentage of children with no health insurance.
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