Beginning today, Floridians get to celebrate a sales tax holiday dubbed “Freedom Week.” According to a new study, that would align with Florida’s reputation as one of the “freest” states in America.
Earlier this week, the financial services website WalletHub released a study that looked at all 50 states “to find out where Americans are the most self-reliant.”
WalletHub based its ratings on 39 metrics of “independence” as spread across five broad categories: consumer finances, the government, the job market, international trade and personal vices.
The intent was “to determine which states are most self-sustaining.”
Florida ranked as the sixth most independent state.
The 39 factors analyzed by WalletHub included things like median credit score, poverty level, the ratio of millennials still living with parents, underwater mortgages, foreclosure and bankruptcy rates, number of government employees, unemployment rate, as well as the number of smokers, drug addicts, and binge drinkers.
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Just seven states scored above 60 on WalletHub’s scale.
Florida trailed (in descending order) Utah, Colorado, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Nebraska. Just behind Florida was Idaho. Its score was 60.31, which compared to Utah’s 66.03.
At the other end of the scale (in descending order) were South Carolina, Alaska, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Kentucky.
Speaking of Florida’s outcome, WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez told The Capitolist, a right-leaning news website in Tallahassee, that the state benefited from a relatively small ratio of dependents under 15 and older than 64 compared to the working-age population, a low percentage of “seriously” underwater mortgages, and a low share of government employees.
Florida also posted high marks because of its strong job market, Gonzalez noted.
“Florida has the lowest unemployment rate nationwide, a high job creation index, and a low share of jobs supported by exported goods,” Gonzalez told The Capitolist.
“Vice dependency is another area in which Florida is among the most independent. It has a low share of adult binge drinkers — just 15%, the second-lowest share of adults with gambling disorders — 1.1%, and a small share of smart device users.”