From staff reports

A Delaware-based news and opinion company puts Maine at No. 29 on a national ranking of best-run states.

24/7 Wall St. assigned a team of four journalists to assess each state’s management by examining key financial ratios, and social and economic outcomes. While acknowledging vast differences in states’ assets – such as natural resources vs. highly developed technology sectors – the team looked for states that balanced tax collection and state expenditure in a way that provided essential services to residents without sacrificing a state’s long-term fiscal health.

The analysis put North Dakota at the top of the list for the third year in a row, while Illinois bumped California out of the last-place spot. It was published in Builder newsletter, a daily trade publication for the construction industry.

Here’s how Maine ranked:

n Debt per capita: $4,220 (14th highest)

n Credit rating (S&P/Moody’s): AA/Aa2

n 2013 unemployment rate: 6.7 percent (23rd lowest)

n Median household income: $46,974 (16th lowest)

n Poverty rate: 14.0 percent (20th lowest)

Assessment: Maine has a relatively small population and is one of the nation’s most rural regions. Low population density may partly explain Maine’s low violent crime rate of 129 violent crimes per 100,000 people, the second-lowest rate nationwide. However, Maine also has one of the nation’s smallest economies, with a 2013 GDP per capita of $38,517, less than that of all but a handful of states. While Maine is a popular destination among vacationers and tourists, its population fell between the middle of 2010 and July 2013, one of only two states with a decline in population. While the college attainment rate among Maine adults was middle of the road as of last year, nearly 92 percent had completed at least high school, the fifth best rate in the nation.

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