Business & Tech

Massachusetts ranked No. 1 in ‘well-being’

A jogger ran along the Charles River Esplanade in Boston in January 2015.
Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff
A jogger ran along the Charles River Esplanade in Boston in January 2015.

Feeling good these days? Massachusetts ranks number one on the “well-being” scale in a new consultant’s report. But not everyone is feeling the good fortune; there are glaring inequalities in the experience of the state’s residents.

“The state struggles mightily with equality,’’ the BCG report found. The gap in college degrees between black and white residents is the widest in the country, and the gap between Hispanics and whites is also high. Income disparity also looms large.

And though the state ranks No. 13 in working to alleviate poverty, the school achievement gap between black and white students remains “staggeringly high,’’ the report said.


On the plus side, the commonwealth leads the country in access to primary health care and has the lowest percentage of uninsured residents, at 4 percent, according to the Boston Consulting Group.

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Massachusetts also has the lowest infant mortality rate in the nation, the third-lowest obesity rate, and the fifth-highest overall life expectancy.

And the state ranked high in education, pre-school enrollment, and had -- perhaps not surprisingly -- the highest proportion of people with college degrees in the country: More than half of residents aged 25 to 34 are college graduates, the study found.

But the population is aging, ranking 40th in the number of residents under age 30.

Massachusetts also has one of the highest costs of living in the country, and its public pensions are in the lower third in terms of funding.


Economically, the state ranked 11th overall, with the third-highest GDP per capita, the third-lowest poverty rate among the most populous states, and low unemployment.

The next four states in the top five across all 12 dimensions measured in the report were New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont, and Minnesota.

Beth Healy can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @HealyBeth.