Georgia is the 8th most economically free state in the country, according to the report Economic Freedom of North America 2022 by the Fraser Institute.
The report tracks freedom across three variables — government spending, taxes, and regulation — and focuses on the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
Georgia improved its ranking from the 2018-2019 fiscal year, moving from 10th place that year to 8th place in the most recent report.
“This is another report that reinforces Georgia’s place in the country as a freedom leader, especially during the pandemic and now in post-pandemic life,” said Erik Randolph, director of research for the Georgia Center for Opportunity. “This shows why the GCO’s work is so important as we continue to advocate for meaningful work, access to a great education, and a healthy family life."
According to the new report, the top 10 ranking states are Florida, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, North Dakota, Georgia, North Carolina, and Idaho. The bottom 10 ranking states are New York, California, Hawaii, Vermont, Oregon, Maine, West Virginia, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Delaware.
Overall, there was a noted drop in freedom compared to last year’s report, in large part because the current report covers the first four months of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown in 2020.
“Hundreds of independent studies have produced overwhelming evidence that higher levels of economic freedom are associated with more opportunity, more prosperity, greater economic growth and more jobs,” said Dean Stansel, report co-author and economist at Southern Methodist University.
GCO released a study in 2021 that linked the number of jobs lost in a given state with how severely that state shut down its economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The study, entitled State Pandemic Response: Understanding The Impact On Employment & Opportunity, also found that states that imposed more draconian economic shutdowns continue to feel severe job losses even to today.