Iowa leads the nation in efforts to bring ultra-fast internet access to every city block and every rural acre.

US News and World Report has named Iowa #1 in its Best States Ranking.

Iowa is ranked No. 17 for economy, and has Top 10 rankings for several of the factors used to calculate that metric: labor force participation (No. 10), labor force employment (No. 8) and gross domestic product growth (No. 6). But the state ranks toward the bottom for business environment (No. 46) and for some of the other measures of economic strength: growth of the young population (No. 36), venture capital investment (No. 38) and entrepreneurship (No. 45).

Although Iowa continues to be best known as a farm state, manufacturing has become its largest industry, and many rural areas benefit from the construction of new, large processing and production facilities well outside of city limits.

Iowa is No. 1 in terms of the graduation rate for public high schools and is No. 3 for the graduation rate for four-year public colleges. Those scores helped the state rank No. 5 for education overall. It is No. 19 for tuition and fees, and No. 32 for low debt at graduation for in-state students at four-year institutions.

Iowa's No. 3 ranking in health care is based on Top 10 rankings in child wellness visits (No. 1), health care affordability (No. 2), low infant mortality rate (No. 2), Medicare quality (No. 3), insurance enrollment (No. 5), health care access (No. 5) and health care quality (No. 9). The state, however, ranks No. 37 for obesity.

The magazine said that Iowa's No. 4 ranking in opportunity comes largely from its affordability (No. 3) – especially in terms of housing (No. 2). The state does rank slightly below average in terms of income gap by race (No. 27) and dips down further for income gap by gender (No. 40), it said.

The top 10 rankings in the Best States Ranking are:

  1. Iowa
  2. Minnesota
  3. Utah
  4. North Dakota
  5. New Hampshire
  6. Washington
  7. Nebraska
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Vermont
  10. Colorado