WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE: Despite such scenery, Arkansas finished at the bottom of CNBC's "quality of life" ranking.

Another ranking is out with a bad finish for Arkansas. But remember, as Lindsey Millar’s cover story this week tells us, these statistical mashups don’t mean much, except, perhaps, that they might contribute to perceptions by others.

The ranking here is the quality of life category in CNBC’s ranking of the top 10 states for business. Arkansas is rated worst in the country for quality of life. Here’s the methodology, should you choose to flyspeck rather than just head for a float on the Buffalo River or enjoy the current exhibits at Crystal Bridges.


Here’s why we were viewed worst in the U.S. for quality of life, according to CNBC:

Arkansas calls itself the Land of Opportunity, but some might beg to differ. While the state does provide protections against discrimination based on race, sex, religion and national origin, it lacks such protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status and age. And it is one of only three states that bars localities from enacting wider protections of their own. According to the most recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 16 percent of Arkansans reported frequent mental distress. That is the second-highest rate in the nation.

2018 Quality of Life score: 81 out of 300 points (Grade: F)

Weaknesses: Lack of inclusiveness, health, high crime

Strength: Air quality

2017 Quality of Life rank: 4th worst

(They apparently haven’t heard about Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s laser-like focus on decreasing air quality through looser regulation and burning more coal.)


Be of good cheer. Things could be worse. In the overall ranking, Arkansas finished a lofty 40th (up from 41 in 2017) as a place to do business. We moved up the ladder from the bottom because we ranked No. 1 in the cost of doing business and No. 2 in the cost of living. Poor but friendly, in other words.