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FREEDOM in America: Which States are the most Free?

Updated on August 24, 2014

The 10 Freest States:

  1. North Dakota
  2. South Dakota
  3. Tennesse
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Idaho
  7. Missouri
  8. Virginia
  9. Georgia
  10. Utah

The criteria used to measure which states were freer and which states lacked freedom were their state and local public policy that enabled economic, social and personal freedom. The project examined intervention in such areas as gun control, homeschooling, drug policy, smoking laws, seat-belt laws, housing permits and other laws affecting personal freedom using the guideline that individuals should be able to dispose of their freedom as they see fit as long as it doesn't infringe on other people's rights.

What does freedom really mean when it comes to governments? It's been so long since we had a truly free country that many people have forgotten what it was like.

Freedom means that you can build a house without paying thousands of dollars to some bureaucrat for a permit.

Freedom means that your children can be taught what you want them to be taught through homeschooling without the oversight of some government bureaucrat.

Freedom means traveling across town without being questioned as to where you are going and what you are doing and having to show ID to prove you are a U.S. Citizen (see the video below). As if someone who was not a citizen would say so!

Freedom means working and NOT giving half or more of your money to the government.

Freedom means being able to start a business without first spending $50,000 in permits & licenses.

Freedom means being able to eat what you want to eat!

Freedom means being able to harvest whatever is on your land.

Freedom means that you can buy or sell whatever you want to whomever you want.

Freedom means that you can protest without being arrested or beaten up.

Do you think that your quality of life is affected by how free your state is?

See results

The 10 least free states:

  1. New York
  2. California
  3. New Jersey
  4. Hawaii
  5. Illinois
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Vermont
  8. Maryland
  9. Ohio
  10. Connecticut

Conversely what does slavery look like? Slavery means that you work for nothing. In the states that are least free it is most difficult to start a business without putting up thousands of dollars, one cannot just build a house without spending thousands of dollars for permits. Taxes are outrageous, it's illegal to have guns without permits and the permits are given out reluctantly if at all, nevertheless, the crime rate is high and there is usually a very strong police presence.

The lack of freedom can be seen in cases like the couple who were recently arrested ..not for robbing a bank, not for public indecency, no they were arrested for DANCING ON A SUBWAY PLATFORM! All charges were dropped but they were held in jail for 23 hours. They are suing New York City. Or the man that is looking at 60 days in prison and a $12,180 dollar fine for hosting a home bible study in Arizona! It's incidences like these that wake people up to the rising threat of an advanced police state.

Moreover, a common argument for raising taxes on the rich is that they do not pay their fair share, however as an article recently mentions (article below) when tax rates go up the rich simply leave. More and more states that are oppressive are losing people and companies to states that practice freedom.

Surprise Findings

What I found interesting is that many states one would think would be most free were not...states like Alaska and Montana.

When one thinks of Alaska one thinks of wild, open country where people go who want to be free, who want to be left alone and yet Alaska is the 13th free state in the country. What is going on there? The reason that Alaska was ranked so low is because over ¼ of Alaska's workforce is through state and local government, of course that number is even higher when federal employees are included.

Another state that one would expect to be higher on the list is Montana. Montana has a reputation for being a free state but in reality Montana can be very restrictive. Montana's asset-forfeiture abuse is rampant. Health mandates require the use of specialists and the statute of limitations on credit card debt in Montana is over 8 years (one of the highest in the country, the lowest is 3 years). Additionally, it is absolutely illegal to even drink raw milk in Montana.

Shortcomings in the Study

While this study is very useful there are many areas that the study does not address. For example, New Hampshire, touted as one of the freest states actually has very high property taxes, while New York the least free state in every category can be very free in other ways. I've lived in New York for almost 8 years and although it's very restrictive when it comes to vehicles, most people who live in the city don't own a car, nor do they need a vehicle which saves a lot of money and stress and in an off-hand way actually gives people more freedom.

As the police state rises in America, Americans are looking for options. They are feeling the pinch of police check-points, oppressive taxation and ridiculous nanny-state laws. While this study is not conclusive it is a good start when ascertaining where to flee to in order to find what used to be the symbol of America but what is becoming more and more rare...FREEDOM!

They may take our lives but they'll never take our FREEDOM!


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    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 4 years ago from Manhattan

      LOL. funny John. I really don't understand Montana when it comes to raw milk. They are free in many other ways except this. I lived in Idaho for awhile and in problems getting raw milk at the store. It just seems crazy to me.

    • profile image

      John Fazio 4 years ago

      While I agree with your article there is an error when it comes to Montana and raw milk. It is illegal to sell raw milk but it is not illegal to consume raw milk. That is true for the entire country. In no way is raw milk illegal to drink, though, it might be hard getting your hands on some. Now, if they made raw milk a controlled substance that could change the landscape a little but the suburbia drug ring would just have one more item to "push". Image this... "yo, yo, what you need? I got some farm fresh fancy and some vit C"

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 5 years ago from Manhattan

      Thanks "aguasilver"

    • aguasilver profile image

      John Harper 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

      Excellent article, the guy at the checkpoint really demonstrates how we should behave to petty tyranny.

      Voted up and shared FB et al!


    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 5 years ago from Manhattan

      You don't get why U.S. residents aren't on top of surveys of people who are the happiest? Really?

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Right, I get that. And it made me think. And then, I thought some more about the various kinds of freedom that I've experienced. And I kind of got the idea that the 2012 election is about different versions of freedom. So, it's all interesting.

      On the economic freedom note, I would put a business in at Vancouver WA, but not accross the bridge in Portland, OR. In Vancouver, you just do it and see what happens. A friend was in business for a year before he got permit. In Portland, you're lucky if you can afford the permits.

      My favorite surveys of people's feelings are about which countries people are the happiest. And what I don't get is why U.S. residents are not at the top.

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 5 years ago from Manhattan

      Well, the article is not about freedom of thought as much as it is about economic and social freedom.

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Kind of interesting measures. But what do individuals think and feel in those states. That is not measured. Southern California has always been the most free socially. Racists do not do well there. Berkeley, California, the most free intellectually. Closed-minded poeple should stay home. Yet, there's cities where it's still almost Jim Crow and towns where you got to think alike our you're going to have trouble.

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 5 years ago from Manhattan

      Thanks Curiad. Your comments are much appreciated.

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 5 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      This is an excellent article Brie, Very interesting and informative!

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 5 years ago from Manhattan

      Yes, the link to the study is under the title: See How Your State Ranks right after the article.

      It would seem like that is the truth unfortunately (regarding urban areas).

      Thanks for commenting.

    • profile image

      rickylicea 5 years ago

      Is this from a study done, I think by CATO, a while back?

      I notice a correlation. Less liberty the more urban a population is.