South Dakota is Among Top-3 Freest States in America

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November 16, 2023

Contact: Amelia Joy


South Dakota is Among Top-3 Freest States in America


PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota is among the top-three Freest states in the nation, according to the Cato Institute’s Freedom in the 50 States project.


“Our Freedom is a gift from God that no government can take away,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “I believe that South Dakota is the Freest state in America, but we thank the Cato Institute for recognizing the work we’ve done to advance Freedom. And I am proud that our kids and grandkids will inherit a state that respects their rights and liberties.”


South Dakota is ranked third in the nation for both overall Freedom and economic Freedom.


This index is based on state laws and other variables from January 2020 to January 2023. This report also evaluates state COVID-19 responses and how they affected Freedom both during and after the pandemic. South Dakota did not shut down during the pandemic. Governor Noem was the only governor in America to never order a single business or church to close.


The Cato Institute’s report reads, “Considering its consistently stellar across-the-board economic performance, it is little wonder that South Dakota remains one of the top-five freest states. South Dakota’s fiscal policy is excellent. The state has one of the lowest tax burdens in the country.”


South Dakota’s ranking has gone up consistently since Governor Noem has been in office. The state was ranked 8th in 2016 and 5th in 2019.