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South Dakota Ranked Top-5 in “Freedom in the 50 States”

December 1, 2021

PIERRE, S.D. – Today, the CATO Institute announced that South Dakota is now ranked in the top-five states in their “Freedom in the 50 States” index. The index ranks South Dakota as the most-improved state in the nation when comparing 2018 to 2019, Governor Noem’s first year in office. The most recent edition, published in 2018, ranked South Dakota eighth. Governor Noem issued the following statement celebrating South Dakota’s success:


“South Dakota has freedom in abundance. In the few short years since I took office as governor, we’ve already propelled South Dakota from a top-10 freest state status to a top-five status. I believe that we respect freedom more than any state in America, but this ranking indicates that we have more work to do. I look forward to working with the legislature to advance policies that protect freedom, cut red tape, and promote continual growth for our state.”


The rankings are based on state laws as of January 1, 2020 and state budgets through FY 2020. Of note, this ranking did not take COVID-19 response into account. In the early months of the pandemic, Governor Noem was the only governor in America to never order a single business or church to close.


You can read the full report here.


You can read the full report here.