Political Scientists at the University at Buffalo and Texas State University have declared New York the state with the least individual freedom in America.
Jason Sorens, Fait Muedini and William P. Ruger published their findings in "Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom" through Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
Their research named New Hampshire, Colorado and South Dakota the states with the most individual freedom in the country, combining scores for personal and economic freedom. The top states had low taxes and government spending along with moderate levels of regulation and "paternalism."
Alaska was named the state with the most personal freedom.
After New York, the least free states were found to be New Jersey, Rhode Island, California and Maryland.
States were evaluated against the following criteria, according to the researchers' data:
Most Personal Freedom: "decriminalizing marijuana, having fewer gun controls, having fewer regulations on home and private schools, permitting same-sex civil unions, abolishing "blue laws" on alcohol sales and having less restrictive rules on smoking on private property," etc.
Most Economic Freedom: "low taxes and government spending as a percentage of the economy, low prevalence of occupational licensing, strict rules preventing eminent domain abuse and few regulations on health insurance and labor contracts," etc.
---Samantha Maziarz Christmann