Lifestyle

All 50 States Ranked As Independent Nations

It’s probably a good thing that the United States is, well, united. Though the average size of a US state (78,000 square miles) is larger than a huge chunk of European countries, the individual pearls of our union might not fare so well out on their own. Just look at the former U.S.S.R.

But what if they were? Which states would prosper and which would stumble without the others lifting them up?

Our Method

To find out who would fare the best, we created as robust a rubric as we could, taking into account GDP, GDP per capita, location, likeability, food production, human development index, and history of independence. After assigning a weight to each of these criteria, we took each state’s raw score. One overachieving kid in the class broke the curve, so we re-curved the A+ based on the second best.

So, where is your state on this list?

50. Mississippi 

Independence Grade: F 
It might be America's most religious state, but it ranks last in health, education, and income. Clearly, ole Miss is in bad shape already, and its solo career would be worse than Art Garfunkel's. But from the Confederate iconography in their flag, they might be fool enough to try it.

49. Alabama

Independence Grade: F
Despite having one of the longest waterways in America, they can't seem to figure out how to use it for an economic advantage. The South probably won't rise again.

48. Kentucky

Independence Grade: F
Who wants to see how long a state can survive on Bourbon and chicken?
 

47. Oklahoma 

Independence Grade: F
Located in the heart of tornado alley, Oklahoma's location is its downfall. That and a stale economy.

46. Idaho

Independence Grade: D
Potatoes? America just isn't that into carbs as we once were.

45. Arkansas 

Independence Grade: D
Despite giving birth to the unequivocally most awesome President in U.S. history, Arkansas' rough location and low GDP per person is a rough reality.

44. West Virginia

Independence Grade: D
What happens when they run out of trees to log or coal to mine? Or when coal becomes a total faux-pas?

43. Missouri 

Independence Grade: D
Low likability, probably due to all those damn puppy mills. And some serious civil unrest. There's only so much an ice-cold Bud Light can do. 

42. Montana 

Independence Grade: D
It may be a beautiful state, but those low living wages aren't too promising. Still would be cool to live in a country that looks like a dude's face.

41. Tennessee

Independence Grade: D
At least Tennessee has a huge network of caves that we can all hide in when the other states inevitably invade.

40. New Mexico 

Independence Grade: D
You can't run a country if you're busy dealing with meth-addicted extraterrestrials.

39. Louisiana 

Independence Grade: C-
Crawfish, beignets, and Gumbo don't last too long as an export and you can only make so many seasons of True Detective.

38. Michigan 

Independence Grade: C-
They needed trillions of dollars of federal bail-out money, so they might be a little lost without the other 49.

37. Arizona

Independence Grade: C-
Who's going to fight an army comprised of peoples' grandparents?

36. Indiana 

Independence Grade: C-
There's corn. Millions and millions of corn bushels.

35. Nevada

Independence Grade: C-
They've got Vegas...and not much else. By all intents and purposes, Nevada is one unihabitable desert. Viva Las Vegas!

34. Ohio

Independence Grade: C-
This was surprising, you'd think Ohio could handle itself without the "Federal Government."

33. South Carolina 

Independence Grade: C-
Palmettos and poverty. 

32. Utah

Independence Grade: C-
Exporting salt isn't going to pay for those black suits.

31. North Dakota

Independence Grade: C-
The only state colder than North Dakota is Alaska and Alaska is basically Russia. ND's low GDP and underwhelming location doesn't bode well.

30. Wyoming

Independence Grade: C-
Here's the debate—they've got the land mass, but Wyoming has the lowest population at just over 500,000. Tourism board might let it survive though.

29. Georgia

Independence Grade: C
You can't build a sustainable economy on delicious peaches and pleasant accents, y'all. How did these guys do last time they went rogue? Exactly. 

28. Florida

Independence Grade: C
Ah yes, America's penis. With a workforce of mainly retirees, the nations elephant graveyard/black sheep might have some growing pains on its own.

27. South Dakota 

Independence Grade: C
This state's one saving grace is Mt. Rushmore...which, uh, wasn't finished due to low funding. Ha.

26. Kansas

Independence Grade: C
This landlocked and tornado-friendly prairie state would make it undesirable to conquerors, but also to inhabitants.

25. Nebraska

Independence Rank: C+
Nebraska leads the nation in underground water supplies, but that's probably because it was once known as the "The Great American Desert."

24. Maine

Independence Grade: C+
17 million acres of forest gives Maine a leg up on natural supplies...but also moose attacks.

23. Iowa 

Independence Grade: C+
This former part of Louisiana makes a ton of its food, but is devastatingly landlocked.

22. Wisconsin 

Independence: B-
Are you more or less inclined to support a nation that can whip up the best ice cream sundae on earth? And those cheddar exports will bring in that cheddar.

21. Illinois 

Independence Grade: B-
As the first state to officially abolish slavery, we know Illinois has their mind in the right place. Coupled with a prime location next to Lake Michigan, it'd probably be fine.

20. Hawaii

Independence Grade: B
Hawaii has its remote location from the rest of the contiguous states on its side and an army comprised completely of volcanoes.

19. Oregon

Independence Grade: B
You think you'd finally be allowed to pump your own gas if Oregon declared its independence?

18. North Carolina

Independence Grade: B
NC is the nation's leader in tobacco and textile production, making them a very profitable independent country that could flourish so long as they didn't dip too much into their tobacco reserves.

17. Rhode Island 

Independence Grade: B
Despite being the smallest state in the country, Rhode Island has a killer seaside location for launching ships and/or catching rays.

16. Alaska

Independence Grade: B
Alaska has it all: land mass, location, and an average temperature akin to a warm night in Russia. Not to mention a ton of oil.

15. Colorado

Independence Grade: B
They've got the Air Force academy tucked in Colorado Springs and the Rocky Mountains to thwart incoming invaders. Boulder would become America's Amsterdam, except the bikes would be carbon and you would be a mile higher.

14. Minnesota

Independence Grade: B
Did you know the 4.2 million square foot Mall of America can fit 32 Boeing 747s? If it was filled to capacity, it would be Minnesota's third largest city. They've got the mall game on lock down. If they upped their sales tax game, they'd rake it in. 

13. New Hampshire

Independence Grade: B
FACT: New Hampshire was the first colony to declare its independence from the Crown, making it a trailblazer in freedom. With a motto "Live Free Or Die," they might take things a bit too far.

12. Pennsylvania 

Independence Grade: B
Pittsburgh is home to eight Fortune 500 companies and brings in over $600 billion annually, WTF does your state do?

11. Virginia

Independence Grade: B+
More presidents have been born in Virginia than any other state in the nation, this place breeds freedom.

10. Maryland

Independence Grade: B+
As the birthplace of religious freedom and one of the highest household earnings in the country, we've got some well-funded independent thinkers.

9. Delaware

Independence Grade: B+
First state? Who the hell cares—the high population coupled with a high GDP percentage, they've got the brains and the manpower.

8. Washington

Independence Grade: A-
With over 52 percent of the state covered by forest, Washington has nature on its side as well as a prime Pacific Coast location. Also, weed.

7. Vermont

Independence Grade: A-
Vermont may seem out of place so high on the list, considering residents are typically swamped smokin' weed and eating ice cream, but they produce a serious amount of hydro-electric power and crush the whole agriculture game. They also enjoyed 13 years of independence and have a movement in progress trying to bring it back.

6. Texas

Independence Grade: A-
Honestly, everything's just bigger. Plus, they had some experience being on their own before. 

5. New Jersey

Independence Grade: A
Despite a severe likability rating, Jersey has the capital, strong shipping, and manufacturing industry to keep a country going. Bruce Springsteen would look great on their coins.

4. Connecticut

Independence Grade: A
Connecticut has the money, the resources, an aerospace & defense company, and every resident looks like they were the bad guy in The Karate Kid. Plus—if they were independent—they would have untraceable banks like Switzerland, making it a haven for dirty money.

3. Massachusetts

Independence Grade: A+
Solid public education and government, Taxachussetts has some serious Euro-vibes. They'll be fine on their own, and they have a history of demanding independence.

2. New York

Independence Grade: A+
It's not going out on a limb to comment on New York's ability to come out on top at all times...not counting that brief period in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. The money's there, the jobs are there, and they have the port and the rest of the state to run to if Manhattan goes under water.

1. California 

Independence Grade: A+++
I mean, who's surprised here? California's got those stats on their side: GDP, location, food production, and they're "hella" likable. Plus, they were never part of the evil British empire to begin with. 


Ethan Wolff-Mann and Jeremy Glass are editors at Supercompressor and have put in a request to be buried together, just like that guy who was buried with his horse.