South Dakota is Among Top-3 Freest States in America

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.


51 thoughts on “South Dakota is Among Top-3 Freest States in America”

  1. I love it when they give out COVID report cards without hospitalization and death statistics. You know… why would that matter?

    I never favored shutting everything down. But encouraging large gatherings during the height of the pandemic was extremely foolish. The Cato Institute would know that if they objectively measured our “stellar” performance.

      1. Of course. Many of them were just old folks anyway.

        I just checked US News for COVID-19 death rates by state. South Dakota still has a higher rate than every one of the six states that surround us. But, as you can see, that isn’t important.

        1. I have never trusted the Covid statistics.
          For example, my husband was suddenly very sick, required hospitalization, but since his symptoms weren’t respiratory, he wasnt test for covid. Three months later he tested positive for antibodies.
          I had respiratory symptoms but my PCR was negative. Three months later, I had antibodies..
          Without testing for both antigens and subsequent antibodies, it’s impossible to really know how widespread Covid was, how many people were asymptomatic, or they just didn’t get tested, or who had false negative PCR tests.
          Without knowing how many people were actually infected, it is impossible to calculate the hospitalization or death rates.

          So they calculated the deaths per 100,000 population. Again this ran into problems; people died with covid, not because of it. If people who already had Do Not Resuscitate orders succumbed to covid, was it because of Covid or was it because they received only comfort care??

          But here are the death rates per 100,000:
          SD 71.2
          MN 64.1
          ND 70.9
          NE 69
          WY 143.4

          1. Anne. I thought I recognized those numbers. I believe those are CDC statistics for the year 2021 only.

    1. i thought the covid fatality rate was .05, not .07 pct., compared to .025 fatality rate for influenza. elK is not wrong, keep on keeping on.

        1. i am a right of center republican. we exist. you’re really going to find this out very soon.

            1. The party is trash, and it’s because of people like you. You might as well vote for Biden — in fact you probably will.

              1. heyyyy this makes you a RINO, not me. politically i’m whatever liz cheney is and proud of it. her book about jan6 is out in two weeks and i am preordered.

                  1. trump’s effort to disenfranchise every democrat he could do it to, was ugly and breathtakingly evil. if you condone that so you can keep getting gas at 60 cents a gallon you’re evil as he is. get him out of this party right now. he’s hilary clinton’s twin.

  2. So did God do it or did you do it? Or did veterans do it? Also funny how we’re ranked really low in personal freedoms.

  3. We are down to the middle of the list for “overall personal freedom”, which is what most people (excluding the corporation “people”) care about. If you want government out of your life, there are over 20 states with more freedom.

    1. anonymous at 3:29, yes the other states, and you are free to leave!
      We’ll even help you pack!

  4. What will the ranking fall to when a legislator is required to accompany patients during office visits and have the authority to give final approval to a treatment or procedure? It seems they are heading to that with each session.

    South Dakota Where Freedom is Under Control.

    1. SD indexes dropped during her administration.
      Gains from 2000-2018 offset her backsliding 2018-now

    2. Don’t get too excited, this is the Koch Bro’s founded and funded CATO think tank. Most of the criteria relates to “corporate” freedom (build what you want where you want, dump what you want where you want, no paying taxes, being able to change a name on paper to avoid delinquencies, etc.). Would be way cooler if these freedoms applied to actual people, not corporation people.

  5. “The vision of the Cato Institute is to create free, open, and civil societies founded on libertarian principles”….the quote from their webpage. Please note “Libertarian.” Have you switched parties?

  6. God I hope trump picks noem for his vp. there is nothing i would like more than to see her political career destroyed. Everything trump touches turns to crap. The national media will tear her from limb to limb. Cory and Andrew will have to find some new adultress to cheat on their wives with, but that shouldn,t be hard in trumpworld. Do you think she knows trump threw his last vp to the wolves on 1/6/21?

    1. Our household and others we know will be praying that “America’s Governor” South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem will be named Donald J. Trump’s Vice Presidential pick. If picked the price of popcorn will skyrocket so invest in corn futures and stock up on popcorn, beverages, and get ready to host and attend parties. Farmers will benefit. Discussions at the Trump/Noem 2024 Campaign watch parties could include The Theory of Karma.

      1. Theory of Karma? Do you mean samsara? I know ignorance is a requirement for membership in trumpworld but you should read an actual book once in a while. You know, one of those things MAGAts are always wanting to burn. Your wet dream team will never happen unfortunately because “America”s Adultress” brings nothing to the ticket. Blind faith in America’s gangster ex-prez is not political capital. Just ask Thune and Rounds, that’s why they supported Tim Scott. A black man who had zero chance of getting the republican nomination and Thune and Rounds knew it. It was meant as a politcal insult to trump without actually insulting the base but I guess some people in your 20 to Life watch party can explain that to you.

          1. Yeah, you know as in a 20 year to life sentence to prison for sedition, contempt of court, incitement to riot, etc. I don’t have enough space to list all 91 felony indictments but you get the picture. Will make for great tv watch parties. I prefer nachos to popcorn though.

    2. I see why you don’t have the guts to use anything but “anonymous” when you make such statements.

      1. Yeah right. like your real name is Uriah Heep. I did like “your” music back in the day though.

  7. Freedom for whom, and freest what? Does freedom put food into the stomach of a starving child? Does less government involvement result in a warmer blanket or winter coat at the Bishop Dudley House? Does being third in the nation for freest state provide addiction counseling to help a mom kick her meth or marijuana addiction? Can we really pat ourselves on the back for being almost the freest state when the nursing home closes and the residents have to relocate 40, 50, 60 miles further away from family? So again, freedom for whom?

    1. Freedom is for you to do something about the things you whine about. It is not Kristi Noem’s job to hold your hand and do it for you. If you have time to whine and cry about it, you have time to do something about it.

      1. UHeep, you are absolutely right. It is not for Governor Noem, or the State of South Dakota to fund nursing homes. It is not for Governor Noem, or the State of South Dakota to provide food assistance to children. It is not for Governor Noem, or the State of South Dakota to provide community-based addiction service counseling in lieu of sending felons to prison. It is not for Governor Noem, or the State of South Dakota to provide funding, supplies, and assistance for community health nurses that provide child immunizations for diseases such as polio, TB, whooping cough, etc. The less nursing homes, healthy children, and more drug-addled people we have….the more free we will all be! Thanks for the great perspective UHeep!

  8. Its for all of the hotshot Californians building vacation homes in the Hills, for types like Weible that move here to sow discord and conspiracy theories, and for those poor Hillsdale College graduates that keep rotating out of her office duh!

  9. Unless, of course, you’re talking about the freedom to make one’s own medical decisions. No room for freedom in those circumstances in good ‘ol SD!

  10. “Our Freedom is a gift from God that no government can take away,” said Governor Kristi Noem.

    Hmm. What is wrong with that sentence?

  11. Wow …the dakota septic tank was opened up with this thread. Cory the shorty must be very proud of his little minions.

  12. It feels like daugaard was a lifetime ago. Sandwiched between Rounds and Noem.

    She’s already one of the top 5 govs in SD history. Her tenure was consequential.

    The Rushmore of SD Governors: Norbeck, Foss, Janklow and Noem. Runners up Kneip and George S. Mickelson. Mickelson is like SD’s JFK. Some of his legacy is built upon the promise of what if.

    1. Not according to Senate leader Lee Schoenbeck who said she was the worst governor in 50 years. If Sen. Lee was another 70 years older then he could say the worst governor in SD history ever.

  13. Frankly, I don’t understand the unbridled appreciation for the work of Governor Noem. She is popular for doing nothing. She announces “big deal” initiatives, launches big public relations and publicity campaigns, then lets them drop off the table when the Legislature or press begins to raise questions. She makes public health nurses, college professors, high school teachers, and other formerly respected public servants the enemy through unfounded generality and spurious charges, and claims credit for slaying dragons that don’t exist. It seems to me, all smoke and mirrors.

    1. She just flashes her big browns at all the horny old MAGAts glued to the FOX agit/prop service and that’s all it takes.

        1. No, but I lived there once for a couple years. Beautiful little town . Especially when the sun shines just right off the old town buildings.

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