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America's Top 10 States for Business in 2016

Leading the league among states

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The competition is intense. All 50 states want to attract business and jobs. Businesses are looking for states that will let them grow, thrive and attract the best workforce. What does it take to be a Top State? To find out, we score every state on more than 60 metrics in 10 categories for a total of 2,500 possible points. You can learn about our methodology and see how your state stacks up here. These are the 10 states that come out on top.

Full coverage of Top States 2016

10. Florida

Beachfront homes are seen in the view from the penthouse of the Regalia luxury condominium in Miami Beach, Florida.
Christina Mendenhall | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Sunshine State truly does shine for business, especially when its economy is doing well, which it is now. Growth is strong, state finances are sound, and the housing market — always important here — is healthy. But high crime and a lack of inclusiveness hurt the state's quality of life, and costs are high.

Overall score: 1,469 out of 2,500 points
Best category: Economy (No. 4)
Worst category: Cost of Living (No. 28)
2015 rank: No. 16

9. Iowa

Aerial view of Des Moines River.
Thinkstock | Getty Images

The Hawkeye State offers low costs, including the nation's lowest office rent and low utility costs. You'll enjoy a pleasant, heartland quality of life. In many ways, Iowa is a well-kept secret. Maybe a little too well kept, because business capital tends to consider this flyover country.

Overall score: 1,484 out of 2,500 points
Best category: Infrastructure (No. 4)
Worst category: Quality of Life (No. 37)
2015 rank: No. 5

8. Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia.
Jeremy Woodhouse | Getty Images

The infrastructure is peachy, with some of the best-kept roads in the nation. And the workforce in the Peach State is the cream of the crop. But poor health and a lack of inclusiveness hurt the state for Quality of Life. Nonetheless, almost any way you slice it, Georgia is a contender.

Overall score: 1,484 out of 2.500 points
Best category: Infrastructure (No. 4)
Worst category: Quality of Life (No. 37)
2015 rank: No. 5

7. Michigan

Ford Motor Co. 2015 Mustangs move along the production line at the company's Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Flat Rock, Michigan.
Jeff Kowalsky | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Wolverine State is America's most improved state this year. After years of painful fits and starts, Michigan might finally be on the comeback trail. The economy is doing well, and the resurgent auto industry is a magnet for innovation and capital. But crime and pollution hurt quality of life.

Overall score: 1,490 out of 2,500 points
Best category: Access to Capital (No .4)
Worst category: Quality of Life (No. 32)
2015 rank: No. 8

6. Washington

View of Amazon's former headquarters in Seattle.
Kevin P. Casey | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Evergreen State stands tall year after year. The home of Amazon and Microsoft is tops for technology and innovation. But the state falls short on infrastructure, housing some of the worst roads in the nation.

Overall score: 1,507 out of 2,500 points
Best category: Technology & Innovation
Worst category: Infrastructure
2015 rank: No. 8

5. North Carolina

Protestors depart from the North Carolina state legislative building as they voice their concerns over House Bill 2, in Raleigh, N.C.
Al Drago | QC Roll Call | Getty Images

The Tar Heel State is mired in controversy over its state law regulating transgender people's access to public bathrooms and blocking local antidiscrimination protections. Many business leaders say the state is shooting itself in the foot, considering its many advantages, including a heritage of innovation and ready access to capital.

Overall score: 1,522 out of 2,500 points
Best category: Access to Capital (No. 2)
Worst category: Infrastructure (No. 30) and Quality of Life (No. 30)
2015 rank: No. 9

4. Minnesota

An early morning jog around Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota.
John Elk | Getty Images

Last year's Top State slips a bit this year because of rising costs. The North Star State has positioned itself as a high-value state, with the idea that people and businesses will be willing to pay a little more if they know they are getting their money's worth. This year's rankings show that the strategy has its limits.

Overall score: 1,550 out of 2,500 points
Best category: Quality of Life (No. 2) and Education (No. 2)
Worst category: Cost of Doing Business (No. 35)
2015 rank: No. 1

3. Colorado

Royal Gorge Bridge, the world's highest suspension bridge, Canon City, Colorado.
Visions of America | Getty Images

The Centennial State excels for its workforce — the best in the nation, according to our study. Colorado workers are educated and productive. That's a lure for businesses that are looking to fill skilled positions. But those workers command high wages, and that hurts the state on business costs.

Overall score: 1,555 out of 2,500 points
Best category: Workforce (No. 1)
Worst category: Cost of Doing Business (No. 37)
2015 rank: No. 4

2. Texas

Cowboys and cowgirl at sunrise, Weatherford, Texas.
Erik Pronske Photography | Getty Images

The Lone Star State has never finished below second place in the 10 years we have been ranking the states, and it took top honors in 2008, 2010 and 2012. There are good reasons why Texas always does so well: a large, diverse economy and an extensive, well-maintained infrastructure. But the state falls woefully short on education. And the lack of inclusiveness — and health insurance — hurt the state for quality of life.

Overall score: 1,564 out of 2,500 points
Best category: Economy (No. 1)
Worst category: Education (No. 40)
2015 rank: No. 2

1. Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah.
Scott Markewitz | Getty Images

The Beehive State pulls off a first in our 10 years ranking the states. Utah finishes in the top half of each of our 10 categories of competitiveness, making it a true all-around winner. With the third-strongest economy and a top 10 ranking for Business Friendliness, Utah is attracting businesses far and wide. It falls short — though still in the top half — for Access to Capital.

Overall score: 1,598 out of 2,500 points
Best category: Economy (No. 3)
Worst category: Access to Capital (No. 24)
2015 rank: No. 3