A new report from Dean Stansel of Southern Methodist University (who also co-authors the Fraser Institute’s annual economic freedom of North America report) drills down to the urban level and has produced a new ranking of metropolitan areas’ economic freedom for the Reason Foundation.
Economic freedom is the presumption that largely unregulated system leaves individuals maximally free to pursue their own plans, spurring entrepreneurial activity and innovation. Low taxes, reasonable regulations, and freedom of contract are among the hallmarks of economic freedom.
Not surprisingly to anyone who follows New Mexico politics (and is aware of New Mexico’s relatively poor rankings on economic freedom especially relative to its neighbors), the New Mexico metro areas included in the report perform poorly. Santa Fe surprisingly comes in highest overall (within New Mexico) at 232 out of 382 metro areas ranked. Albuquerque ranks 291, Las Cruces comes in at an even more dismal 344 ranking, and Farmington ranks 368.
Sadly, but unsurprisingly, when you actually look through the data, it is clear that metro areas in New Mexico’s neighboring states (like the states themselves) are much more economically-free than New Mexico’s. It is an interesting report and worth careful study.
You can see for yourself where economic freedom flourishes and where it doesn’t on the map below.