The 10 States With the Most Freedom in the US

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7. Idaho

Idaho is one of the most economically and socially conservative states in the country. As a result, it is perhaps unsurprising that it enjoys one of the very highest levels of economic freedom and one of the very lowest levels of personal freedom. Nevertheless, the state continues to enjoy substantial inmigration, primarily from the less-free West Coast. Idaho does well across the board on regulatory policy. It is one of the best states for occupational freedom, despite beginning to license more occupations in 2011. It is one of the very best states for insurance freedom. There is no hospital certificate-of-need requirement, and direct auto sales were legalized in 2013–14.

Idaho is the worst state outside the Deep South on criminal justice policy. Crime-adjusted incarceration rates are nearly two standard deviations above the national average and have been increasing over time. Victimless crime arrests are about average, showing that the state’s real problem is sentencing. It is also much less freer than average for alcohol, cannabis, and gambling. The only personal freedom on which it is much freer than average is tobacco: cigarette taxes are not high, and there is not a smoking ban for bars. Gun rights are better than average, but the state does have a weak law on self-defense in public and a stricter-than-federal minimum age to possess firearms.