United States of the Environment: An Infographic

In the spirit of two popular infographics that map out the best and worst of all 50 U.S. states — the United States of Awesome and the United States of Shame — MNN decided to see how each state shines or suffers in regard to environmental and public health. Our "United States of the Environment" maps depict each state's No. 1 and No. 50 ranking for issues such as conservation, agriculture, energy efficiency, disease prevalence, pollution, natural resource availability and education, among others.

environmental and health superlatives by state
environmental and health superlatives by state

Click here to learn more about each state's superlatives

Sources for "good U.S." map:

  • Alabama: Lowest rate of alcohol abuse or dependence (U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
  • Alaska: Most wetlands (U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Arizona: Most solar power potential (USA Today, National Climatic Data Center)
  • Arkansas: Home of Buffalo River, first U.S. "National River" (National Park Service)
  • California: Most acres of organic farmland (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
  • Colorado: Lowest obesity rate (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Connecticut: Highest percentage of adults who had a teeth cleaning in the past year (CDC)
  • Delaware: Fewest bridges deemed "functionally obsolete" (StateMaster)
  • Florida: Most recreational fishing trips per year (National Marine Fisheries Service)
  • Georgia: Most industrial electricity generated from biomass (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
  • Hawaii: Lowest levels of ground-level ozone and smog (American Lung Association)
  • Idaho: Smallest per capita carbon footprint (Forbes)
  • Illinois: Most electricity generated by nuclear power (EIA)
  • Indiana: Burial place of Johnny Appleseed (Johnny Appleseed Festival)
  • Iowa: Largest inventory and sales of organic hogs and pigs (USDA)
  • Kansas: Most acres of wheat and sorghum grown for grain (USDA)
  • Kentucky: Home of Mammoth Cave, longest in U.S. and world (NPS)
  • Louisiana: Home of Mississippi River Delta, largest river delta in U.S. (Water Encyclopedia)
  • Maine: Most plots of organic mixed vegetables less than 5 acres each (USDA)
  • Maryland: Most academic research funding per $1,000 of gross domestic product (National Science Foundation)
  • Massachusetts: Highest percentage of students testing above "advanced" level in 4th-grade science (StateMaster)
  • Michigan: Best access to freshwater (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
  • Minnesota: Highest rate of physical exercise (America's Health Rankings)
  • Mississippi: Highest percentage of farms with a Black or African-American principal operator (USDA, USDA)
  • Missouri: Most Ozarks (NASA)
  • Montana: Most acres of organic lentils and dry beans (USDA)
  • Nebraska: Highest number of total organic livestock (USDA)
  • Nevada: Fewest Superfund sites (GoodGuide Scorecard)
  • New Hampshire: Fewest hazardous-liquid pipeline accidents per capita (StateMaster)
  • New Jersey: Most commuter rail as a percent of total public transit (StateMaster)
  • New Mexico: Home of Spaceport America, "world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport" (Spaceport America, Space.com)
  • New York: Lowest total energy used per capita (EIA)
  • North Carolina: Highest number of organic Christmas tree farms (USDA)
  • North Dakota: Fewest federally listed endangered species (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
  • Ohio: Highest percentage of students testing above "advanced" level in 8th-grade science (StateMaster)
  • Oklahoma: Most alternative-fuel vehicles per capita (StateMaster)
  • Oregon: Most LEED-certified buildings (Forbes)
  • Pennsylvania: Most square footage and sales of organic mushrooms (USDA)
  • Rhode Island: Lowest sulfur dioxide emissions (GoodGuide Scorecard)
  • South Carolina: Most nuclear energy consumed per capita (StateMaster)
  • South Dakota: Largest protected mixed-grass prairie (NPS, About.com)
  • Tennessee: Most caves (Forbidden Caverns)
  • Texas: Most installed wind power capacity (U.S. Department of Energy)
  • Utah: Highest overall rate of breastfeeding, 2010 (CDC)
  • Vermont: Lowest carbon dioxide emissions (EPA)
  • Virginia: Lowest overall asthma rate (StateMaster)
  • Washington: Highest number of organic apples grown (USDA)
  • West Virginia: Highest-paid coal miners (StateMaster)
  • Wisconsin: Most acres of organic cut flowers (USDA)
  • Wyoming: Lowest public health risk from air pollution (GoodGuide Scorecard)

Sources for "bad U.S." map: