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Study finds Indiana among the nation’s most dependent states

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(The Center Square) – A new report finds that when it comes to being “independent,” Indiana has a lot of work to do.

WalletHub released a study earlier this week to determine the most independent state, basing that on 39 data points that evaluated residents’ financial, government and vices dependencies as well as each state’s dependencies on the job market and international trade. The Hoosier State finished 43rd in the report.

Indiana ranked in the bottom 10 in eight metrics. However, some came in categories where a low ranking can be considered a positive. For example, Indiana finished 44th, or highest, with 6.83% of the state’s private-sector employees working at foreign-owned companies. It also ranked 43rd among the states, with 12.8% of the state’s GDP generated by exports, and Indiana came in 42nd with 5.23% of its jobs supported by exports.

The state earned bottom 10 rankings in median debt per income, at 60.71%, Indiana came in 44th nationally, its foreclosure rate (42nd) and bankruptcy rate (45th).

Douglas Noonan, the faculty director for the Indiana University Center for Cultural Affairs, said increasing savings is key to financial independence. He added that does not have to come strictly by making more money.

“Keep in mind changes that can reduce (or keep stable) your expenses, because lower expenses are part of financial independence,” said Noonan, who is also a professor at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. “Sometimes, this can also involve taking the long view by investing your time and energy to persevere along an educational or career path that yields a more (financially) comfortable life decades later.”

Indiana also ranked 42nd in the percentage of adult smokers (17.6%) and retail opioid prescriptions (56.9 per 100).

The state earned its highest marks for having just 11% of its workforce employed by local, state or federal governments, the third-lowest nationally, and having just 1.2% of adults experiencing a gambling disorder, the fifth-lowest rate. Its job creation index (ninth) and SNAP participation (sixth) scores were among the top 10 in those categories.

None of Indiana’s neighbors fared well in the study. Ohio and Illinois came in 36th and 37th, while Michigan was ranked 40th. Kentucky finished 48th, ahead of only Mississippi and Louisiana.

According to WalletHub, Utah is the most independent state in the country, followed by Colorado, Florida, Washington and Virginia.

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