In a perfect world, we wouldn't have to worry about corruption. We could rest assured that our local, state, and federal governments look out for their citizens' best interests. Unfortunately, many nations worldwide deal with corruption – including the United States. According to the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), the United States is the 25th-least corrupt country. Although the United States may not be as corrupt as many other nations globally, there have been some notable scandals and evidence of corruption throughout the years. In some states, this is more prevalent than others.
Determining Corruption by State
Measuring how corrupt a state is can be difficult, and it's not a perfect science. However, Best Life collected several data points to determine which states were the most and least corrupt. Best Life looks at the following information to create their list: number of public corruption convictions per 10,000 residents, number of reported violations by medical providers between 1990-2020 (both adverse action reports and medical malpractice payment reports), states With Anti-Corruption Measures for Public Officials (S.W.A.M.P. Index), and State Integrity Score. Each metric was given a weighted value and was given a Corruption Index Score, where 100 is the most corrupt score a state can receive, and 0 is the least.
Most Corrupt U.S. States
Based on Best Life's analysis, the ten most corrupt states in the U.S., in order, are: Vermont, Utah, Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Washington. Vermont is the most corrupt U.S. state. While this might come as a surprise, as Vermont is considered one of the [safest states](/state-rankings/safest-states with low crime rates, the data shows that Vermont has a relatively low integrity score and a significant number of corruption convictions per capita at 42 per 10,000 residents. On the other hand, the least corrupt state is Kentucky, with a Corruption Index Score of just 0.02. Following Kentucky are Illinois, South Dakota, and Alaska.