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Most Corrupt States 2021

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 out of

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)
  • 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. are:

  1. Vermont
  2. Utah
  3. Arizona
  4. Oregon
  5. Colorado
  6. Idaho
  7. Iowa
  8. Minnesota
  9. Nebraska
  10. 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.

Here are the 10 states with the most corruption convictions per capita:

  1. Wyoming (84.33 per 10k)
  2. Vermont (80.22 per 10k)
  3. Alaska (51.08 per 10k)
  4. North Dakota (49.35 per 10k)
  5. Delaware (46.45 per 10k)
  6. Rhode Island (41.45 per 10k)
  7. South Dakota (37.92 per 10k)
  8. New Hampshire (34.98 per 10k)
  9. Montana (33.18 per 10k)
  10. Maine (29.53 per 10k)

Most Corrupt States 2021

State Convictions Per Capita 2021 Pop.
Wyoming84.33581,075
Vermont80.22623,251
Alaska51.08724,357
North Dakota49.35770,026
Delaware46.45990,334
Rhode Island41.451,061,509
South Dakota37.92896,581
New Hampshire34.981,372,203
Montana33.181,085,004
Maine29.531,354,522
Hawaii27.731,406,430
Idaho25.271,860,123
Nebraska23.051,951,996
New Mexico16.632,105,005
West Virginia15.271,767,859
Utah12.993,310,774
Nevada12.873,185,786
Kansas10.972,917,224
Iowa10.423,167,974
Oregon9.794,289,439
Arkansas9.233,033,946
Connecticut7.323,552,821
Mississippi5.732,966,407
Colorado5.265,893,634
Minnesota5.265,706,398
Oklahoma5.013,990,443
South Carolina4.365,277,830
Wisconsin4.275,852,490
Washington3.727,796,941
Kentucky3.354,480,713
Indiana3.236,805,663
Arizona3.197,520,103
Maryland3.136,065,436
Missouri2.926,169,038
Alabama2.634,934,193
Massachusetts2.316,912,239
North Carolina1.9610,701,022
Louisiana1.954,627,002
Tennessee1.586,944,260
Michigan1.409,992,427
Virginia1.168,603,985
Georgia1.1110,830,007
New Jersey0.908,874,520
Ohio0.6011,714,618
Pennsylvania0.3912,804,123
Illinois0.2412,569,321
Texas0.2029,730,311
Florida0.1821,944,577
New York0.0519,299,981
California0.0539,613,493

Most Corrupt States 2021