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How Does Your State Rank?

Andy RooneyThis column is sort of a cheat because I have a book called "State Rankings 2009" that you probably don't have. I get to do an easy column once in a while, and this book has some fascinating numbers.

The average number of cars stolen in the United States last year, out of every 100,000 people, was 363. That's low but, even so, it seems high to me. The fewest cars were stolen in South Dakota. Maybe that's because there aren't many places to go in South Dakota.

We've owned two cars for 50 years and have never had one stolen. Sometimes I don't even remember to take the keys out. My kids have occasionally taken one when I wasn't looking.

In Delaware, the most number of children who go to some kind of a private school is 17 percent. The least number of kids go to private school in Wyoming -- about 2 percent. I don't know why that is. Maybe there aren't as many private schools in Wyoming.

Average college faculty salary: Highest, Massachusetts, $85,179. Second, Connecticut, $83,336. Lowest average faculty salaries: North Dakota, $50,399. I thought I made a lot of money until I started looking at faculty salaries.

Cost at private colleges: Highest average, Massachusetts, at $39,500. Lowest, Utah, at $11,415. It would be interesting to know if a Massachusetts education is that much better.

Public school teachers earn the most in California, New York and Connecticut, and the teachers who earn the least are in North and South Dakota.

Texas, California and New York have the most teachers. Alaska, North Dakota and Wyoming have the fewest.

The book says that 12 percent of our population is defined as "poor." The most number of poor people, by a lot, live in Mississippi. Next come Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico. The least number of poor live in New Hampshire. I wonder if I'd feel richer if I lived in New Hampshire.

The most number of highly paid people live in California. New York is second, and Texas, third. Vermont and North Dakota are ranked the lowest in personal income. Of course, a lot of people would rather be poor in Vermont or North Dakota than rich in California.

In Alaska, 69 percent of the land is owned by our government. The government owns the most land, 84 percent, in Nevada, and 53 percent of Oregon -- which was a big surprise to me. I was surprised it owns a lot more in Nevada even than in Alaska. Utah comes in third. The government owns almost half of the land in California. It owns very little of Connecticut and Rhode Island. I like that because I live in Connecticut.

The most robberies two years ago were in Nevada, Maryland and Florida. Both Delaware and California were right up there, too. Vermont and North Dakota had the fewest.

California, Texas and New York lead in a number of things, such as most taxes paid, for instance.

The first four states listed under "energy expenditures" are Texas, California. New York and Florida. That's interesting because it means Americans spend more cooling their homes than heating them. New York is the only outsider, but, of course, New York is both hot and cold.

I was surprised at the list under new cases of cancer. The first five states were Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. New York was 20th on the list. Colorado, Georgia and Utah came in last. Of course, it might mean that fewer people saw doctors who diagnosed cancer in those three states.

Drivers used the most gas in Wyoming. I suppose this means more people drive in Wyoming and they drive further. Or should that be "farther"?

The minimum hourly wage was highest in Washington, Oregon, Vermont, California and Connecticut. It was lowest in Kansas by a lot, although they didn't have figures for Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, or Tennessee.

I worked for a very minimum wage one summer during college at a paper mill in Hudson Falls, N.Y. I not only got paid the minimum wage, I was damn glad to get it.

(Write to Andy Rooney at Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207, or via email at aarooney5@yahoo.com)

(c) 2009 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

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