Dec 21, 2021 - COVID

Arkansas lags on Politico's scorecard

Illustration of a pattern of covid cells.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Arkansas received an overall score of 47 out of 100 for how it handled the pandemic, according to an analysis by Politico.

What's happening: The news site's State Pandemic Scorecard evaluated how policy choices impacted the residents of all 50 states, categorized by health, economy, social well-being and education.

Why it matters: There was no playbook for state leaders about how to deal with the pandemic. Policy choices they made had widespread and lasting effects on residents.

Zoom out: States with more restrictions had lower rates of death and hospitalization but fared worse economically and educationally, Politico found.

  • States dependent on tourism suffered the most economically.
  • Rural states had better economic and educational outcomes but tended to do worse in health.

Zoom in: Of the four categories, Arkansas ranked best in economy, scoring an 82 out of 100, due to good employment and a strong statewide gross domestic product. By comparison, the overall U.S. rank was 52.

  • Education scored 60 with continued good enrollment and some learning losses in math and reading.
  • Social well-being scored 26 due to increased food insecurity and violent crime, and residents having difficulty meeting household expenses.

Arkansas' worst showing was in health, scoring a 20 of 100. This was due to high rates of death and hospitalizations, and low rates of testing and vaccinations.

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