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Forbes Magazine: New Hampshire #1 for Economic Freedom

Driven by population growth and an increase in annual income for residents, New Hampshire took the top slot of a national review of which states have the most economic freedom.
Forbes Magazine published the annual review, conducted by Fraser Institute, citing New Hampshire as the national leader, after multiple years being in the top five. The ranking compiles economic data from 2012-2021.
“Economic freedom is a result of our state’s Live Free or Die attitude, and it’s reflected in our economic policies and in how our residents conduct business,” said Taylor Caswell, commissioner of the Department of Business and Economic Affairs (BEA). “We see it in our work every day; the state clears the path, and our businesses and residents are free to do the rest.”
Caswell pointed to recent New Hampshire economic data showing continued strong tourism revenue, surging state business tax revenue, record-low unemployment, a sizzling job market and persistent home values and demand for housing as evidence of the strength and resilience of the state.
A recent University of New Hampshire study found a net increase in population in 2021 and 2022, a trend that has been accelerating over the past five years. This trend reversing a years-long trend of outmigration and is good news for the state and its businesses. Caswell said the BEA approach to development is different from how other states operate.
“Doing business the same old way won’t produce results in a post-2020 world,” he said.  “BEA is finding new ways to invest our resources into strategies that are gaining traction in today’s evolving and expanding statewide job market. For example, BEA is leading an effort to enhance economic opportunities through a new concept known as a CEDR, or Collaborative Economic Development Region. It enables and supports new partnerships to advance economic prosperity through regional collaboration.”
The CEDR approach is a uniquely-New Hampshire solution through investment into regionally-based projects to boost workforce, child care access, job retention, affordable housing, business investment and expansion, and more.
“Our challenge now is sustaining responsible growth through local collaboration and feeding the growing demand for workers and product that is a result of our successes,” Caswell said. “It’s a great problem to have and we are excited about the future.”
About the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs (BEA)
The Department of Business and Economic Affairs is dedicated to enhancing the economic vitality of the State of New Hampshire while promoting it as a destination for domestic and international visitors. For more information, visit or