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Author Topic: Narrowing It Down  (Read 16887 times)

Robert H.

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Narrowing It Down
« on: October 26, 2002, 04:40:59 am »

One of our problems regarding actually settling on a state is the immense task that we face in terms of sifting through all of the available data and aligning the states accordingly to see which ones come out on top.  

Perhaps what we need to do in order to help us begin to form a consensus is to change the way in which we approach the issue.  We seem to be divided along state lines because we are divided in the criteria that we are using to select our favorite candidate states.  Maybe we should go back to debating which criteria are best, and once we have reached more of a consensus on this issue, we could then turn to applying those generally accepted criteria to the states under consideration.

I would define the "best" criteria as:  which factors will most directly impact the FSP's chances for success?  What will either make or break us in this project?  What can we not succeed without (or with)?  I'm hoping that people will chime in here and provide their thoughts on what criteria we absolutely must meet in order to succeed.  

Once we set aside those criteria that are most fundamental to our success, we can then proceed to a second hierarchy based on the following:  once we have identified those states that conform to the most fundamental criteria, let's assume that all 5,000 who voted on the state have just up and moved to that state.  Okay, so we're what factors do we face that could make or break our chances for success in each of the best remaining states?  In other words, what will best help us to succeed once we're actually in a state where we know we could succeed?

Once we have passed the first two phases, we could then move on to the last category of criteria:  we've identified the criteria that we must have to succeed, we've identified the criteria that will best help us to succeed, now we need to determine what other criteria we would like to have in order to put that cherry on our ice cream sundae.   ;D These are the niceties.

Give me your thoughts here on which criteria belong in which categories:  1) Criteria we must meet to succeed, 2) Criteria that will best help us succeed where our chances are most favorable, and 3) Criteria that are not absolutely necessary to our success but would nontheless make us happier.

If we can form a consensus in regard to these criteria, we should be able to dramatically narrow down our focus among the remaining candidate states in a more objective manner.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2002, 04:42:42 am by Robert Hawes »

Robert H.

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Re:Narrowing It Down
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2002, 05:59:50 am »

Starting off here, let me suggest that one primary (or "fundamental") criteria would be population.

Except for Rhode Island and Hawaii, which were eliminated early on for their outright statist tendencies, the membership voted to cut off various states under consideration based on population (the 1.5 million mark).  For this reason, I would think that this is one of the more objective criteria we have in that we all understand that our success will be, theoretically, related to our raw numbers in the chosen state.  We absolutely must choose a state where our numbers will do us the greatest service.  We'll have an uphill battle wherever we ultimately decide to go, but if we're heavily outnumbered to start with, we could be fatally marginalized.

To this end, let us take a look again at the states as they compare with one another in terms of total population (from least to greatest).

State            2000 Census Population #

Wyoming                 493,782
Vermont                   608,827
Alaska                      626,932
North Dakota            642,200
South Dakota           754,844
Delaware                  783,600
Montana                   902,195
New Hampshire        1,235,786
Maine                        1,274,923
Idaho                        1,293,953

Now, let's see which of these states appear to be growing the fastest according to the last census (2000):

State                    1990          2000      % Increase

Wyoming               453,588        493,782             8.9%
Vermont                 562,758       608,827              8.2%
Alaska                    550,043       626,932              14.0%
North Dakota          638,800       642,200              0.5%
South Dakota         696,004        754,844             8.5%
Delaware                666,168       783,600              17.6%
Montana                 799,065        902,195              12.9%
New Hampshire      1,109,252     1,235,786           11.4%
Maine                      1,227,928     1,274,923           3.8%
Idaho                      1,006,749     1,293,953           28.5%

These numbers obviously reflect only the last decade, and they could go up or down in the next, but at least they show us how fast those states grew, and possibly how fast they have the potential to continue to grow (keeping in mind here that we're going to take a few years to get this show on the road even when we get to the chosen state).

Now, let's see where the Census Bureau thinks these states will go by the year 2025 (as taken from Joe's "More and other criteria to weigh states with" thread at;action=display;threadid=247;start=0):

State                    2000          2025      % Increase

Wyoming               493,782           610,782       24%
Vermont                 608,827           740,827       22%
Alaska                    626,932           869,932       39%
North Dakota          642,200           651,200         1%
South Dakota         754,844           924,844        23%
Delaware                783,600           1,175,600     50%
Montana                 902,195            1,222,195     35%
New Hampshire      1,235,786         1,618,786     31%
Maine                      1,274,923         1,399,923     10%
Idaho                      1,293,953         2,421,953     87%

This is all speculation of course, but it's what those government people get paid to do, and for once, it may actually do us some good.

One more table here showing the number and % of voters that voted in each state in 2000 as compared to the general population and the eligible voting population (those +18 years or older...again, borrowed from Joe's thread):

64%  Maine (622,472 voters of 973,685 eligible, 1,274,923 total)
63%  Vermont (291,848 voters of 461,304 eligible, 608,827 total)
61%  New Hampshire (566,776 voters of 926,224 eligible, 1,235,786 total)
61%  Montana (410,798 voters of 672,133 eligible, 902,195 total)
60%  North Dakota (289,469 voters of 481,351 eligible, 642,200 total)
58%  Wyoming (213,426 voters of 364,909 eligible, 493,782 total)
57%  South Dakota (316,023 voters of 552,195 eligible, 754,844 total)
56%  Delaware (327,870 voters of 589,013 eligible, 783,600 total)
53%  Idaho (488,472 voters of 924,923 eligible, 1,293,653 total)
52%  Alaska (228,314 voters of 436,215 eligible, 626,932 total)

Voting population numbers are important, but as Joe cautioned on his thread, they could be deceiving as well.  Important and/or devisive issues could easily drive voter turn-out up in any of these states.

So, from all of this (the top 5's):  

Wyoming currently has the most favorable population number, followed by Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

North Dakota grew the least rapidly of all the states, followed by Maine, Vermont, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

North Dakota tops those states that are expected to increase the least by 2025, followed by Maine, Vermont, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Alaska leads among those with the fewest actually voting, followed by Idaho, Delaware, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Wyoming and South Dakota appear in 4/4 of these measurements.
Vermont and North Dakota appear in 3/4.
Alaska and Maine appear in 2/4.
Idaho and Delaware appear in 1/4.

Again, these are only the top five best performers population-wise out of the current ten under consideration.

Any thoughts on this info?  Should projected population numbers and voter turn-out be weighed as heavily as the more objective measurements of current population and historical growth?  What other fundamental criteria should be considered?
« Last Edit: October 26, 2002, 09:48:49 am by Robert Hawes »


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Re:Narrowing It Down
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2002, 06:33:26 am »

Jobs and population in my opinion should be the only PRIMARY factors to consider.  By jobs I mean ACCESS TO A MAJOR METROPOLITAN AREA.

Again this brings me back to

-New Hampshire

Even though New Hampshire has a pretty big population.

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Re:Narrowing It Down
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2002, 09:42:14 am »

Robert, that was an excellent post.  A very well laid out analysis.  Such will be valuable in arriving at a consensus on the ultimate objective.  


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Re:Narrowing It Down
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2002, 11:15:43 am »

Robert asks us to address a serious consideration which we've been circumventing to some degree. Many of the criteria we've considered don't really affect how successful establishing the beachhead will be. Many are personal preferences for climate and such. Many, such as taxes, are tolerable for a while but are also changeable. Many are ideals that matter little to the pragmatics of what is actually accomplishable. Many may be changeable in the long term but would essentially be barriers to successful entry and change in the first place.

As Robert suggests, we first must narrow down the criteria we have in front of us on the web site data page and in many discussion threads including my own compendium of "MORE CRITERIA"where he snagged the above data from.
I believe the most important of those criteria are:
1) Criteria that can not be changed or that would take decades to change
    These factors are fundamental and inherent in the state and its population.
2) Criteria that substantially determine whether Free State Activists can succeed.

Examples of criteria that meet the above conditions:
*Population, especially that of voting age and especially in ten to twenty years.
*Addiction to gov't money,  benefits and power (used for some and against others)
*Gov't employees as a percentage of voters. This includes schools, hospitals, etc.
*Urbanization -- especially as it promotes dependency centralized gov't services.
*Education level - crucial to knowledgable voters but taking generations to change.
*Size of legislative districts - population and land area to cover determines costs.
*Nativity or acceptance of outsiders. If they reject newcomers, the FSP is stalled.
*Number of native allies - measured by votes and by number of influential activists.

Examples of criteria which can be changed fairly quickly, can be tolerated,
or which incoming activists can bring with them.
*Jobs - bringing business and employers with them can solve acceptance and jobs.
*Taxes - these can be tolerated and changed - often very quickly by initiatives.
*Crime - again this can be quickly changed in small towns
*Livability - much of this is tolerable or quickly changed
*Laws regarding guns, building codes, licensing, etc. can be quickly changed
*Number of lawyers -  the FSP can make the profession less lucrative

Examples of criteria which may be academic considerations given the pragmatics. These reflect preferences for an ideal autonomous state but are not a huge negative when staying in the union.
*Coastal or international borders - the FSP is not a secession movement
*Percent of federal land - not indicative of percent of federal employees.


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Re:Narrowing It Down
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2002, 12:48:20 pm »

This is a really interesting discussion.

I agree that population and voting #s are important criteria. However, we have already narrowed the states down to the 10 leaders and if these were the only important criteria we would have no need for further research. We would already have our state chosen.

Quite frankly, any of these 10 states are viable candidates, and I believe that more important than raw numbers are the makeup (demographics - is that the word I am looking for?) of that population. In other words the density of freedom-oriented people within that existing population and thus their openness to the ideas espoused by the FSP. I believe that the FSP will have much greater success if a state already has a culture oriented toward freedom than not, even if that freedom-oriented state has a larger population. There are obviously a myriad of ways to measure this, but unforytunately, none of these measures will ever be really definitive.

I also agree with Joe that there are criteria that we can change and improve over time (i.e., availability of jobs, taxes, crime, livability, laws). However, I think that we need to remember that we are asking 20,000 people to uproot themselves, their families, change jobs, etc. I believe that the selection of a state which rates poorly on these factors, will make this relocation very uncomfortable for many FSP members, reducing the percentage who actually follow through with the move and the percentage who remain committed for the long haul.

Thus, I'm looking for a state that ranks highly on the objective numbers. But, in addition, I am looking for:

1) A state with a strong (and fairly diversified) job market
2) A state with rural and urban areas, easy accessibility to major metropolitan areas/airports, etc.
3) A state with a geography diversified enough to appeal to the majority of the membership (mountains, forests, waterfront, seacoast, etc)
4) A state that has a high density of the population that will be friendly and open to the FSP ideas
5) A state that is closest to the FSP ideals (laws, taxes, etc.)

I also place high importance on coastal and international access although I am not 100% convinced this is crucial.

Because I know NH, and know it meets all of these criteria, I am totally, completely convinced that FSP could succeed here. Because our family enjoys a rural lifestyle, I admit that some of the western states appeal to us personally (in other words, it isn't an east/west bias). But realistically, I don't believe the entire membership shares this feeling and a higher percentage of our membership would be comfortable with the diversity provided by a state like NH.

Just a few thoughts...
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Re:Narrowing It Down
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2002, 01:42:22 pm »

Oh yes - I also wanted to say that just because I feel so certain about NH does not necessarily mean that I won't find another state that I believe is equally strong. It just means that I haven't finished my research yet. At first, I figured I would have a couple of years to do this research, but given our rate of growth, I am stepping these efforts up. I don't think that vote is too far in the future  :D
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Re:Narrowing It Down
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2002, 04:47:51 pm »

Maine certainly fits the diversified geography category. I grew up in Maine and love it, but I worry about the "freedom-oriented" category in particular. Of course, I am probably making unfair generalizations because my very large, extended family lives in southern Maine and most are very politically active, liberal Democrats and that is all I ever hear about from them. Now, if we could eliminate southern Maine and focus on the north, I would be more optimistic. In any case, I would love it someone made a strong case for Maine.

I agree with you about the 92 vote for Perot. At the risk of being called a "mushy centrist" or "wacky nativist," I was still quite young in 92 and trying to find my own political views as opposed to those of my family. Perot came along and represented a strong option (I heard change and fiscal conservatism in his message) to express my dissatisfaction with the other options. I voted for him then continued with my search to better define my personal views. The rest is history and here I am now. In any case, I suspect that my story is very similar to most who voted for Perot and that many of these people would be our top supporters if we introduced our ideas in the right way.
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Re:Narrowing It Down - By Population
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2002, 05:49:19 am »

I agree with Joe's assessment of essential or fundamental criteria:
*Population, especially that of voting age and especially in ten to twenty years.

Cited research, from Joe's "More and other criteria" thread (;action=display;threadid=247 shows that the following five states have the most current favorable population stats (from least to greatest - see below for an explanation of the accompanying numbers):

North Dakota-97
South Dakota-96

Using voting age statistics, the following states are more favorable in terms of an educated, voting age population (high school graduates according to the 1990 census) from highest to lowest:

85.77%  Alaska-95
82.61%  Wyoming-94
81.88%  New Hampshire-93
81.11%  Vermont-92
80.67%  Montana-91

The following states had the most favorable percentage of voters in 2000 (from least to greatest):

South Dakota-87

The following states are projected to grow the least in population by 2025 (from least to greatest):

North Dakota-85
South Dakota-82

The following states exhibited the largest support for Ross Perot's third party candidacy in 1992 (from highest to lowest by % basis).  Some may wonder why this number is being included...consider it a possible measurement of the political dissension in a given state.  Perot's candidacy (whatever you thought of it) was the most realistic third-party candidacy in recent years, and it gave politically disaffected Americans a chance to show themselves.  They may or may not support us, but it might at least show us the potential viability of third party or "alternative" politics in a candidate state:

30.44%  206,820  Maine-80 (Perot beat Bush here)
28.43%    73,481  Alaska-79
27.04%  130,395  Idaho-78
26.11%  107,225  Montana-77
25.56%    51,263  Wyoming-76

I would rank these categories in importance as follows:

*Current population (We can't consider a state if the numbers are currently unfavorable).
*Current educated population over 18 - voting age- (This is the kind of electorate we'll have to negotiate with on our planned reforms and a possible measure of how they could perceive or understand them).
*Projected growth (Our reforms are going to take considerable time to implement; we need to give ourselves that time).
*Number of voters who actually voted in 2000 (This is the one population stat that is subject to radical change, but it still gives us an idea of the degree of political activism in a state in one of the most heated elections in years).
*The Perot "dissension" vote (It's unreliable for the future, but it may be the greatest possible measure we currently have of how a viable third party politics could be in a state).

As you can see, given all these factors, I've assigned a point value to each from 100 points (for the most favorable) on down the line (for the least favorable) in each category.  The reason I did it this way was to allow us to measure the top states in each category, while also weighing the points given in each category as compared to the overall level of importance that I laid out above.  (Anyone is welcome to improve on this!)

Using my staggered scoring method, these are the states appearing in above categories (related to population stats only) and how many points they got overall on their degree of feasibility from each category:

Wyoming - 437 points
Alaska - 362 points
Vermont - 274 points
South Dakota - 265 points
Maine - 164 points
North Dakota - 182 points
Montana - 168 points
Idaho - 167 points
New Hampshire - 93 points
Delaware - 88 points

This is not perfect by any means, I understand.  It's meant only to be a beginning for trying to objectively rank the states according to fundamental criteria (and only dealing with the top five that appear in each given category, dealing specifically with population here).  What is now needed is for someone much better with numbers than I am to come along and give us a better qualitative means of weighing the points given in each category according to their overall importance (say, assigning a % level) and then giving us that result. My gradual reduction in point values is probably not a fair assessment of their real statistical importance.  Any takers?  Any other thoughts on assessing population?  Any additional thoughts on other fundamental criteria to begin considering?
« Last Edit: October 28, 2002, 02:24:16 am by Robert Hawes »

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Re:Narrowing It Down
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2002, 06:03:10 am »

Jobs and population in my opinion should be the only PRIMARY factors to consider.  By jobs I mean ACCESS TO A MAJOR METROPOLITAN AREA.

Again this brings me back to

-New Hampshire

Even though New Hampshire has a pretty big population.


I understand the point you're making about proximity to a population center, but in the vast scheme of all things political at this moment in our country's history, I think that proximity to New York or Washington would be a mistake.

Our government is currently increasing security concerns and overall scrutiny in those areas, in other words, growing more restrictive.  If we come along with an idea for changing state government to be less restrictive, in proximity to those areas most likely to be targeted by terrorists, we would be asking for the government to 1) scrutinize us heavily,  2) interfere with our activities by various means from either employing forceful measures to simply making day-to-day life difficult, or 3) stirring up the population against us with political rhetoric aimed at the fearful populations of those areas.

This is not an east vs west bias argument though...I would say the same thing if we were considering locating close to San Fransisco or Seattle (even though they are not nearly as subject to scrutiny as the eastern cities).

Thinking "major population centers" does not necessarily mean thinking Boston, New York, Washington, or Philadelphia.  Out west, Butte, Boise, Fargo, Cheyenne, etc., are major population centers.  You could live close to one of these areas, or in them, and still be an urbanite.  It wouldn't be the same granted, but I think the trade-off would be worth it.

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Re:Narrowing It Down
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2002, 06:56:41 am »

Continuing with trying to isolate criteria that are fundamental to choosing the right state...after population considerations, we reach governmental considerations.

*Addiction to gov't money,  benefits and power (used for some and against others)

This will be extremely important because, if we move into a state where the people are very dependent upon government, and we come along wanting to reduce the government upon which they depend, our movement is liable to be staked like a rampaging vampire.

Here's how I have arranged government dependencies, etc., in order of importance.  The Camelot Index category comes from Joe's "More and other criteria" thread, while the remaining categories come from the State Data page on the FSP main site.

More and Other Criteria:;action=display;threadid=247
State Data Page:

Question:  Could someone who assisted in compiling these categories from the state data page weigh in on how they should be arranged in order of importance, or if other categories need to be included.  The problem in trying to set these categories into levels of importance is that I don't know all of the factors that went into measuring them.  I'm currently listing them in the order in which they appear on the site, but I don't know if this order was intentional or if it's just how the chart happened to be set up.

I moved the categories dealing with the feds farther down the list because they will be the most long-term and difficult to address of all.  The feasibility of state government would seem to be more important right now.  If we can't work with state government, we won't have to worry about working with the feds because we'll never get to that stage in the program.

Governmental Criteria:

*Stable, well-managed state government (From Joe's Camelot index numbers: reflecting, as he has stated:
A Camelot-like state has low taxes, low government debt, large state balances, and the ability to maintain services without tax increases. The prudent management index includes state and local taxes as a percentage of personal income, the state solvency index that deducts state and local debt and unfunded pension liabilities from assets, structural surpluses and deficits' and bond ratings.

This will be supremely important because it shows us something of what sort of condition a state government is in overall from a management aspect.  If a state's government is in good overall condition, this will enable us to get a handle on it faster than we could if it was in constant flux and instability.
*Economic Freedom Index
*Lack of Statewide Land-Use Planning
*Smaller State and Local Government Sector
*Lack of dependence on the federal government (lack of dependence on DC helps equate to lack of interference or control from DC).

Again, if we could get some assistance on prioritizing these categories or adding/deleting categories, it would be best to do that before trying to assign any states or values to them.  Also, once they are categorized, should they be numbered down from the population categories (in continued descending order...75, 74, 73, etc...) for the sake of continued experimentation or not?
« Last Edit: October 27, 2002, 06:58:58 am by Robert Hawes »

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Re:Narrowing It Down
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2002, 01:41:25 am »

You are doing quite a yeoman's job in narrowing down the criteria to what is the most important and giving weights according to importance.

Thanks for the words of support.  I do hope that by trying to set the various criteria into tiers of importance, we might be able to isolate the most viable candidate, even if it isn't necessarily the state we would prefer!  I've been somewhat surprised at the way the numbers have worked out so far.


The Perot vote for "reform" and the absolute numbers of potential voters are crucial to the FSP.
I'm in the process of tabulating the votes for Dem, Rep, Ref, and Green for 1988 - 2000. Though I am still struggling with interpreting this data, I'm seeing some striking patterns and differences between liberal eastern states and conservative western states. I'm also seeing so far that the Reform option pulled a lot of non-voters out of the wings and, when it fizzled due to Perot's waffling, many went back to non-voting but a lot went to the Democrats. Perot was the best thing to happen to the Democrat party since John F. Kennedy!

I agree.  The Perot vote is not an exact measurement of what support we could expect, but it's the best thing we have in terms of what support might be available from the politically disaffected.

I suspected that the majority of Perot's support came from Democrats, but I've never seen the statistics to confirm.  I just noticed that Clinton won by a much larger margin in 1996 than in 1992, the Perot vote had mostly dried up, and the Republican vote really hadn't changed all that much.  I never actually ran the real numbers though.  Yes, he was a great boon for the Democrats, just as Nader might be for the Republicans next election or two from now.

In fact, I believe that Gore would have won New Hampshire if it hadn't been for Nader.  I think Bush got 48% of the vote, Gore got 47%, and Nader got something like 6 or 7%.  I don't see Green supporters throwing their weight to a Republican in the absence of a Green candidate, so I assume NH would have gone Democrat.  Nader hurt the Democrats in New England in general in 2000 by varying degrees:  6% in Massachusetts, 6% in Maine, and 7% in Vermont.  Gore still won by good margins though: 5% in Maine, 10% in Vermont, and a whopping 27% in Massachusetts (per CNN's election homepage).  


The format of my tabulation is in spreadsheet. I've not yet mastered how to get the "table" formatting to work right here. Maybe I can send it to someone to post either as an xls resource or to format and post so that anyone can read it.

I have MS Works (poor man's "Office"), so I don't know if it would transfer, but I could try if someone better equipped does not offer.

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Re:Narrowing It Down - By Government and Dependency
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2002, 02:36:24 am »

I haven't seen any objections yet to the order of importance in which I've arranged the governmental criteria, so I'll press on with how those categories translate in statistics, and from there, into states.  Again, these will be the top fives states in each category, ranked in a specifically designated order (ie: best to worst, most to least, etc...), and scored in descending order from my population rankings (see the above posts for details).

Stable, well-managed government (From Joe's Camelot index numbers on the "More and other criteria to weigh states by" thread), from best to worst:

South Dakota - 75
North Dakota - 74
Delaware -73
Wyoming -72
Idaho -71

Economic Freedom Index (from the State Data page on the FSP main site), from best to worst:

Idaho - 70
Wyoming - 69
South Dakota - 68
New Hampshire - 67
Delaware - 66

Lack of State-wide Land Use Planning (from the State Data page on the FSP main site), from best to worst:

Wyoming - 65
Alaska - 64
North Dakota - 63
South Dakota - 62
Montana - 61

Lack of Overall Dependence on the Federal Government (from the State Data page on the FSP main site), from best to worst...(*Note...this will be analyzed by specific types of dependence would seem prudent to first list the states based on overall dependence, and then, once you've narrowed it down to what states you're dealing with, you can address specific dependencies that may hamper your efforts, as this information then becomes more relevent):

New Hampshire - 60
Delaware - 59
Vermont - 58
Wyoming - 57
Idaho - 56

Federal Land Ownership (from the State Data page on the FSP main site), from best to worst...I'm including this information at the bottom of the list because, although I think it is going to be crucial in how much the federal government scrutinizes us or interferes with us, I think that specific state considerations should take priority (if the state's not a feasible candidate, we won't need to worry about dealing with the feds in that state because we won't be there).

Maine - 55
Delaware - 54
North Dakota - 53
South Dakota - 52
Vermont - 51

(*Note...this is the only category where Wyoming has not scored in the top five thus far...something to consider).

So, adding up the points scored with regard to government and governmental dependency, we get the following results:

Wyoming - 263 points
South Dakota - 257 points
Delaware - 198 points
Idaho - 197 points
North Dakota - 190 points
New Hampshire - 127 points
Vermont - 109 points
Alaska - 64 points
Montana - 61 points
Maine - 55 points

Robert H.

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Re:Narrowing It Down - By Total Population and Dependency
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2002, 02:38:10 am »

Now, adding the government and governmental dependency scores to the population scores, the states are ranked as follows (by total points accrued thus far):

Wyoming - (263 + 437) = 700 points
South Dakota - (257 + 265) = 522 points
Alaska - (64 + 362) = 426 points
Vermont - (109 + 274) = 383 points
North Dakota - (190 + 182) = 372 points
Idaho - (197 + 167) = 364 points
Delaware - (198 + 88) = 286 points
Montana - (61 + 168) = 229 points
New Hampshire - (127 + 93) = 220 points
Maine - (55 + 164) = 219 points

Robert H.

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Re:Narrowing It Down
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2002, 04:47:22 am »

Moving on to a third fundamental criteria for the free state:

Quoting Joe, aka Solitar:

*Gov't employees as a percentage of voters. This includes schools, hospitals, etc.

This will also be an important area to consider given the fact that any attempts to reduce the size of government will inevitably involve the jobs of those who work for government.  This category thus shows us what we may face in terms of hostile voters that are out to keep their government paychecks:

Total State and Local Government employment:  2000 census:
*The first column is Total Full Time and Part time Employees
*The second column is Total "Equivalent Full-time" Employees

Wyoming: 13,703 +11,204 = 24,907
Vermont: 15,261 +13,632 = 28,893
South Dakota: 17,174 +13,376  = 30,550
North Dakota: 20,688 + 15,772  =  36,460
Montana: 23,226 + 17,920 = 41,146
New Hampshire: 24,580 + 18,776  = 43,356
Maine: 25,070 + 20,568 = 45,638
Alaska: 26,388  + 22,885  =  49,273
Delaware: 28,267 + 23,743  =  52,010
Idaho: 29,759 + 22,647 =  52,406

Total Federal employment by state: 2000 census:

Delaware:  5,367
Vermont:  5,779
Wyoming: 6,078
North Dakota: 7,772
New Hampshire:  7,800
South Dakota: 9,542
Idaho: 10,741
Montana: 11,165
Alaska:  13,997
Maine: 13,399

States where federal employment increased from 1998 to 2000 (again from the Census Bureau):

*This is provided just as an aside to show states where growth occurred, but it was only over a two year period and really doesn't tell us anything...just an FYI:

Idaho: from 10,730 to 10,741 = + 11
Vermont: from 5,757 to 5,779  = + 22
Maine: from 13,369 to 13,399 = + 30
North Dakota:  from 7,664 to 7,772 = + 108

Back to more meaningful numbers...this is the grand total of federal, state, and local employees per state according to the Census Bureau (from the above data):

Wyoming: 6,078 + 24,907 = 30,985
Vermont:  5,779 + 28,893 = 34,672
South Dakota: 9,542 + 30,550 = 40,092
North Dakota: 7,772 + 36,460 = 44,232
New Hampshire:  7,800 + 43,356 = 51,156
Montana: 11,165 + 41,146 = 52,311
Delaware:  5,367 + 52,010 = 57,377
Maine: 13,399 + 45,638 = 59,037
Idaho: 10,741 + 52,406 = 63,147
Alaska:  13,997 + 49,273 = 63,270

Once again, I am weighing the number of state and local employees as a percentage of the overall voting age population most heavily because we will first have to work to reduce government on the state level before worrying about federal affairs.  

The following states rank as the top five from best to worst when state and local employees are weighed as a % of the voting age population (voting age population numbers from Joe's "More and other criteria" thread):

New Hampshire: (43,356/926,224 eligible) = 4.680% - 50 points
Maine:  (45,638/973,685 eligible) = 4.687% - 49 points
South Dakota: (30,550/552,195 eligible) = 5.5% - 48 points
Idaho: (52,406/924,923 eligible) = 5.7% - 47 points
Montana: (41,146/672,133 eligible) = 6.1% - 46 points

After compiling the federal employees as a % of the voting age population, I thought that we probably shouldn't even bother to enter this as essential criteria.  The reason is that federal employees make up no more than 1.7% as compared to the voting age population of any state (with the exception of Alaska, which is at 3.2%).  

Just for informational purposes, here are the top five placers:

New Hampshire: (7,800/926,224 eligible) = 0.84%
Delaware:  (5,367/589,013 eligible) = 0.91%
Idaho: (10,741/924,923 eligible) =1.16%
Vermont:  (5,779/461,304 eligible)  = 1.25%
Maine: (13,399/973,685 eligible) = 1.38%

After seeing this result, it didn't make much sense to me to include this category as "fundamental" criteria because the highest number of government employees in any state (Alaska - 13,997, at 3.2% of the voting age population) would be beaten by 20,000 voting FSPer's:  at 20,000 strong, we would be 4.6% of the Alaskan voting age population.

State and local employees seem more important because no state has fewer than 24,907 of them (Wyoming).  Statistically, they could outvote us in any candidate state, so I thought it important to retain that number in the measurement.

Any comments, corrections, suggestions?
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