- Most Free
- Least Free
- #13 Overall
- #7 Economic
- #30 Personal
- Change in overall freedom, 2007–2009:
- Change in overall freedom ranking since 2007:
- Net domestic migration, 2000–2009 (% of 2000 population):
- Governor, 2011:
- Terry Branstad (R)
- Legislature, 2011:
- House 60R/40D, Senate 24R/26D
Despite frequently electing politicians who do not seem very interested in preserving freedom, Iowa’s policies are fairly freedom friendly. The state particularly stands out on economic regulation. Iowa also has a light touch on land-use planning. Labor regulations are business friendly, with rightto-work laws, no minimum- or prevailing-wage laws, and a decent workers’-compensation regime. Health-insurance coverage mandates are low. The court system is very good. Occupational licensing is much better than average. On personal freedoms, the picture is mixed. Marijuana sentencing definitely needs reform. Private schools are highly regulated, and homeschool standardized testing and notification requirements are burdensome. Asset forfeiture needs reform. However, most forms of gaming are permitted. Individual and grassroots PAC political contributions are unregulated, but corporate PAC contributions are banned altogether. Extensive smoking bans have swept in recently. Cablefranchise reform was enacted not long ago. A judicial decision legalizing same-sex marriage occurred after the period covered by this index.
- Improve the environment for personal freedom by cutting sin taxes and reforming marijuana sentencing guidelines.
- End private-school teacher licensing. Reduce standardized testing and notification requirements for homeschoolers.
- Reform asset forfeiture by placing the burden of proof on the government and redirecting proceeds to the general fund.
State Freedom Calculator
You know how free your state is today, but how free could it be in the future? Here are four policies from each area of the index--fiscal, regulatory, and paternalist--that allow you to play policy maker. Select from the options below and observe as your state's rankings in economic, personal, and overall freedom will be recalculated in real time and your state's ranking will rise or fall depending on your choices.