Among others, I took into account the following criteria:
-taxes (I like 'em low, especially income taxes)
-economy (I like it strong)
-politics (I lean moderately libertarian)
-education (I’m for it)
-health (for that too)
-crime (against it)
-cost of living (I like it low)
-climate (I can’t abide heat and humidity)
-topography (I don’t like flat)
-population density (I like my elbow room)
-and an entirely subjective gut feeling of how neighborly the residents are
Some criteria aren’t as important to me as they might be to other people (famous opera companies, professional sports franchises, bars per square mile, etc.).
I compared what I consider to be the best regions of each state. For example, parts of Wyoming are way too dry and economically depressed for my taste (e.g., Rawlins), but Wyoming ranks high because the best parts (e.g., Laramie) are much more to my liking.