Nevada: A story of lies, damn lies and statistics |

Nevada: A story of lies, damn lies and statistics

The legendary author and former Nevada resident Mark Twain once wrote that there are lies, damn lies and statistics. That might be the best spin that Nevada could hope to put on the results of Morgan Quitno’s findings in its annual reference book, “Crime State Rankings 2005.”

Morgan Quitno is a private research company located in Lawrence, Kan., that issues annual report cards on the livability of American states and cities. Its ratings cover such topics as crime, health, education and livability based on a variety of factors.

The bad news for Nevada is that for the second year in a row it has been named the nation’s “most dangerous state.”

The ranking is based on six crime factors: murder, rape, robbery assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft.

According to the statistics, people living in Nevada are more likely to be robbed than the residents of any other state except Maryland. Nevadans also have the fourth highest murder rate in the nation. Only Louisiana, Maryland, and Mississippi have a higher murder rate.

Nevada doesn’t fare much better when it comes to smarts – 49th, to be exact. Only the people of New Mexico, as a group, are lower on the “smarts” scale than the people of Nevada, according to the 2005 statistics, which look primarily at the state’s educational system, and specifically student achievement, positive outcomes and personal attention from teachers.

Not only is Nevada dangerous place with a terrible educational system, if you believe the Morgan Quitno research, it’s also harmful to your health. On a scale of 1 to 50, with 1 being healthiest, Nevada comes in 47th, based on access to health care, affordability and health of the population generally.

It’s odd that in spite of such dismal statistics, for the past 19 years Nevada has been the undisputed champion when it comes to percentage population growth. If Nevada is such a rotten place, then why are people moving here in droves? Maybe the best explanation for all of this is that with unbridled growth comes extraordinary growing pains.

While it’s true, as Twain suggested, that statistics could be manipulated for almost any purpose, the Morgan Quitno results are nevertheless food for thought and issues that all Nevadans need to be concerned with as growth continues.

– From the Lahontan Valley News in Fallon, Nev.

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