You might be forgiven for looking at the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees and inferring that American voters don’t much care for freedom. Both favor bigger, more invasive government, and neither seems to put a premium on liberty.
But the evidence suggests Americans do care about their own freedom. After all, they have been moving from less free to freer states, according to a new study we just published with the Cato Institute. Americans consistently vote with their feet for freedom, even as they sometimes vote with the ballot box for candidates who want to legislate away the freedoms of others, be they entrepreneurs or workers, religious minorities, those who buy or sell intoxicating substances, and other unpopular groups.

Our study, “Freedom in the 50 States,” ranks the American states according to how their public policies affect individual freedoms in the economic, social and personal spheres. We examine state and local government intervention across a wide range of policy categories — from taxation to debt, from eminent domain laws to occupational licensing, and from drug policy to educational choice.