Indiana ranks No. 4 in new freedom study

INDIANAPOLIS -- You hear that? That's the sound of freedom in the Hoosier state.

Indiana is one of the most free states in the country, according to a recent study.

What does it mean to be free? According to the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank founded in part by industrialist Charles Koch, it's a combination of personal and economic freedoms. 

In 2012, Indiana was the No. 4 most free state in the study, and we stayed steady, ranking again at No. 4.

The following are just a few of the factors used in the study:

  • State taxation
  • Local taxation
  • Land use freedom
  • Health insurance freedom
  • Labor-market freedom
  • Occupational freedom
  • Incarceration and arrests 
  • Marriage freedom
  • Education
  • Gun control
  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana freedom

MORE | See how the study is calculated here

The Cato Institute said the following about Indiana:

"Indiana has more personal freedom than most other conservative states. It was forced to legalize same-sex marriage in 2014 but never had an oppressive super-DOMA. Gun rights are fairly secure, especially for concealed carry, but the state has a stricter-than-federal minimum age for possession, dealer licensing ... Cannabis freedom is virtually nonexistent, and alcohol freedom is only a bit better than average, as the state bans offsite, direct-to-consumer wine shipments and off-premises Sunday sales."

The three things the Cato Institute suggested Indiana do to improve its standing are reduce debt and income taxes, allow independent nurse practitioner practice and legalize happy hours, direct wine shipments and Sunday alcohol sales.

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