It seems like every time I pick up the newspaper or surf the internet, there is some study that puts Illinois onto “Top 10 list” of some kind of something bad.

  • Worst state to raise kids.
  • Worst in-the-nation pension debt.
  • Worst credit rating of all the states.
  • One of the least business-friendly environments, for both big and small businesses.
  • Fourth most corrupt state.
  • Home to most violent neighborhood in country.

Oh, and how could we forget, the “worst possible state to live in,” according to Illinoisans who participated in an April 2014 Gallup poll.

This one is scary. The website published a report that ranks each state on what it’s best at. Here is how Illinois and surrounding states fared

  • Wisconsin gets praise for its wonderful cheese. Yes, our neighbor to the north has more skilled and licensed cheese makers than any other
  • Iowa is known for the fact that it produces the most corn
  • Indiana is recognized for producing more building limestone than any other state
  • Illinois is deemed best in the nation for street gang affiliation.

Of course, it's no surprise that Chicago has a serious gang problem for decades. East St. Louis has the most violent neighborhood in the country, with Rockford close behind at the No. 5 spot, according to Neighborhood Scout.

Well at least we beat California at something!