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"State fiscal condition is multifaceted and difficult to measure," reads the abstract to a working paper published this month by Georgia State University's Sarah Arnett.

However, by measuring and ranking the "cash, budget, long-run and service-level solvency" of every state during fiscal year 2012, Arnett believes it is possible to rank each state in the union according to fiscal condition, and in fact does so in the paper. Utah, according to Arnett, has the 11th most stable economy in the country.

"The ongoing challenges to state governments' abilities to meet their financial and service obligations underscore the need for a reliable and strait-forward method to compare states' finances," Arnett argues in the study. "Without such methods of comparison, those inside and outside state government are left to wonder about the emerging trends in state finances and how states compare to each other."

To rank each state, Arnett used data from each state's Comprehensive annual financial report for 2012. From the reports, Arnett focused on 11 key indicators, all of which measures one of four categories:

Cash solvency, which Arnett explains measures a state's ability to "pay its bills."

Budget solvency, which in effect measures the debt to surplus ratio of the state.

Long-run solvency, which measures a state's ability to "pay the cost of doing business."

Service level solvency, which measures a state's ability to pay for "service obligations."

"An important conclusion of this paper is that while rankings inherently have top performers and bottom performers," Arnett explains in the paper's conclusion, "there is a substantial difference in state fiscal conditions." That "substantial difference" according to Arnett, is worth understanding in order to "test the effect of fiscal institutions."

So which states came out on top in the study? We've compiled the list of Arnett's top 25 states for economic stability.

25 Virginia
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Fiscal condition index: -0.28

Population: 8,260,405

Median household income: $63,636

Persons below poverty level: 11.1 percent

24 Colorado
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Fiscal condition index: -0.24

Population: 5,268,367

Median household income: $58,244

Persons below poverty level: 12.9 percent

23 Washington
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Fiscal condition index: -0.23

Population: 6,971,406

Median household income: $59,374

Persons below poverty level: 12.9 percent

22 New Hampshire
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Fiscal condition index: -0.21

Population: 1,323,459

Median household income: $64,925

Persons below poverty level: 8.4 percent

21 South Carolina
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Fiscal condition index: -0.19

Population: 4,774,839

Median household income: $44,623

Persons below poverty level: 17.6 percent

20 Texas
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Fiscal condition index: -0.18

Population: 26,448,193

Median household income: $51,563

Persons below poverty level: 17.4 percent

19 Mississippi
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Fiscal condition index: -0.14

Population: 2,991,207

Median household income: $38,882

Persons below poverty level: 22.3 percent

18 Iowa
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Fiscal condition index: 0.09

Population: 3,090,416

Median household income: $51,129

Persons below poverty level: 12.2 percent

17 Wisconsin
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Fiscal condition index: 0.12

Population: 5,742,713

Median household income: $52,627

Persons below poverty level: 12.5 percent

16 Nevada
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Fiscal condition index: 0.49

Population: 2,790,136

Median household income: $54,083

Persons below poverty level: 14.2 percent

15 Indiana
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Fiscal condition index: 0.53

Population: 6,570,902

Median household income: $48,374

Persons below poverty level: 14.7 percent

14 Missouri
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Fiscal condition index: 0.60

Population: 6,044,171

Median household income: $47,333

Persons below poverty level: 15.0 percent

13 Idaho
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Fiscal condition index: 0.70

Population: 1,612,136

Median household income: $47,015

Persons below poverty level: 15.1 percent

12 Oklahoma
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Fiscal condition index: 0.93

Population: 3,850,568

Median household income: $44,891

Persons below poverty level: 16.6 percent

11 Utah
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Fiscal condition index: 1.03

Population: 2,900,872

Median household income: $58,164

Persons below poverty level: 12.1 percent

10 Alabama
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Fiscal condition index: 1.25

Population: 4,833,722

Median household income: $43,160

Persons below poverty level: 18.1 percent

9 Montana
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Fiscal condition index: 1.66

Population: 1,015,165

Median household income: $45,456

Persons below poverty level: 14.8 percent

8 Tennessee
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Fiscal condition index: 1.71

Population: 6,495,978

Median household income: $44,140

Persons below poverty level: 17.3 percent

7 Ohio
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Fiscal condition index: 1.71

Population: 11,570,808

Median household income: $48,246

Persons below poverty level: 15.4 percent

6 Florida
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Fiscal condition index: 1.99

Population: 19,552,860

Median household income: $47,309

Persons below poverty level: 15.6 percent

5 Wyoming
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Fiscal condition index: 2.23

Population: 582,658

Median household income: $56,573

Persons below poverty level: 11.0 percent

4 Nebraska
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Fiscal condition index: 2.53

Population: 1,868,516

Median household income: $51,381

Persons below poverty level: 12.4 percent

3 North Dakota
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Fiscal condition index: 2.75

Population: 723,393

Median household income: $51,641

Persons below poverty level: 12.1 percent

2 South Dakota
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Fiscal condition index: 2.79

Population: 844,877

Median household income: $49,091

Persons below poverty level: 13.8 percent

1 Alaska
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Fiscal condition index: 8.80

Population: 735,132

Median household income: $69,917

Persons below poverty level: 9.6 percent