The Best and Worst States to Make a Living in America

There are a bunch of factors individuals and families take into consideration when deciding where to settle down, but arguably the most important concerns whether it'd be possible to make a decent living.

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Who wouldn't want to move to Hawaii and live on an island paradise? Well, if you know that Hawaii has consistently ranked as the worst state to make a living — based on five key economic and employment metrics — then that explains why the state is more commonly associated with tourism than permanent settlement among Americans, Business Insider reported.

MoneyRates, a personal finance website, analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources to determine the top and bottom 10 states to make a living in the U.S. The metrics MoneyRates considered include median income, state tax rates, cost of living, unemployment rate, and workplace incidents per 100 workers.


According to the data, people hoping to make a decent living would be wise to move to Wyoming, Washington, Virginia, North Dakota, and Texas — states where you're more likely to find employment for a wage that more closely matches the cost of living. This list might not include all of the states that people necessarily consider "desirable" or "luxurious" (that's subjective, of course), but they offer something that's undeniably attractive: economic security.

best states

On the other hand, you're less likely to find economic security in Hawaii, Oregon, West Virginia, Maine, and California. Even though states in the "worst" category include several that are associated with the highest incomes for top earners (e.g. New York), the median wages are about the same as those on the "best list." The difference is that these states also carry high state taxes and much higher costs of living.

worst states

Cost of living is a particularly important metric in this analysis, so it's worth defining. MoneyRates used data from the Council for Community and Economic Research's 2016 Cost of Living Index, which looks at the average price of expenditures related to housing, food, taxes, clothing, and health care. You money travels a lot further in states where these costs are low and state taxes follow suit.

[h/t Business Insider]

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