America’s Best and Worst States to Live In

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5. Minnesota
> 10-yr. population growth:
9.4% (23rd lowest)
> 2014 unemployment rate: 4.1% (6th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.5% (9th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 81.1 years (2nd highest)

As in many of the other best states to live in, Minnesota residents are quite wealthy. A typical household earns $61,481 each year, the 10th highest annual median household income in the nation. As in most states with low poverty rates and high incomes, the average Minnesota resident will enjoy a relatively long life. The state has one of the lowest poverty rates in the country, 4 percentage points below the national rate of 15.5%. The life expectancy at birth in Minnesota of 81.1 years is slightly higher than the national life expectancy of 78.9 years. An education helps improve access to the job market, and states with high college attainment rates also often have low unemployment rates. In Minnesota, more than one in three adults have a college degree, one of the highest proportions in the nation. Minnesota’s unemployment rate of 3.8% is one of the lowest jobless rates in the nation.

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4. New Jersey
> 10-yr. population growth:
4.9% (9th lowest)
> 2014 unemployment rate: 6.6% (13th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.1% (4th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.3 years (8th highest)

In states with the best living conditions, demand for housing is often very high, which tends to drive up home values. A typical home in New Jersey is valued at $313,200, well above the national median home value of $181,200. As in many of the other best states to live in, New Jersey residents are quite wealthy. A typical household earns $71,919 each year, the second highest annual median household income in the nation. New Jersey also has the fourth lowest poverty rate at 11.1%. As in most states with low poverty rates and high incomes, the average New Jersey resident will enjoy a relatively long life. The life expectancy at birth in New Jersey is 80.3 years, compared to the national life expectancy of 78.9 years.

3. New Hampshire
> 10-yr. population growth:
4.3% (7th lowest)
> 2014 unemployment rate: 4.3% (8th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 9.2% (the lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.3 years (8th highest)

Relative to some other best states to live, like New Jersey or Massachusetts, New Hampshire lacks the attractions and facilities that people look for. The state has among the lowest concentrations of restaurants, bars, and hotels in the country. Still, the state is one of the best in the country based on fundamental factors such as income, poverty, and employment. New Hampshire has the lowest poverty rate in the country at 9.2%, relative to the national poverty rate of 15.5%. A typical home in New Hampshire is valued at $236,400, well above the national median home value of $181,200. A typical household earns $66,532 each year, the 7th highest annual median household income in the nation. As in most states with low poverty rates and high incomes, the average New Hampshire resident will enjoy a relatively long life. The life expectancy at birth in New Hampshire is 80.3 years, versus the national life expectancy of 78.9 years.

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2. Connecticut
> 10-yr. population growth:
5.9% (12th lowest)
> 2014 unemployment rate: 6.6% (13th highest)
> Poverty rate: 10.8% (3rd lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.8 years (3rd highest)

A typical home in Connecticut is valued at $267,200, well above the national median home value of $181,200. Connecticut residents, like those in many of the best states to live in, have relatively high incomes. A typical household earns $70,048 each year, the fourth highest median household income in the nation. Connecticut’s poverty rate of 10.8% is also lower than in all but two other states. Low poverty rates and high incomes often coincide with longer lives, and tended to be the case for Connecticut residents as well. The life expectancy at birth in Connecticut is 80.8 years, versus the national life expectancy of 78.9 years. In states with the best living conditions, demand for housing is often very high, which tends to drive up home values.

1. Massachusetts
> 10-yr. population growth:
9.1% (21st lowest)
> 2014 unemployment rate: 5.8% (24th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.6% (10th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.5 years (5th highest)

As in many of the other best states to live in, Massachusetts residents are quite wealthy. A typical household earns $69,160 each year, the sixth highest annual median household income in the nation. Similarly, the state’s poverty rate of 11.6% is one of the lowest in the nation. As in most states with low poverty rates and high incomes, the average Massachusetts resident will enjoy a relatively long life. The life expectancy at birth in Massachusetts is 80.5 years, versus the national life expectancy of 79 years. Massachusetts’ nation-leading college attainment rate of 41.2% — it is the only state where more than two in five adults have a bachelor’s degree — is a major driver of the state’s strong economy and high quality of life. Students in the state also score well above average on standardized tests.

In states with the best living conditions, demand for housing is often very high, which tends to drive up home values. A typical home in Massachusetts is valued at $338,900, well above the national median home value of $181,200.