America’s Best and Worst States to Live In

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40. Georgia
> 10-yr. population growth: 14.5% (14th highest)
> 2014 unemployment rate: 7.2% (6th highest)
> Poverty rate: 18.3% (7th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.2 years (10th lowest)

Georgia ‘s living conditions are far from being the best in the nation, but they are not the worst either. Crime, for example, is not a major problem in the state, although it is also not unusually rare. Georgia’s violent crime rate of 377.3 incidents per 100,000 residents is similar to the national rate of 365.5 incidents per 100,000 residents. The 29.1% share of adults in Georgia who have at least a bachelor’s degree is roughly in line with the national attainment rate of 30.1% of adults.A typical home in Georgia is worth $147,900, well below the national median home value of $181,200. Despite this indication of low housing demand, however, Georgia’s population growth of 14.5% over the 10 years through 2014 is one of the higher growth rates in the nation.

39. Nevada
> 10-yr. population growth:
19.2% (4th highest)
> 2014 unemployment rate: 7.8% (the highest)
> Poverty rate: 15.2% (23rd highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.1 years (15th lowest)

In Nevada, socioeconomic indicators, as well as the state’s livability ranking, are closer the middle compared with other states. The state’s annual median household income of $51,450, for example, is not much below the national median of $53,657. However, Nevada has one of the highest violent crime rates in the country at 635.6 incidents per 100,000 residents, much higher than the national rate of 356.5 incidents for every 100,000 residents. While for many potential homeowners nothing is more important than a safe neighborhood, many Americans seem to be moving to Nevada. The state’s population grew by over 19% in the 10w-year period through 2014, the fourth fastest growth in the nation.

In Nevada, 23.1% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, one of the lowest college attainment rates in the country. However, the state has one of the nation’s largest entertainment industries, and a significant number of jobs in the industry requires relatively low levels of education.

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38. Indiana
> 10-yr. population growth:
8.3% (17th lowest)
> 2014 unemployment rate: 6.0% (25th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 15.2% (23rd highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.6 years (12th lowest)

The life expectancy in Indiana is roughly inline with that of the nation. The average American can expect to live around 79 years, while the life expectancy at birth in Indiana is 77.6 years. The state reports average socioeconomic measures in a number of areas. However, residents are far less likely to go to college than most Americans. Less than 25% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, versus the 30.1% of adults nationwide with similar education. Home values in the state, at a median of $124,300, are also substantially lower than the nationwide median of of $181,200.

37. North Carolina
> 10-yr. population growth:
18.2% (5th highest)
> 2014 unemployment rate: 6.1% (23rd highest)
> Poverty rate: 17.2% (12th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.8 years (14th lowest)

North Carolina residents are not especially wealthy compared to most state populations. A typical household earns $46,556 each year, the 11th lowest annual median household income in the nation. By contrast, the typical American household earns $53,657 annually. The life expectancy at birth in North Carolina of 78 years is the 14th lowest in the nation but also not especially low compared to the national life expectancy at birth of 78.9 years. The likelihood of having a college education among North Carolinians also aligns with the nationwide norm. About 28.7% of adults in North Carolina have at least a bachelor’s degree, roughly in line with the national attainment rate of 30.1% of adults.

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36. Ohio
> 10-yr. population growth:
3.9% (5th lowest)
> 2014 unemployment rate: 5.7% (21st lowest)
> Poverty rate: 15.8% (20th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.8 years (14th lowest)

Ohio residents tend to be less wealthy than the typical American. A typical household earns $49,308 each year, the 16th lowest annual median household income in the nation. Similarly, a typical home in Ohio is worth $129,100, well below the national median home value of $181,200. However, the low home values contribute to a lower cost of living. As in most relatively poorer states, the cost of living in Ohio is more than 10% lower than it is across the nation on average. Despite the attraction of cheap housing, goods, and services, Ohio’s population grew by just 3.9% over the 10 years through last year, much lower than the U.S. population growth rate of 10.6% over that period.