America’s Best States to Live In

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5. Minnesota
> 10-yr. population change: +7.3% (22nd smallest increase)
> Annual unemployment: 3.5% (14th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 9.5% (4th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.9 years (2nd longest)

Education can be a crucial factor that helps people obtain high-paying jobs and stay out of poverty. Minnesota’s high school graduation rate of 93.1% is the highest of any state. Similarly, 74.4% of adults have at least some postsecondary education, also the highest share of any state. This means state residents are better equipped to find high-paying jobs. The state has one of the lower poverty rates, at 9.5%. It also has the absolute lowest rate of extreme poverty. Just 2.1% of state families earn less than $10,000 annually.

Minnesota has the second highest life expectancy, at 80.9 years, trailing only Hawaii. The state also has the lowest premature mortality rate in the country. Just 263.1 per 100,000 residents die before age 75 in a given year.

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4. Colorado
> 10-yr. population change: +15.3% (5th largest increase)
> Annual unemployment: 2.8% (4th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.3% (9th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.2 years (8th longest)

Colorado is the fourth best state to live in for a number of reasons. Only 2.8% of the state’s labor force is out of work, the fourth lowest unemployment rate of any state and less than the nationwide jobless rate of 4.4%. In Colorado, 41.2% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, the second largest share of any state.

Educated individuals tend to lead healthier and longer lives. Only about one in five Colorado adults are obese, the smallest share of any other state and well below the national obesity rate of 28.0%. State adults also exercise more than adults in any other state. Also, the premature death rate in the state of 281 deaths before age 75 per 100,000 people is well below the national rate of 336 premature deaths per 100,000 people. This likely contributes to Colorado’s high life expectancy of 80.2 years, the eighth longest of all states.

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3. Connecticut
> 10-yr. population change: +2.5% (8th smallest increase)
> Annual unemployment: 4.7% (14th highest)
> Poverty rate: 9.6% (5th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.6 years (4th longest)

Connecticut residents are some of the best educated in the country. Some 38.7% of adults in the state have at least a bachelor’s degree. The state’s high educational attainment has likely led to higher incomes among residents. The state’s median household income of $77,385 a year is the fifth highest among states. Connecticut also has one of the lowest poverty rates in the country, at 9.6%. Only a handful of states have poverty rates below 10%. Connecticut also has one of the healthiest populations — it is one of 10 states with a life expectancy above 80 years.

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2. New Hampshire
> 10-yr. population change: +2.0% (6th smallest increase)
> Annual unemployment: 2.7% (3rd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 7.7% (the lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.2 years (9th longest)

New Hampshire has one of the strongest job markets in the nation with only 2.7% of the labor force out of work — the third lowest unemployment rate nationwide. People who have consistent work are more likely to earn incomes that exceed the poverty level. In New Hampshire, this appears to be the case. The median annual household income of $73,381 is about $10,000 more than the median nationwide. New Hampshire also has the lowest poverty rate in the nation, with only 7.7% of the population living in poverty. This is well below the national poverty rate of 13.4%.

New Hampshire is also one of the most crime-free states. In the United States, there were 2,362 property crimes per 100,000 people, but in New Hampshire, there were just 1,382 property crimes per every 100,000 people.

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1. Massachusetts
> 10-yr. population change: +6.4% (21st smallest increase)
> Annual unemployment: 3.7% (18th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.5% (10th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.4 years (5th longest)

Massachusetts is America’s best state to live for many reasons. State adults are the best educated in the country, as 43.4% hold at least a bachelor’s degree. This high level of educational attainment sets these residents up for higher paying positions in their career. Massachusetts has the fourth highest median household income, at $77,385 a year. The state’s poverty rate of 10.5% is well below the U.S. rate.

Massachusetts also has some of the best health outcomes in the country, possibly because residents are the most likely to have health insurance. Nationwide, 8.7% of people lack health insurance. In Massachusetts, just 2.8% lack insurance. The state also has among the highest concentrations of doctors, dentists, and mental health professionals per capita. Massachusetts’ life expectancy of 80.4 years is the fifth highest nationwide.