America’s Best States to Live In

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30. Delaware
> 10-yr. population change: +11.2% (11th largest increase)
> Annual unemployment: 4.6% (17th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.6% (19th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.7 years (21st shortest)

The median household income in Delaware of $62,852 is just slightly above the national median household income of $60,336. There is, however, a high level of economic disparity in Delaware. The state has the ninth highest share of families that make under $10,000 a year, at 4.6%, exceeding the comparable national share of 3.8%.

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29. Wyoming
> 10-yr. population change: +10.8% (13th largest increase)
> Annual unemployment: 4.2% (25th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.3% (19th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.6 years (20th shortest)

Wyoming has the smallest population of the 50 states, but it is growing faster than most. From 2007 to 2017, the state’s population increased by more than 10%. The state’s median household income of $60,434 a year is roughly in line with the U.S. median household income.

Wyoming is one of just two states, along with Alabama, whose annual unemployment dropped by more than a full percentage point from 2016 to 2017. Wyoming’s unemployment rate dropped by 1.1 percentage point, while the U.S. annual unemployment dropped 0.5 percentage points. The state’s annual unemployment rate of 4.2% is just below the national rate of 4.4%.

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28. Florida
> 10-yr. population change: +15.0% (6th largest increase)
> Annual unemployment: 4.2% (25th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 14.0% (17th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.5 years (21st longest)

Florida has one of the higher life expectancies of all states, at 79.5 years, just slightly above the life expectancy nationwide of 79.1 years. While Florida ranks high in life expectancy, it ranks on the lower end in several socioeconomic measures. The median national income of $52,594 is lower than the national figure of $60,336, and the poverty rate of 14.0% exceeds the national rate of 13.4%. Americans with lower incomes are less likely to have health insurance coverage. In Florida, nearly 13.0% of residents do not have health insurance, the fifth highest share among all states.

The housing situation in Florida appears to be less than ideal. About 21.5% of households experience a problem with at least one of the following issues: overcrowding, high housing costs, a lack of kitchen, or a lack of plumbing facilities. Floridians also have a longer commute to work than most other states. Some 39.5% of commuters drive at least 30 minutes to work, the seventh highest share of any state.

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27. South Dakota
> 10-yr. population change: +9.2% (19th largest increase)
> Annual unemployment: 3.3% (12th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 13.0% (24th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.6 years (19th longest)

South Dakota residents report feeling healthier than those in any other state. Just 11.8% of South Dakota adults report they are in either fair or poor health — the lowest share of any state. This means that more than 88% of adults say they are in good, very good, or excellent health. Nationwide, 16.0% of Americans report being in fair or poor health. South Dakota is also one of the more inexpensive places to live. Residents spend about 88 cents on goods and services for every dollar the typical American spends.

South Dakota is one of just three states that had an increase in unemployment in 2017. The state is tied with Alaska for the largest increase in unemployment — 0.3 percentage points. Nationwide, unemployment fell 0.5 percentage points during that time.

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26. Alaska
> 10-yr. population change: +8.2% (23rd largest increase)
> Annual unemployment: 7.2% (the highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.1% (16th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.4 years (18th shortest)

Alaska is one of the most affluent states, with a median household income of $73,181 a year — nearly $13,000 above the national median. High-income states typically have a higher than average cost of living as well, and in Alaska, goods and services cost 5.4% more on average than they do nationwide. In Alaska, however, the cost of living is likely higher because of how much the non-contiguous state depends on imports. Alaska also has a relatively low poverty rate of 11.1%, below the national rate of 13.4%. There are several measures that Alaska falls behind.

A whopping 13.7% of Alaska residents do not have health insurance, the third largest share among states and far more than the 8.7% of uninsured Americans nationwide. Alaska crime levels also are high. The state has the highest rates of rape, aggravated assault, and motor vehicle theft than any other state. This non-contiguous state also has the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 7.2%.