Special Report

Best County to Live in Every State

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Colorado: Pitkin County
> 5-yr. population change: +4.4% (state: +7.8%)
> Poverty rate: 7.1% (state: 11.5%)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 61.2% (state: 39.4%)
> Life expectancy: 86.5 years (state: 80.2 years)

Pitkin County, Colorado, is located southwest of Denver in the Rocky Mountains and includes the resort towns of Snowmass and Aspen. Pitkin ranks as the best educated county in the state and one of the best educated in the country as 61.2% of adults have a bachelor’s degree — well above the 39.4% and 30.9% shares across the state and country, respectively. Pitkin is also one of the healthiest counties in the country. Life expectancy in Pitkin County is 86.5 years, over seven years longer than the life expectancy nationwide and nearly the highest in the U.S., second only to the 86.8-year life expectancy in nearby Summit County, Colorado.

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Connecticut: Fairfield County
> 5-yr. population change: +3.1% (state: +0.6%)
> Poverty rate: 8.8% (state: 10.1%)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 46.5% (state: 38.4%)
> Life expectancy: 81.8 years (state: 80.6 years)

Fairfield County is located in Connecticut’s southwest corner. County residents live within commuting distance of high-paying jobs in New York City, and the typical county household earns $89,773 a year, the most of any of the eight counties in the state. High income areas are typically home to well-educated populations, and Fairfield is the best educated county in the state. The bachelor’s degree attainment rate among adults in Fairfield is 46.5%, well above the comparable rates of 38.4% statewide and 30.9% nationwide.

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Delaware: New Castle County
> 5-yr. population change: +2.8% (state: +4.8%)
> Poverty rate: 11.9% (state: 12.1%)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 35.7% (state: 31.0%)
> Life expectancy: 79.0 years (state: 78.7 years)

New Castle County, the northernmost county of the three that make up Delaware, is the best county to live in the state. The county’s 11.9% poverty rate is the lowest in the state and slightly below the 12.1% state poverty rate. New Castle is also by far the wealthiest county in Delaware, with a median annual household income of $68,336, over $10,000 higher than the median income in the state’s other two counties. The county contains Wilmington, the most populous city in the state, and area residents live within commuting distance of Philadelphia.

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Florida: St. Johns County
> 5-yr. population change: +18.3% (state: +7.4%)
> Poverty rate: 9.1% (state: 15.5%)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 43.0% (state: 28.5%)
> Life expectancy: 80.7 years (state: 79.5 years)

St. Johns County, Florida, is located just south of Jacksonville, bordered by the St. Johns River to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. With a median annual household income of $73,640, St. Johns is the wealthiest county in Florida. It is also one of only two counties in the state where fewer than one in 10 residents live below the poverty line.

Higher-income Americans often have better access to quality medical care and can afford a greater range of healthy options related to diet and lifestyle, and as a result they typically lead longer, healthier lives. In St. Johns County, life expectancy at birth is 80.7 years, about a year longer than it is across the state as a whole.

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Georgia: Forsyth County
> 5-yr. population change: +19.3% (state: +5.0%)
> Poverty rate: 6.5% (state: 16.9%)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 50.2% (state: 29.9%)
> Life expectancy: 81.3 years (state: 77.4 years)

Forsyth County, Georgia, is located just north of Atlanta. It is one of only a handful of counties in the state where life expectancy at birth exceeds 80 years, and one of only two where over half of all adults have a bachelor’s degree.

Like many counties on this list, Forsyth County is growing rapidly. In the last five years, the number of people living in the county spiked by 19.3%, nearly four times Georgia’s 5.0% population growth over the same period. The most desirable places to live are not often cheap, and Forsyth County is no exception. With a median home value of $391,587, according to data provided by the National Association or Realtors, Forsyth has the most expensive housing market of any county in the state.

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