Special Report

Best County to Live in Every State

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Hawaii: Honolulu County
> 5-yr. population change: +3.6% (state: +4.3%)
> Poverty rate: 9.1% (state: 10.3%)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 34.0% (state: 32.0%)
> Life expectancy: 81.4 years (state: 81.2 years)

Honolulu County, which includes the city of the same name, is the only county in Hawaii where more than one in every three adults have a bachelor’s degree. Greater educational attainment typically leads to higher paying jobs, and it is likely no coincidence that Honolulu is also the only county in the state where most households earn over $80,000 a year.

Like many other densely-populated, urban and suburban counties on this list, Honolulu has a low unemployment rate. Just 2.6% of workers in the county are out of a job, the lowest unemployment rate of any county in the state and well below the 3.6% national unemployment rate.

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Idaho: Teton County
> 5-yr. population change: +7.7% (state: +5.7%)
> Poverty rate: 8.3% (state: 14.5%)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 42.5% (state: 26.8%)
> Life expectancy: 82.1 years (state: 79.5 years)

Teton County, located in eastern Idaho along the Wyoming state border, ranks as the best county to live in the state. Just 8.3% of county residents live below the poverty line, the lowest poverty rate of any Idaho county. Americans facing serious financial hardship have less access to quality health care and the available range of healthy diet and lifestyle options they can afford and often report worse than average health outcomes. Teton County’s low poverty rate likely partially explains the relatively long, healthy lives of area residents. Life expectancy at birth in the county is 82 years, about three and a half years above life expectancy across the state as a whole.

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Illinois: DuPage County
> 5-yr. population change: +1.4% (state: +0.2%)
> Poverty rate: 6.8% (state: 13.5%)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 48.0% (state: 33.4%)
> Life expectancy: 81.9 years (state: 79.0 years)

DuPage County is located just west of Chicago, well within commuting distance of the largest city in the Midwest. Partially as a result, the county’s 2.9% unemployment rate is the lowest of any county in the state and well below the 3.6% national unemployment rate.

DuPage residents are also more likely to lead long, healthy lives than those in other parts of the state. Life expectancy at birth in the county is nearly 82 years, about three years longer than life expectancy across Illinois. Partially as a result, DuPage ranks as the healthiest county in the state.

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Indiana: Hamilton County
> 5-yr. population change: +12.2% (state: +2.0%)
> Poverty rate: 5.0% (state: 14.6%)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 57.5% (state: 25.3%)
> Life expectancy: 81.8 years (state: 77.7 years)

Located just north of Indianapolis, Hamilton County is like many others on this list in that its residents have access to jobs and entertainment options in a major city. Partially as a result, the county’s unemployment rate is low at just 2.3%. Many of the jobs county residents have are high paying as Hamilton is the only county in the state where most households earn over $90,000 a year.

The county’s location and strong economic conditions likely make it an attractive place to live for new residents and families. In the last five years, Hamilton County’s population grew by 12.2%, the largest increase of any county in the state and more than six times Indiana’s 2.0% population growth over the same period.

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Iowa: Dallas County
> 5-yr. population change: +20.7% (state: +2.3%)
> Poverty rate: 5.4% (state: 12.0%)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 49.1% (state: 27.7%)
> Life expectancy: 81.5 years (state: 79.7 years)

Dallas ranks as the best county to live in in Iowa. Located just west of the state capital of Des Moines, county residents live within commuting distance of jobs and cultural attractions of a major city. A relatively affluent area, Dallas County is the only county in the state where more than one in every 10 households earn at least $200,000 a year. The county is also notable for having relatively minimal financial hardship. Just 5.4% of residents live below the poverty line, less than half the 12.0% poverty rate across Iowa.

Across Iowa, joblessness is relatively uncommon. Just 2.4% of workers in the state are out of a job, well below the 3.6% national unemployment rate. In Dallas County, unemployment is even less common. The county’s 1.5% unemployment rate is nearly the lowest of any U.S. county or county equivalent.

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