Special Report

Best and Worst States to Live In


To identify the best and worst states to live in, 24/7 Wall St. constructed an index comprising three socioeconomic measures for each state: poverty rate, the percentage of adults (25 and older) who have at least a bachelor’s degree, and life expectancy at birth. The selection of these three measures was modeled on the United Nations’ Human Development Index.

Poverty rates and bachelor’s degree attainment rates came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey. Life expectancy at birth is from the 2019 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program, and is based on data for the years 2015-2017.

Unemployment rates are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and are annual for 2018. Crime data came from the FBI’s 2018 Uniform Crime Report. Uninsured rates, median household incomes, high school diploma attainment rates, and median home values also came from the ACS. Other data on health behaviors and outcomes came from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps.

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