Best and Worst States to Live In

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26. Pennsylvania
> 10-yr. population change: +1.6% (11th lowest)
> 2018 unemployment: 4.3% (10th highest)
> Poverty rate: 12.2% (23rd lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.3 years (17th shortest)

Average life expectancy at birth in Pennsylvania is just 78.3 years, nearly a year short of the national average life expectancy of 79.1 years. Adults with a college education are more likely to lead healthier lifestyles and report better health outcomes, and the lower than average life expectancy in Pennsylvania may be tied in part to the lower educational attainment in the state. Some 31.8% of adults in Pennsylvania have a bachelor’s degree compared to 32.6% of American adults.

Slow population growth in a state can be a sign that state is a relatively less desirable place to live compared to its neighbors. In the last decade, the number of people living in Pennsylvania climbed by only 1.6% while the U.S. population grew by 6.6% over the same period.

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27. Idaho
> 10-yr. population change: +13.5% (6th highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 2.8% (7th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.8% (20th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.4 years (22nd longest)

Idaho has one of the lower bachelor’s degree attainment rates among states. Just 27.7% of adults in Idaho have a bachelor’s degree or higher, well below the share of 32.6% of adults nationwide.

Americans with higher educational attainment typically report better health outcomes and higher incomes. Despite the lower bachelor’s degree attainment rate, Idaho residents are less likely to live in poverty and more likely to live longer than the typical American. The state’s 11.8% poverty rate is below the 13.6% national poverty rate, and life expectancy at birth in the state is 79.4 years, slightly higher than the national average of 79.1 years.

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28. Delaware
> 10-yr. population change: +9.3% (13th highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 3.8% (25th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.5% (24th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.6 years (21st shortest)

Delaware residents are more likely to be less healthy than the typical American. The average life expectancy at birth in Delaware in 78.6 years, about six months below the national average. State residents are more likely to be financially secure, however, as Delaware’s poverty rate of 12.5% is slightly lower than the national rate of 13.6%.

In recent years, Delaware has reported a faster growing population than most states. Over the last decade, the number of people living in the state has climbed by 9.3%, far faster than the 6.6% national population growth over the same period.

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29. Arizona
> 10-yr. population change: +8.7% (15th highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 4.8% (5th highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.0% (14th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.9 years (11th longest)

The Arizona population appears to be healthier in general than the U.S. population as a whole. The average life expectancy at birth in the state is 79.9 years, longer than the national average of 79.1 years.

Many in the state, however, are likely suffering financially due to the relatively weak job market. Arizona’s annual unemployment rate of 4.8% is well above the comparable national rate of 3.9%. The lack of jobs is likely contributing to the state’s higher than average poverty rate. Some 14.0% of Arizona residents live below the poverty line, compared to 13.1% of Americans nationwide.

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30. Wyoming
> 10-yr. population change: +6.1% (24th highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 4.1% (15th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.1% (17th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.0 years (24th shortest)

Population growth can be indicative of how attractive a state is to potential new residents and those looking to start a family. The number of people living in Wyoming climbed by 6.1% over the last 10 years, a slower pace than the 6.6% national population growth rate over that time.

Wyoming’s job market is relatively weak. An average of 4.1% of the labor force was unemployed in 2018, compared to the national annual unemployment rate of 3.9%. Despite the relative lack of employment opportunities, Wyoming residents are more likely to be financially secure than the typical American. Just 11.1% of Wyoming residents live below the poverty line, a smaller share than in most states and below the 13.1% national poverty rate.

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