Best and Worst States to Live In

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36. Michigan
> 10-yr. population change: +0.3% (4th lowest)
> 2018 unemployment: 4.1% (15th highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.1% (13th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.1 years (15th shortest)

Rapid population growth can be indicative of a state’s appeal as a place to move or start a family. Over the last decade, Michigan’s population grew by only 0.3%, even as over the same period, the U.S. population expanded by 6.6%.

Incomes in Michigan are relatively low. The typical household in the state earns $56,697 a year, considerably less than the $61,937 the typical American household earns a year. Serious financial hardship is also more common in Michigan than it is nationwide, as 14.1% of state residents live below the poverty line compared to the 13.1% U.S. poverty rate.

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37. Missouri
> 10-yr. population change: +2.3% (13th lowest)
> 2018 unemployment: 3.2% (13th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 13.2% (19th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.4 years (12th shortest)

Life expectancy at birth is just 77.4 years in Missouri, lower than in the vast majority of states and nearly two years below the 79.1-year national average. Lower-income Americans can afford fewer healthy options related to diet, lifestyle, and health care, and often report worse health outcomes as a result. In Missouri, the typical household earns $54,478 a year, about $7,500 less than the national median household income.

Higher educational attainment typically leads to higher incomes, and adults in Missouri are less likely to have completed college than the typical American adult. Just 29.5% of state residents 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree, a smaller share than the 32.6% of American adults in the same age group.

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38. Nevada
> 10-yr. population change: +14.8% (4th highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 4.6% (7th highest)
> Poverty rate: 12.9% (23rd highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.4 years (18th shortest)

Lower educational attainment can be indicative of lower quality of life overall. Those with a higher level of education are more likely to lead healthier lives and have higher incomes. In Nevada, just 24.9% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, the sixth lowest share among states.

The state’s unemployment rate has long been one of the highest in the country. In 2018, 4.6% of the state’s labor force, on average, was out of a job, the seventh highest unemployment rate among states. A large share of Americans have health insurance through their employers, and 11.2% of Nevada’s population does not have health insurance — also the seventh highest uninsured rate among states.

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39. Ohio
> 10-yr. population change: +1.3% (8th lowest)
> 2018 unemployment: 4.6% (7th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.9% (16th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.0 years (10th shortest)

Rapid population growth can be indicative of a state’s appeal to new residents looking to move or start a family. Over the last decade, Ohio’s population grew by only 1.3%, even as over the same period, the U.S. population expanded by 6.6%.

The low population growth may be attributable in part to a weak job market and low incomes. The annual unemployment in Ohio is 4.6%, compared to the 3.9% national rate. Additionally, Ohio residents are more likely than the typical American to live below the poverty line, and the typical household in the state has an income of $56,111 a year, nearly $6,000 less than the typical American household income.

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40. Indiana
> 10-yr. population change: +4.2% (20th lowest)
> 2018 unemployment: 3.4% (20th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 13.1% (20th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.1 years (11th shortest)

Indiana has one of the lower average life expectancies among states, at 77.1 years, compared to a national life expectancy at birth of 79.1 years. Considering some of the state’s major health indicators, Indiana’s life expectancy figure is not surprising. Among all states, Indiana has the 10th highest share of adults who smoke, the 10th highest adult obesity rate, and the 10th highest share of adults who report getting no exercise during their leisure time.

One bright spot for the state is the fact that it has a relatively low rate of severe poverty. Among the state’s households, 6.1% have an annual income of less than $10,000 — slightly less than the national figure of 6.3%.

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