Special Report

The States With the Best and Worst Economies


To determine the states with the best and worst economies, 24/7 Wall St. ranked states based on an index comprising five measures: GDP growth, job growth, unemployment rate, poverty rate, and the bachelor’s degree attainment rate among adults. The average annual GDP growth rate from Q1 2015 to Q1 2020 came from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and was included in the index at full weight. The average annual employment growth rate from June 2015 to June 2020 came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and was included in the index at full weight. The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate as of June 2020 also came from the BLS and was included in the index at full weight. The share of adults living below the poverty line came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey and was included in the index at full weight.

In addition to the components in the index, we considered additional state data. Real GDP and contributions to real GDP growth by industry came from the BEA. Median household income, college attainment rate, and the share of workers commuting outside of the state for work came from the 2018 ACS. The affordability ratio of median home value to median household income is a 24/7 Wall St. calculation based on ACS data. Data on regional price parity, a measure of cost of living, came from the BEA and is for 2018. Population change due to natural causes and net migration from 2010 to 2019 came from the U.S. Census Bureau. All data are for the most recent period available.

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