Special Report

All 50 States Ranked by Livability

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11. Vermont
> Population change; 2010-2019: -0.3% (4th largest decrease)
> 2019 unemployment: 2.4% (2nd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.2% (15th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.7 years (16th longest)

Vermont reported the second lowest 2019 unemployment rate, at just 2.4%. Unemployment is closely tied to educational attainment, and the state has one of the country’s highest educational attainment rates. In Vermont, 38.7% of adults 25 and older have at least a bachelor’s degree, the seventh largest share in the country.

State residents tend to be fairly healthy, with a life expectancy at birth of 79.7 years. Just 4.5% of Vermonters lack health insurance, compared to 9.2% of Americans overall. Though Vermont is one of the best states to live, its population is in decline. It is one of just four states in which the population decreased from 2010 to 2019.

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12. Utah
> Population change; 2010-2019: +15.5% (largest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 2.6% (4th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 8.9% (2nd lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.9 years (14th longest)

Thanks in part to a strong job market, Utah has one of the lowest poverty rates of any state in the country. Just 8.9% of state residents live on poverty level incomes, a smaller share than in every state other than New Hampshire.

Several of the states that rank well on this list are growing rapidly, but none as fast as Utah. Since 2010, the number of people living in the state climbed by a nation-leading 15.5%. Over the same period, the U.S. population expanded by 6.1%

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13. California
> Population change; 2010-2019: +5.8% (20th largest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 4% (12th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.8% (25th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 81.6 years (2nd longest)

California is home to one of the healthiest populations in the United States. Average life expectancy at birth in the state is 81.6 years — longer than in every state except Hawaii and more than two years longer than the national average.

College-educated Americans are more likely to make healthier lifestyle choices than those without a postsecondary education, and partially as a result, they tend to live longer and healthier lives. In California, 35.0% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to the national bachelor’s degree attainment rate of 33.1%.

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14. New York
> Population change; 2010-2019: +0.3% (2nd smallest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 4% (12th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.0% (16th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 81.3 years (3rd longest)

New Yorkers have among the best health outcomes of residents of any state, with America’s third highest life expectancy at birth of 81.3 years. The state has the seventh lowest uninsured rate in the country, as 5.2% of residents lack health insurance.

Though New York has a relatively high median annual household income, at over $72,000. Still, there is a relatively wide disparity in the state between the wealthy and those living in poverty. Of all households in New York, 12.1% earn at least $200,000 per year — the sixth largest share among states. At the same time, 6.7% of state households earn less than $10,000, 10th largest share of all states. Also, the state’s poverty rate of 13.0% is higher than the nationwide rate of 12.3%.

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15. Rhode Island
> Population change; 2010-2019: +0.6% (3rd smallest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 3.6% (20th highest)
> Poverty rate: 10.8% (18th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.9 years (11th longest)

In Rhode Island, the typical household earns over $71,000 annually, compared to $65,712 the typical American household earns. The additional income dollars also go further, as goods and services typically cost a bit less in Rhode Island than they do in the U.S. overall. The state has a relatively low poverty rate, at 10.8%, yet 14.5% of residents rely on food stamps — the third highest share of any state.

Only 10 states have a longer life expectancy at birth than Rhode Island’s average life expectancy of 79.9 years. The state also has the second lowest uninsured rate, with 4.1% of residents lacking health insurance.