Special Report

All 50 States Ranked by Livability

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21. Maine
> Population change; 2010-2019: +1.3% (7th smallest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 3% (14th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.9% (19th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.7 years (21st shortest)

Maine is the only state in New England where the average life expectancy is below the national average. Life expectancy at birth in the state is 78.7 years — compared to 79.1 years nationwide and over 80 years in nearby Connecticut and Massachusetts.

In other important socioeconomic measures, however, Maine performs better than the nation. For example, Maine’s poverty rate of 10.9% is well below the 12.3% national average.

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22. Kansas
> Population change; 2010-2019: +1.9% (10th smallest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 3.2% (17th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.4% (24th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.5 years (20th shortest)

Life expectancy at birth in Kansas is 78.5 years — about half a year below the national average.

In other measures, however, Kansas does slightly better than the U.S. as a whole. For example, 34% of adults in the state have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 33.1% of adults nationwide. Additionally, the poverty rate of 11.4% in Kansas is slightly lower than the 12.3% U.S. poverty rate.

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23. Alaska
> Population change; 2010-2019: +2.5% (14th smallest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 6.1% (the highest)
> Poverty rate: 10.1% (14th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.8 years (22nd shortest)

Before the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn, Alaska had the worst job market of any state. An average of 6.1% of the state’s labor force were unemployed in 2019, well above the comparable 3.7% national jobless rate. Still, despite a weak job market, Alaskans tend to be relatively financially secure. The typical household in the state earns $75,463 a year, nearly $10,000 more than the typical U.S. household. Also, about 10.1% of state residents live below the poverty line, compared to 12.3% of all Americans.

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24. Wyoming
> Population change; 2010-2019: +2.5% (16th smallest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 3.6% (20th highest)
> Poverty rate: 10.1% (14th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.0 years (24th shortest)

Based on an index comprising educational attainment, life expectancy, and poverty, Wyoming ranks near the middle of all states. Much like the U.S. as a whole, life expectancy at birth in Wyoming is about 79 years.

Wyoming residents, however, are less likely to live below the poverty line than the typical American, as the state’s 10.1% poverty rate is lower than the comparable 12.3% rate.

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25. Delaware
> Population change; 2010-2019: +8.2% (15th largest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 3.8% (17th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.3% (22nd lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.4 years (18th shortest)

By several key socioeconomic measures, Delaware closely resembles the U.S. as a whole. For example, life expectancy at birth in the state is 78.4 years — only slightly below the comparable 79.1 year national average. The state’s 11.3% poverty rate is also only slightly lower than the 12.3% U.S. rate. Adults in Delaware are nearly equally likely to have a bachelor’s degree as the typical American, as 33.2% of state adult residents have a four-year degree, compared with 33.1% of the U.S. population in the same age group.