Special Report

All 50 States Ranked by Livability

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26. Florida
> Population change; 2010-2019: +14.0% (4th largest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 3.1% (15th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.7% (19th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.0 years (10th longest)

Florida is one of only 10 states nationwide with an average life expectancy at birth of 80 years or higher. Nationwide, the average life expectancy is 79.1 years at birth.

In other important measures, however, Florida trails the rest of the country. For example, 12.7% of residents of the state live below the poverty line, compared to 12.3% of Americans nationwide. Additionally, only 30.7% of Floridians age 25 and up have a bachelor’s degree, compared to 33.1% of Americans in the same age group.

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27. Iowa
> Population change; 2010-2019: +3.4% (20th smallest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 2.7% (6th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.2% (21st lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.4 years (21st longest)

In Iowa, average life expectancy at birth is 79.4 years, closely in line with the overall national average. Iowa residents are also somewhat less likely than the typical American to face serious financial hardship, as the poverty rate in the state stands at 11.2%, compared to the 12.3% national rate.

One important area in which Iowa lags behind the country as a whole, however, is in educational attainment. Just 29.3% of the 25 and older population in the state have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to nearly one-third of adults nationwide.

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28. Montana
> Population change; 2010-2019: +7.9% (16th largest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 3.5% (24th highest)
> Poverty rate: 12.6% (20th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.8 years (23rd shortest)

The median annual household income in Montana is roughly $8,500 lower than the U.S. median of $65,712. However, goods and services tend to be less expensive in the state than they are on average nationwide. Montana’s poverty rate of 12.6% is slightly higher than the nationwide 12.3% rate.

Montana has the second highest share of adults 25 and older with a high school diploma, at 94.2%, well above the national 88.6% rate. Yet 33.6% of adult residents have a college degree, just slightly higher than the national 33.1% college degree attainment rate.

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29. Idaho
> Population change; 2010-2019: +13.7% (6th largest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 2.9% (11th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.2% (21st lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.3 years (22nd longest)

Idaho is growing more than twice as fast as the typical state, with its population increasing by 13.7% from 2010 to 2019. The state’s median annual household income is just under $61,000 — $4,000 lower than the U.S. median, its poverty rate is 11.2% — 1.1 percentage points lower than the national poverty rate. In 2019, Idaho’s unemployment rate was lower than all but 10 other states, as 2.9% of the labor force was looking for work.

Idaho also ranks as one of the 10 safest states in the nation, with a violent crime rate of 224 incidents per 100,000 residents. The U.S. violent crime rate is 367 incidents per 100,000.

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30. Arizona
> Population change; 2010-2019: +13.5% (7th largest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 4.7% (6th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.5% (13th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.9 years (12th longest)

Arizona is one of the fastest growing states in the country, yet it lags behind much of the country in a number of key economic indicators. The typical household in the state earns $62,055, or about $3,700 less than the nationwide median.

Arizona’s poverty rate of 13.5% is higher than the national rate and higher than all but a dozen other states. The state had the sixth highest unemployment rate in 2019, at 4.7%.