Special Report

All 50 States Ranked by Livability

Source: f11photo / Getty Images

31. Pennsylvania
> Population change; 2010-2019: +0.7% (4th smallest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 4.4% (7th highest)
> Poverty rate: 12.0% (22nd highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.3 years (17th shortest)

Though Pennsylvania’s median household income is about $2,300 lower than the U.S. median of $65,712, the state’s poverty rate of 12.0% is lower than most states and just under the 12.3% national rate. Goods and services tend to be 2.5% cheaper in Pennsylvania than they are on average nationwide.

However, the state struggles in several economic measures. An estimated 13.5% of residents rely on food stamps, the sixth highest share among states, and the 2019 unemployment rate of 4.4% ranked seventh highest that year. Also, Pennsylvania’s life expectancy at birth of 78.3 years is nearly a full year shorter than the average nationwide.

Source: pabradyphoto / Getty Images

32. South Dakota
> Population change; 2010-2019: +8.4% (14th largest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 3.3% (22nd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.9% (23rd highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.1 years (25th shortest)

By some key socioeconomic measures, South Dakota is in-line with, or better than, the U.S. as a whole. For example, the state’s 11.9% poverty rate is slightly lower than the 12.3% national rate. Additionally, life expectancy at birth in the state is 79.1 years — the same as it is across the United States.

One area in which South Dakota lags, however, is in educational attainment. Only 29.7% of state residents aged 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 33.1% of U.S. adults.

Source: RoschetzkyIstockPhoto / Getty Images

33. Texas
> Population change; 2010-2019: +14.8% (2nd largest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 3.5% (24th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.6% (11th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.1 years (25th longest)

Texans are more likely than residents in most other states to face serious financial hardship. An estimated 13.6% of the state population lives below the poverty line, a larger share than the 12.3% national poverty rate.

Incomes tend to go up with educational attainment, and in Texas, adults are less likely to have a four-year college degree than adults in much of the rest of the country. Just 30.8% of the 25 and older residents in the state have a bachelor’s degree, compared to 33.1% of adults nationwide.

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

34. North Carolina
> Population change; 2010-2019: +9.7% (12th largest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 3.9% (15th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.6% (11th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.0 years (15th shortest)

North Carolina’s median household income is $57,341 annually, over $8,000 less than the U.S. median. However, goods and services are more than 8% cheaper in the state than what they cost on average nationwide.

Income is closely tied with education, and North Carolina lags behind much of the rest of the country in educational attainment. Though the state’s high school attainment rate of 88.6% is the same as the national rate, it ranks just 33rd among states. North Carolina also has a 32.3% bachelor’s degree attainment rate for adults 25 and over, compared to the national rate of 33.1%.

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

35. Georgia
> Population change; 2010-2019: +9.3% (13th largest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 3.4% (24th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 13.3% (14th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.8 years (13th shortest)

Georgia’s population has one of the lower life expectancies at birth among states. On average, Americans born in Georgia live 77.8 years, over a year below the average life expectancy at birth nationwide of 79.1 years.

Georgians are also more likely than the typical American to struggle economically. An estimated 13.3% of the state population live below the line, compared to 12.3% of the U.S. population.