Special Report

All 50 States Ranked by Livability

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36. Michigan
> Population change; 2010-2019: +1.1% (6th smallest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 4.1% (10th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.0% (16th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.0 years (14th shortest)

Incomes in Michigan are relatively low. The typical household in the state earns $59,584 a year, over $6,000 below the national median household income. Michigan residents are also more likely than most Americans to face serious financial hardship, as 13.0% of the population lives below the poverty line, compared to 12.3% of the U.S. population.

Michigan residents are also less likely to live long, healthy lives than the typical American. Average life expectancy at birth in the state is 78 years — about one-year below the comparable national average.

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37. Nevada
> Population change; 2010-2019: +13.9% (5th largest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 3.9% (15th highest)
> Poverty rate: 12.5% (21st highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.5 years (19th shortest)

Nevada ranks sixth from the bottom in both high school and bachelor’s degree attainment rates. Of Nevada adults 25 and older, 86.9% have at least a high school diploma, and 25.7% hold at least a bachelor’s degree. The state’s life expectancy at birth is 78.5 years, compared to the 79.1 year expectancy nationwide.

Nevada’s median household income of $63,276 is roughly $2,500 lower than the national median. It also has a slightly higher poverty rate, at 12.5%, than the national poverty rate.

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38. Missouri
> Population change; 2010-2019: +2.4% (13th smallest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 3.3% (22nd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.9% (18th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.3 years (12th shortest)

Missouri is one of the least expensive states to live in. Goods and services in the state are about 11% less expensive than they are nationwide. Still, many in the state are likely struggling financially, as 12.9% of the population lives below the poverty line, and 6.3% of households earn less than $10,000 annually. Nationwide, the poverty rate stands at 12.3%, and 5.8% of households earn less than $10,000 annually.

Higher-income individuals often have greater access to health care and can afford a greater range of healthy options related to diet and lifestyle, and partially as a result, are more likely to live longer, healthier lives. The low incomes and more pervasive financial hardship in Missouri may explain, in part, why average life expectancy at birth in the state, at 77.3 years, is nearly two years shy of the national average.

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39. Indiana
> Population change; 2010-2019: +3.7% (21st smallest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 3.3% (22nd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.9% (23rd highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.0 years (11th shortest)

Of the dozen worst-ranking states on this list, Indiana is the only one with a lower than average poverty rate. Just 11.9% of Indiana residents live below the poverty line, compared to 12.3% of Americans nationwide.

In other important measures, however, Indiana lags behind much of the rest of the nation. For example, average life expectancy at birth in the state is just 77 years, lower than in all but 10 other states and about two years shy of the comparable national average.

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40. Ohio
> Population change; 2010-2019: +1.3% (8th smallest increase)
> 2019 unemployment: 4.1% (10th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.1% (15th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.9 years (9th shortest)

Before the COVID-19 recession, Ohio’s economy was lagging behind most other state economies. An average of 4.1% of the labor force in the state was unemployed in 2019, and 13.1% of the population lived below the poverty line — compared to the national 3.7% unemployment rate and 12.3% poverty rate that year.

Ohio also trails the U.S. as a whole in a key measure of public health. The state is one of only nine where life expectancy at birth is below 77 years. Nationwide, life expectancy at birth is just over 79 years.