Special Report

America’s Luckiest -- and Unluckiest -- States

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Is there a correlation between the state where you live and how lucky you are? It might. It might seem that way. Your chances of dying in a car crash or other accident; your employment and financial status; your lifespan; and even your chances of winning a lottery — which might be considered the ultimate indicator of luck — vary dramatically from one state to another. (Luck aside, these are the best and worst states to live in.)

To determine the luckiest (and unluckiest) states, 24/7 Tempo created an index based on a number of factors, using the most recent data available: average lottery winnings per adult;  number of traffic fatalities; total number of accidental deaths; life expectancy; and unemployment rate. We weighted each factor, giving full weight to lottery winnings per capita, traffic fatalities, and overall accidental deaths. Slightly less weight was given to life expectancy and unemployment rate. Not every state has a lottery, however, and in those cases, only the other factors were considered. (Data came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the U.S. Census Bureau.)

If you’re looking to change your luck (and who isn’t?), a move to the Northeast looks like your best bet. Although the Northeast gets somewhat of a bad rap for its high cost of living and crowded cities, the residents of those states are pretty, well, lucky. Among the top five luckiest states, four — Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and yes, much maligned New Jersey — are located along the upper Eastern Seaboard. (The outlier is Utah, ranked No. 5.) People in those states can expect to live to the age of about 80. 

Maybe it has something to do with that old saying about the “luck of the Irish.” Roughly 20% of the residents of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island claim Irish heritage, and New Jersey has the most Irish city in the U.S. — the shore town of Ocean City — where more than 30% of residents trace their ancestry to the Emerald Isle.

Click here to see America’s luckiest — and unluckiest — states

If those states have an abundance of good fortune, other states are less lucky. Unfortunately, a good number of those states are found in the South. The unluckiest state on this list is Mississippi, followed by Alabama and Oklahoma. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that Mississippi and Alabama don’t have state lotteries, thereby lowering their residents’ chances of being lucky. If those states want to change their luck, a lottery may be a good idea. (For places that do have these games of chance, here’s how much the average person spends on the lottery in every state.)

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50. Mississippi
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: N/A
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 1,216.30 per 100,000 people (3rd highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 21.61 per 100,000 people (2nd highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 74.6 years (2nd lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 6.1% (17th highest)

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49. Alabama
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: N/A
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 1,046.42 per 100,000 people (10th highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 18.97 per 100,000 people (5th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 75.1 years (3rd lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 3.4% (7th lowest)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

48. Oklahoma
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $80.54 (4th lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 1,142.44 per 100,000 people (6th highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 16.17 per 100,000 people (10th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 75.6 years (7th lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 4.0% (13th lowest)

Source: ferrantraite / Getty Images

47. New Mexico
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $88.50 (5th lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 1,304.64 per 100,000 people (2nd highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 20.22 per 100,000 people (3rd highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.2 years (14th lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 8.0% (2nd highest)

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Source: f11photo / Getty Images

46. Louisiana
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $147.02 (11th lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 1,075.61 per 100,000 people (8th highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 15.64 per 100,000 people (11th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 75.6 years (6th lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 7.1% (9th highest)

Source: Dean_Fikar / Getty Images

45. Wyoming
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $67.91 (2nd lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 1,149.01 per 100,000 people (5th highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 25.40 per 100,000 people (the highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.1 years (22nd lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 5.4% (22nd highest)

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Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

44. West Virginia
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $440.21 (11th highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 1,482.19 per 100,000 people (the highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 14.51 per 100,000 people (13th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 74.4 years (the lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 5.5% (21st highest)

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

43. Arkansas
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $222.31 (16th lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 996.88 per 100,000 people (17th highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 16.73 per 100,000 people (7th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 75.6 years (8th lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 4.4% (18th lowest)

Source: photoquest7 / Getty Images

42. Nevada
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: N/A
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 763.66 per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 9.87 per 100,000 people (21st lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.9 years (18th lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 7.8% (5th highest)

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Source: f11photo / Getty Images

41. Missouri
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $295.39 (21st highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 1,044.62 per 100,000 people (11th highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 14.34 per 100,000 people (14th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.6 years (10th lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 4.2% (17th lowest)

Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

40. Kentucky
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $306.57 (19th highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 1,183.64 per 100,000 people (4th highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 16.38 per 100,000 people (9th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 75.3 years (4th lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 4.5% (19th lowest)

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39. South Dakota
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $266.01 (19th lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 991.46 per 100,000 people (18th highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 11.53 per 100,000 people (24th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.9 years (22nd highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 2.8% (5th lowest)

Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

38. Ohio
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $344.23 (14th highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 972.39 per 100,000 people (20th highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 9.86 per 100,000 people (20th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.8 years (11th lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 5.0% (25th highest)

Source: peeterv / Getty Images

37. Montana
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $75.84 (3rd lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 1,116.98 per 100,000 people (7th highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 17.22 per 100,000 people (6th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.7 years (24th highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 3.6% (9th lowest)

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Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

36. Tennessee
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $289.20 (22nd highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 1,067.08 per 100,000 people (9th highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 16.62 per 100,000 people (8th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 75.5 years (5th lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 5.0% (25th lowest)

Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

35. Arizona
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $177.98 (14th lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 919.85 per 100,000 people (23rd highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 13.48 per 100,000 people (18th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.7 years (25th highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 6.7% (11th highest)

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34. South Carolina
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $456.19 (9th highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 981.33 per 100,000 people (19th highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 19.44 per 100,000 people (4th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.5 years (9th lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 4.6% (21st lowest)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

33. North Dakota
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $57.67 (the lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 845.73 per 100,000 people (20th lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 13.12 per 100,000 people (19th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.3 years (13th highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 4.0% (12th lowest)

Source: f11photo / Getty Images

32. Pennsylvania
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $410.19 (12th highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 1,015.55 per 100,000 people (14th highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 8.27 per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.1 years (21st lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 6.9% (10th highest)

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Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

31. North Carolina
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $324.71 (17th highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 888.40 per 100,000 people (25th lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 13.09 per 100,000 people (20th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.6 years (15th lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 4.8% (23rd lowest)

Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

30. Kansas
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $114.35 (6th lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 922.90 per 100,000 people (22nd highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 14.11 per 100,000 people (15th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.0 years (20th lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 3.5% (8th lowest)

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Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

29. Wisconsin
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $148.57 (12th lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 998.14 per 100,000 people (16th highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 9.72 per 100,000 people (17th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.3 years (14th highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 3.9% (10th lowest)

Source: Chilkoot / Getty Images

28. Alaska
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: N/A
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 1,035.89 per 100,000 people (12th highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 9.16 per 100,000 people (16th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.0 years (19th lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 6.7% (12th highest)

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

27. Texas
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $273.88 (22nd lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 667.54 per 100,000 people (5th lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 12.47 per 100,000 people (23rd highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.4 years (23rd lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 6.5% (13th highest)

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Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

26. Indiana
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $243.21 (18th lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 865.05 per 100,000 people (23rd lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 12.02 per 100,000 people (24th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.8 years (12th lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 4.0% (15th lowest)

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

25. Florida
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $391.96 (13th highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 904.44 per 100,000 people (24th highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 14.82 per 100,000 people (12th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.9 years (21st highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 4.9% (24th lowest)

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24. Iowa
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $160.65 (13th lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 869.11 per 100,000 people (24th lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 10.65 per 100,000 people (23rd lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.2 years (16th highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 3.9% (11th lowest)

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

23. Maine
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $272.76 (20th lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 1,012.12 per 100,000 people (15th highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 11.68 per 100,000 people (25th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.6 years (25th lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 4.7% (22nd lowest)

Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

22. Nebraska
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $123.19 (7th lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 790.58 per 100,000 people (14th lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 12.82 per 100,000 people (21st highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.1 years (17th highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 2.6% (2nd lowest)

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21. Colorado
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $139.53 (9th lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 818.91 per 100,000 people (16th lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 10.35 per 100,000 people (22nd lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.0 years (7th highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 6.2% (14th highest)

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

20. Illinois
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $301.76 (20th highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 757.69 per 100,000 people (11th lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 7.96 per 100,000 people (12th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.8 years (23rd highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 7.1% (8th highest)

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19. Michigan
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $449.47 (10th highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 846.36 per 100,000 people (21st lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 9.86 per 100,000 people (19th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.7 years (16th lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 5.0% (24th highest)

Source: 4nadia / Getty Images

18. Oregon
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $326.49 (16th highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 829.78 per 100,000 people (18th lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 11.59 per 100,000 people (25th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.7 years (11th highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 5.9% (19th highest)

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

17. Georgia
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $525.21 (5th highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 763.21 per 100,000 people (12th lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 14.04 per 100,000 people (16th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.2 years (13th lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 4.1% (16th lowest)

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16. Idaho
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $198.51 (15th lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 819.89 per 100,000 people (17th lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 12.53 per 100,000 people (22nd highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.0 years (19th highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 3.0% (6th lowest)

Source: Jonathanking / Wikimedia Commons

15. Vermont
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $272.86 (21st lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 1,034.95 per 100,000 people (13th highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 7.53 per 100,000 people (9th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.3 years (15th highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 2.6% (3rd lowest)

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14. Delaware
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $784.27 (3rd highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 842.61 per 100,000 people (19th lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 13.56 per 100,000 people (17th highest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.8 years (17th lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 5.9% (18th highest)

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13. Hawaii
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: N/A
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 686.43 per 100,000 people (6th lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 7.63 per 100,000 people (10th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 81.0 years (the highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 8.1% (the highest)

Source: SpVVK / Getty Images

12. California
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $241.27 (17th lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 600.40 per 100,000 people (2nd lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 9.13 per 100,000 people (15th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.8 years (2nd highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 7.9% (3rd highest)

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Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

11. Connecticut
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $470.04 (7th highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 860.38 per 100,000 people (22nd lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 6.98 per 100,000 people (7th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.4 years (5th highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 7.7% (6th highest)

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

10. Virginia
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $324.18 (18th highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 724.22 per 100,000 people (9th lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 9.74 per 100,000 people (18th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.0 years (20th highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 4.5% (20th lowest)

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9. Washington
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $134.96 (8th lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 746.35 per 100,000 people (10th lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 6.82 per 100,000 people (6th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.0 years (8th highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 5.3% (23rd highest)

Source: culbertson / Getty Images

8. Minnesota
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $146.83 (10th lowest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 818.56 per 100,000 people (15th lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 6.45 per 100,000 people (5th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.5 years (3rd highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 4.0% (14th lowest)

Source: Eloi_Omella / Getty Images

7. New York
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $572.53 (4th highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 603.78 per 100,000 people (3rd lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 4.79 per 100,000 people (the lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.5 years (4th highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 7.8% (4th highest)

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Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

6. Maryland
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $466.10 (8th highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 572.57 per 100,000 people (the lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 8.62 per 100,000 people (14th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.5 years (24th lowest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 6.1% (16th highest)

Source: Adventure_Photo / Getty Images

5. Utah
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: N/A
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 616.73 per 100,000 people (4th lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 7.74 per 100,000 people (11th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.6 years (12th highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 2.7% (4th lowest)

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4. New Jersey
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $472.89 (6th highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 688.13 per 100,000 people (7th lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 6.29 per 100,000 people (4th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.8 years (9th highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 7.2% (7th highest)

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

3. Rhode Island
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $812.83 (2nd highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 937.55 per 100,000 people (21st highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 5.38 per 100,000 people (3rd lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.8 years (10th highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 5.8% (20th highest)

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

2. New Hampshire
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $332.45 (15th highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 890.78 per 100,000 people (25th highest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 7.43 per 100,000 people (8th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.1 years (18th highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 2.5% (the lowest)

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Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

1. Massachusetts
> Lottery winnings per adult in 2019: $991.28 (the highest)
> Deaths from accidents in 2018: 713.62 per 100,000 people (8th lowest)
> Traffic fatalities in 2019: 4.85 per 100,000 people (2nd lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.1 years (6th highest)
> May 2021 unemployment rate: 6.1% (15th highest)

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