Special Report

Best and Worst States to Live in 2022

For most of us, where we live appears to be largely determined by circumstance – specifically, where we were raised. According to a survey conducted by the North American Van Lines relocation company, 72% of American adults live either in, or close to, the city where they grew up. Still, for those who make a deliberate choice to move away from home, the decision is often influenced by one or two key factors. 

Some may choose to move to a new city to find a better job. A family may buy a home in a new neighborhood to enroll the children in a better school district. Retirees may relocate to be in a warmer, sunnier climate, while others may choose a new place to live in an area with lower crime rates or more affordable housing. The list of reasons varies. (Here are America’s least dangerous states.)

Indeed, key economic, social, and environmental factors can all be important considerations to make when deciding on a place to live – and these factors can change significantly from state to state. 

Using data from sources including the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24/7 Wall St. created a weighted index of 16 measures to determine the best – and worst – states to live in. 

Each measure used in our index has an impact on overall quality of life. These measures include those related to the economy such as unemployment and poverty; the environment such as air pollution; and social factors such as crime and levels of investment in public works and institutions.

There are some notable geographic patterns in the ranking. For example, eight of the 10 lowest-ranking states are in the South, while the highest ranking states are concentrated in the West and the Northeast. (Here are 22 states where people live the longest.)

It is important to note that each state, regardless of its ranking, has some positive attributes as well as some negatives. For example, while many of the Southern states rank lower on this list, often due to higher crime and poverty rates, many may also make an ideal home due to warm climates, a low cost of living, and affordable housing.

Click here to see the best and worst states to live in 2022.

Click here to see our detailed methodology.

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