The Best States to Live In– 2016 Edition

Best States To Live In Main Image

Most of us at one point or another have probably considered moving to a new state. While family or friends living abroad may entice potential destinations, this may not always be the case. When you have the opportunity to choose, ensure you are selecting the best state which satisfies your commitments and goals. There are many different aspects to consider when making your decisions however, there are some universally agreed upon factors. Safety, education, job security and even climate are just a few of the criteria that most people agree are important. To help determine my options for best states to live in I created a list of 11 critical categories:

Cost of Living

  • Overall Average Cost of Living Ratio
  • Personal Income Tax Rate
  • Average Home Cost
  • Average Apartment Rental Cost
  • Price for Gallon of Regular Grade Gasoline

Job Market and Income

  • Job Growth Opportunities
  • Unemployment Rates
  • Average Household Income
  • Minimum Wage Rate

Quality of Life

  • Happiest States
  • Crime Rating
  • Education Quality
  • Average Climate

The 10 Best States to Live in:

All the data collected for scoring was pulled from government records, official surveys or documented research and is sourced at the end of the article. The three main categories were tallied separately and the rankings from each were then added again to form a final score. The results are calculated in this manner to prevent one category from overly skewing the final scoring.

1. Minnesota Icon Minnesota

Minnesota Image

The Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota inched out the top rank of best states to live in by 1 point. Minnesota ranked 5th in overall quality of life and 3rd for strength in job market and income. However, Minnesota scored 35th in cost of living.

Overall Ranking Categories (Best to Worst 1st-50th)

Minnesota's Scorecard

Quality of Life

5th

Job Market and Income

3rd

Cost of Living

35th

2. Colorado Icon Colorado

Colorado Image

The Mile-High State, Colorado comes in tied for 2nd with its neighbor state Utah. Colorado came in 2nd for quality of life and 5th in job market and income strength. Much like Minnesota, Colorado scored near the bottom in cost of living rates.

Overall Ranking Categories (Best to Worst 1st-50th)

Colorado's Scorecard

Quality of Life

2nd

Job Market and Income

5th

Cost of Living

37th

2. Utah Icon Utah

Utah Image

The Beehive State, Utah, also tied for 2nd overall came in 11th in both quality of life and job market and income rankings. Utah fared slightly better in its cost of living ranking but, still scored 22nd in the country.

Overall Ranking Categories (Best to Worst 1st-50th)

Utah's Scorecard

Quality of Life

11th

Job Market and Income

11th

Cost of Living

22nd

4. South Dakota Icon South Dakota

South Dakota Image

Known as The Mount Rushmore State, South Dakota comes in ranked 4th for best states to live in, ranking 7th in job market and income rankings and 14th for average cost of living. South Dakota’s ranking for quality of life was its lowest mark at 26th.

Overall Ranking Categories (Best to Worst 1st-50th)

South Dakota's Scorecard

Quality of Life

26th

Job Market and Income

7th

Cost of Living

14th

5. Massachusetts Icon Massachusetts

Massachusetts Image

The Bay State, Massachusetts, rounds out the top 5 scoring strong in both quality of life and job market and income categories, 3rd and 2nd respectively. Massachusetts scored lower in cost of living ratio at 43rd.

Overall Ranking Categories (Best to Worst 1st-50th)

Massachusetts's Scorecard

Quality of Life

3rd

Job Market and Income

2nd

Cost of Living

43rd

6. Idaho Icon Idaho

Idaho Image

The Gem State, Idaho ranked 6th overall and scored 20th or better in all main categories.

Overall Ranking Categories (Best to Worst 1st-50th)

Idaho's Scorecard

Quality of Life

18th

Job Market and Income

16th

Cost of Living

20th

7. Iowa Icon Iowa

Iowa

The Hawkeye State, Iowa comes in ranked 7th on the best states to live in list and like Idaho ranked average (25Mth or better) or better in the 3 main categories.

Overall Ranking Categories (Best to Worst 1st-50th)

Iowa's Scorecard

Quality of Life

13th

Job Market and Income

19th

Cost of Living

25th

8. New Hampshire Icon New Hampshire

New Hampshire Image

The Granite State, New Hampshire is ranked 8th tied with 3 other states marking its best score within the quality of life category at 6th. New Hampshire scored above and below average in job markets and income (18th) and cost of living (34th) respectively.

Overall Ranking Categories (Best to Worst 1st-50th)

Iowa's Scorecard

Quality of Life

6th

Job Market and Income

18th

Cost of Living

34th

8. Virginia Icon Virginia

Virginia Image

The Old Dominion state, Virginia, also tied for 8th ranking 8th in the overall quality of life and average scores for both job market and income (24th and cost of living (26th.

Overall Ranking Categories (Best to Worst 1st-50th)

Virginia's Scorecard

Quality of Life

8th

Job Market and Income

24th

Cost of Living

26th

8. Wyoming Icon Wyoming

wyoming

The Cowboy State, Wyoming is the 3rd state and final state tied in the group of 8th. Wyoming boasts strong scores in quality of life ranking 4th and cost of living ranking 9th. Wyoming though ranked near the bottom for job market and income opportunities at 45th.

 

Sources
https://www.missourieconomy.org/indicators/cost_of_living/
http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=406
http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/business/T019-S010-states-with-the-fastest-job-growth/index.html
http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm
http://www.rasmussen.edu/career-center/career-research-hub/salary-by-state/
http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/statemedian/index.html
http://fuelgaugereport.aaa.com/todays-gas-prices/
http://www.statisticbrain.com/home-sales-average-price/
http://taxfoundation.org/sites/taxfoundation.org/files/docs/PIT-2015.png
https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/tables/5tabledatadecpdf/table_5_crime_in_the_united_states_by_state_2012.xls
https://www.alec.org/publication/report-card-on-american-education/
http://research.wpcarey.asu.edu/economic-outlook/job-growth/current-state-rankings/
http://www.usclimatedata.com/
http://www.myapartmentmap.com/rental_data/ 
http://www.raisetheminimumwage.com/pages/minimum-wage-state

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