These Are the Best—and the Worst—States to Live In



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Whether you’ve been offered a great job that requires a major relocation or you’re considering places for your forever home, it helps to know a bit about where you’re looking to move. Most folks want to be in places with lots of good work opportunities (just in case that dream job isn’t all it’s cracked up to be), plenty of things to do, and a housing market that doesn’t look poised to crash and burn anytime soon. So what is the best state in America—and what’s the worst?

Massachusetts was named the top place in the nation to live, according to a recent report from personal finance website WalletHub. To come up with its ranking, WalletHub measured each state on its affordability, economy, education and health, quality of life, and safety.

While Massachusetts is decidedly more lower-key than certain publicity-hogging states (New York and California, we’re looking at you!), the state is home to more than a dozen Fortune 500 companies and boasts some of the best universities in the world, including Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Plus, the state capital of Boston is justly renowned for its clam chowder, its marathon, and its love-’em-or-leave-’em baseball franchise, the Red Sox. It’s also becoming one of the nation’s primary tech centers, and seeing consistently high income growth.

With all of those things going for the Northeastern state, home prices are high at a median $499,000, according to the most recent realtor.com® data.


“The best states to live have strong economies and very small shares of population living in poverty,” WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez told realtor.com in an email. “They tend to have quality public school systems, a majority of residents in good health, and longer than average life expectancies.”

Three of the top five states were in the Northeast, according to the ranking. Minnesota, where the median home price is $299,900, came in second. It was followed by New Hampshire, at $339,900; New Jersey, at $370,000; Colorado, at $450,000; Wisconsin, at $239,900; Virginia, at $325,000; Iowa, at $213,300; Utah, at $399,900; and Idaho, at $339,900.

What are the worst states to live in?

OK, so what parts of the U.S. find themselves on the other side of the spectrum? The worst state to live in, according to the WalletHub rankings, is Mississippi. The South dominated this list.

One of the factors bringing Mississippi down: It was tied with New Mexico for having the highest percentage of residents living below the poverty line. Nearly 20% of Mississippians live in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition, the state had the third-lowest percentage of residents who had obtained a high school diploma or more additional education. And there wasn’t good access to public transportation.

“The bottom Southern states do not fare well in terms of economy, education and healthcare,” Gonzalez said. “There is still high unemployment rates in many of them, and large shares of the population live in poverty. Lacking school system quality correlates with the large percentage of people who don’t have a high school degree, which in turn leads to fewer well-paying job opportunities.”

The birthplace of Elvis Presley still has plenty of positives, though. Music lovers can catch primo blues shows, steamboat and swamp tours cater to locals and tourists alike, and the state is home to Gulfport Beach, which realtor.com named the best affordable beach town in the nation last year.

Plus, median home prices in the state were among the lowest in the nation, at $199,300. That’s a boon for buyers, who can score a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, brand-new home for under $150,00 in cities such as Gulfport, MS.

The other states at the bottom of the ranking were Louisiana, where the median home price is at $229,700; New Mexico, at $249,700; Arkansas, at $185,000; Alabama, at $229,900; Alaska, at $295,700; South Carolina, at $270,00; West Virginia, at $175,000; Oklahoma, at $205,000; and Kentucky, at $200,000.

The post These Are the Best—and the Worst—States to Live In appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: Housing Trends Feed