Do you live in one of the best states in America?
You might think people across the nation like to think they live in the best place in the country. After all, you wouldn’t spend your lives somewhere that you truly didn’t love. Right? Not always. In fact, according to a Pew Research Center study not too long ago determined that almost half of Americans would rather live somewhere else than they do now.
Well, if you’re in one of the states we’re about to highlight, odds are you don’t want to go anywhere.
The purpose of this study is to use science to determine which of our great American states are the absolute best. While unbiased, this research does take into account factors that almost all Americans would agree are desirable. Therefore, while you may have strong opinions either way, you can’t argue against the methodology.
Turns out New Hampshire is the best state to live in the country. The worst? You might not be too surprised that New Mexico takes the cake.
If you live in the northeast, things are looking pretty rosy about now.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your state ranked. Or check out more on the worst states in America.
For more positive news, feel free to check out the best places to live in the country.
How do you decide if a state is awesome or not?
In order to rank the best states to live in the United States, we had to determine what criteria people like about a place. It isn’t a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, insurance, things to do and a stable economy.
So we researched the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.
How we crunched the numbers for the best states of 2018
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data and the most recent ACS 2012-2016, this is the criteria we used:
- Population Density (The higher the better)
- Lowest Unemployment Rates
- High Median Income
- High Home Values
- Levels of College Education
- A lot of insured people
- Low Crime
- No poverty
We then ranked each state from 1 to 50 for the criteria with a #1 ranking being the best for the particular criteria.
Next, we averaged the rankings into one “Best Place To Live Index”.
Finally, we ranked every state on the “Best Place To Live Index” with the lowest index being the Best State To Live in America for 2018, New Hampshire.
If you’d like to see the complete list of states, from worst to best, scroll to the bottom of this post to see the abridged chart.
Note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the states themselves. This list is based on data. It’s also not a testament to the effectiveness of local law enforcement.
1. New Hampshire
Population: 1,327,503Median Income: $68,485 (7th best)
Median Home Value: $239,700 (13th best)
It was close, but New Hampshire finished a tad bit ahead of Massachusetts when it comes to the best state to live in America for 2018. Is that a surprise? Possibly for everyone who lives outside of New Hampshire, it is.
While it doesn’t rank as high on the wealth side of things as some if it’s neighbors, it makes up for it in quality of living.
A;most all of them are employed. Only 5% of the people here are without jobs. And as you can imagine, it’s super safe this far north.
Add it all up (other factors included), and you can’t find a better place to live than in the Granite State.
Population: 6,742,143Median Income: $70,954 (6th best)
Median Home Value: $341,000 (3rd best)
Massachusetts is an awesome place to live. Households bring in over $70,000 a year, which isn’t too shabby.
Homes are some of the most expensive in the country. That’s a good sign that the overall economy in the Bay State is stable, and there’s demand to live there.
Massachusetts is also one of the most densely pact states in the county (3rd most), so there’s plenty to do in a short drive.
Population: 3,588,570Median Income: $71,755 (5th best)
Median Home Value: $269,300 (7th best)
Connecticut families are some of the wealthiest in the country, no doubt. But when you factor in the cost of living, those salaries don’t go quite as far here as they would in other states.
Homes sell quickly here, and there are less vacant housing units in Connecticut than any other state. That’s a very positive sign for the Constitution State.
The public schools are great here – perhaps a little overcrowded, but not too bad. And it’s one of the least dangerous states in the country as well.
4. New Jersey
Population: 8,915,456Median Income: $73,702 (3rd best)
Median Home Value: $316,400 (4th best)
New Jersey residents are some of the wealthiest in the country; families here earn about $73,000 a year.
It’s pretty safe in New Jersey, as a whole. And you’d be hard pressed to find a state with a better funded and managed public school system. At least for now.
The downside? It’s the most densely populated place in the state, and commute times are longer than almost anywhere else. That’s even taking into account the long stretches in Jersey where there are more cows than people.
Population: 8,310,301Median Income: $66,149 (8th best)
Median Home Value: $248,400 (11th best)
Virginia and Maryland are just about the wealthiest states in the country. We’re not saying that money is the cure-all for happiness, but it sure does help a lot. And you might be surprised to hear that Virginia is actually the 10th least dangerous state in the country. That’s according to the latest FBI statistics, which measure violent and property crimes per capita.
The public schools in Virginia are above average, but they are some of the least crowded you’ll find.
The only real category where Virginia did poorly is insured residents — over 10% of residents lack coverage.
Population: 626,249Median Income: $56,104 (20th best)
Median Home Value: $218,900 (17th best)
Vermont is a great place to live for completely different reasons. Crime here is really low; Vermont is the 4th safest state you can live in. (New Mexico is the most dangerous).
If you value a good public school education, then Vermont is your place. The schools here are well funded, and just about the least crowded that you’ll find in the country. That’s not a surprise, since just more than a half million people live in the entire state.
It might surprise you to hear that Vermont’s comfort index is really high. A good portion of the population can rest easy with insurance.
Population: 1,413,673Median Income: $71,977 (4th best)
Median Home Value: $538,400 (1st best)
The 7th best state to call home for 2018 goes to Hawaii.
Everyone wants to live here, as you can tell by the astronomically high home prices. That also means a lot of well educated folks call Hawaii home.
The state doesn’t appear higher on the list because of a bit of a crime problem relative to the rest of the top ten, but nothing to sneeze at.
Population: 5,450,868Median Income: $63,217 (10th best)
Median Home Value: $191,500 (21st best)
Minnesota is part of what we refer to as the ‘nidwest’ – for northern midwest. And when you look at the numbers, the nidwest rocks when it comes to livability, second only to the northeast.
In Minnesota, families earn about $63,000 a year, which is one of the highest numbers in the nation. And not only do they live relatively comfortable lives, folks in Minnesota are a lot safer than most other states, too.
You can’t really ask for a better combination.
Houses are selling faster than in most other states. The only knock on Minnesota is of course, the weather. You can expect snow here at any time for a six-month stretch.
Population: 5,959,902Median Income: $76,067 (1st best)
Median Home Value: $290,400 (5th best)
Sunshine on your shoulders can make you happy. It’s been proven. And in Maryland, the sun shines a lot.
Maryland families command the highest salaries in the U.S. with more than 76,000 a year combined income.
In addition to the great public schools in Maryland, residents are some of the most educated in the country.
10. Rhode Island
Population: 1,054,491Median Income: $58,387 (19th best)
Median Home Value: $238,200 (14th best)
Rounding out the top ten for 2018 is Rhode Island.
Rhode Island crime rate is surprisingly low – it’s relatively safe, and homes sell quickly.
The knock on Rhode Island that prevents it from climbing on the list is a relatively high unemployment rate. If the Ocean State had some more jobs, it would be a contender for best in the country.
There You Have It
Like we said earlier, trying to determine the best states in America is usually a subjective matter. But if you’re analyzing states with the best economic situations, where there’s low crime and low poverty (for the most part), this is an accurate list.
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst states in the USA, according to science. Apparently, things are not too charming in the south:
- New Mexico
Detailed List Of The Best States In America For 2018