These Are The 10 Best States To Live In America For 2018

We used science and data to determine which U.S. states have it made.

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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.

After analyzing all 50 U.S. states, we came up with this list as the 10 best states in our nation for 2018:

  1. New Hampshire (Photos)
  2. Massachusetts (Photos)
  3. Connecticut (Photos)
  4. New Jersey (Photos)
  5. Virginia (Photos)
  6. Vermont (Photos)
  7. Hawaii (Photos)
  8. Minnesota (Photos)
  9. Maryland (Photos)
  10. Rhode Island (Photos)

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?

Dangerous States In America Map

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

New Hampshire

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 1,327,503
Median 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.

2. Massachusetts


Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,742,143
Median 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.

3. Connecticut


Source: Wikipedia

Population: 3,588,570
Median 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

New Jersey

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,915,456
Median 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.

5. Virginia


Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,310,301
Median 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.

6. Vermont


Source: Wikipedia

Population: 626,249
Median 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.

7. Hawaii


Source: Wikipedia

Population: 1,413,673
Median 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.

8. Minnesota


Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,450,868
Median 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.

9. Maryland


Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,959,902
Median 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

Rhode Island

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 1,054,491
Median 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:

  1. New Mexico
  2. Arkansas
  3. Mississippi
  • These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In America
  • These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Small Towns In America
  • These Are The 10 Most Miserable Mid-Sized Cities In America
  • Detailed List Of The Best States In America For 2018

    State Rank Population Median Income Median Home Value
    New Hampshire 1 1,327,503 $68,485 $239,700
    Massachusetts 2 6,742,143 $70,954 $341,000
    Connecticut 3 3,588,570 $71,755 $269,300
    New Jersey 4 8,915,456 $73,702 $316,400
    Virginia 5 8,310,301 $66,149 $248,400
    Vermont 6 626,249 $56,104 $218,900
    Hawaii 7 1,413,673 $71,977 $538,400
    Minnesota 8 5,450,868 $63,217 $191,500
    Maryland 9 5,959,902 $76,067 $290,400
    Rhode Island 10 1,054,491 $58,387 $238,200
    New York 11 19,697,457 $60,741 $286,300
    Pennsylvania 12 12,783,977 $54,895 $167,700
    Wisconsin 13 5,754,798 $54,610 $167,000
    Maine 14 1,329,923 $50,826 $176,000
    North Dakota 15 736,162 $59,114 $164,000
    Delaware 16 934,695 $61,017 $233,100
    Iowa 17 3,106,589 $54,570 $132,800
    Wyoming 18 583,029 $59,143 $199,900
    Washington 19 7,073,146 $62,848 $269,300
    Colorado 20 5,359,295 $62,520 $264,600
    Utah 21 2,948,427 $62,518 $224,600
    Nebraska 22 1,881,259 $54,384 $137,300
    Illinois 23 12,851,684 $59,196 $174,800
    California 24 38,654,206 $63,783 $409,300
    Ohio 25 11,586,941 $50,674 $131,900
    South Dakota 26 851,058 $52,078 $146,700
    Idaho 27 1,635,483 $49,174 $167,900
    Kansas 28 2,898,292 $53,571 $135,300
    Oregon 29 3,982,267 $53,270 $247,200
    Indiana 30 6,589,578 $50,433 $126,500
    Kentucky 31 4,411,989 $44,811 $126,100
    Michigan 32 9,909,600 $50,803 $127,800
    Montana 33 1,023,391 $48,380 $199,700
    Alaska 34 736,855 $74,444 $257,100
    West Virginia 35 1,846,092 $42,644 $107,400
    Missouri 36 6,059,651 $49,593 $141,200
    North Carolina 37 9,940,828 $48,256 $157,100
    Texas 38 26,956,435 $54,727 $142,700
    Florida 39 19,934,451 $48,900 $166,800
    Tennessee 40 6,548,009 $46,574 $146,000
    Nevada 41 2,839,172 $53,094 $191,600
    Georgia 42 10,099,320 $51,037 $152,400
    Arizona 43 6,728,577 $51,340 $176,900
    Oklahoma 44 3,875,589 $48,038 $121,300
    South Carolina 45 4,834,605 $46,898 $143,600
    Louisiana 46 4,645,670 $45,652 $148,300
    Alabama 47 4,841,164 $44,758 $128,500
    Mississippi 48 2,989,192 $40,528 $105,700
    Arkansas 49 2,968,472 $42,336 $114,700
    New Mexico 50 2,082,669 $45,674 $161,600

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    41 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Best States To Live In America For 2018

    1. Ya? Check it out, I’ve lived in many states and traveled the U.S. Arizona hands down is one of the WORST STATES to reside! It is riddled w/ crooked politicians, police, the courts are a joke! This is a PRISON STATE period. They make their money locking you up. People end up dead here at an alarming rate. Ive lost 3 friends in 2 months time. Now Arizona does have the most beautiful sunrises, sunsets, and mountains you have ever seen! Just breathtaking! The lakes are nice, the drives are beautiful. The weather is outstanding except the summer time. Summer is the most miserable weather ever. So aside from the people as a whole, Arizona rocks!!!

      1. Um….I live in Arizona. I am not overly thrilled with it, but I don’t know about your comment about being a “Prison State.” I have not ever had a problem with the law but I am a firm believer that if you do things that are illegal, you should pay the price. I am glad that Arizona isn’t some panty waste state that caves to the criminals. You might want to think about staying out of trouble.

        1. Kathy, that was a brilliant reply…You were not demeaning in any way and if that person listens, you may have just saved a life, and that is a fact. I really hope they take that as correctful rather than hateful. It takes class to care about one another and to reach out, keep up the great work…Your patents have to be real proud of the person they have left on this earth…

      2. I want to live in the state because of the weather flagstaff, summers tucson in the winter at least some thing like this but you are right it is a nazi state this is what fuck ,s up wanting live there it’s to bad if it is,nt one thing with people it’s another I would like the shit head cops politics to go away but it won,t any time soon I have a buddy in colorado that left az because of some of the issues you said I wish I knew of a warm place to live with out all the drama it’s getting more challenging day by day

        1. Hay jj don’t take this any way but for the good. You sound like a good American, you need to change your life now. I have no idea how you live, but, you need change now… I can pull over and speak to any officer in the US and request, and they will have lunch with me…..And that my friend, is a fact!!! Sometimes we just need to adjust the nut, us… LoL And remember if you request an officer you know to have some lunch and ask, “Is there something I am doing wrong, why don’t you like me” you will get an answer. Sometimes it’s just about growing up, we develop tough skin. You know what the best thing you can say to an officer of the law is, “yes sir, I know want I did”…More then speeding, smoking a joint, he or she is looking more at the lie….Have a great life and I hope this helps….

    2. Are you SERIOUS??? Florida is the worst??? Ohio SUCKS!!!! According to BLS, Ohio’s unemployment rate is MUCH higher than Florida. Secondly, who in their right mind would prefer snow over warm weather??? I live in this frost bitten boring state and I can only DREAM of living in a tropical paradise that offers a permanent summer climate. This list is totally inaccurate. A second choice of a great city to live would be Las Vegas. 85% sunshine all year round and warmer climates. Interesting how the boring cold climate states are on the top of the list.

      1. I grew up in Ohio and lived there for 24 years before moving to South Dakota. Yes, the unemployment rate is pretty high. But with a proper education(which is pretty easy considering the education system in Ohio and outstanding), then it shouldn’t be too hard. And you think the winter sucks in Ohio? Try heading to South Dakota in the winter time. With temps that get well below zero on a daily basis. I’ve experienced temps as low as -72. And the snow falls between October and May and once it falls, it doesn’t melt until the spring. Ohio’s winters are very mild compared to the midwest. And I would absolutely love to move back to Ohio and raise my kids there. Sure, Florida does sound absolutely amazing to anyone living in a state that gets snow…But just because it’s by the ocean and warmer doesn’t mean it’s a better state. And the colder states are closer to the top because the population is typically lower, therefore making the crime lower, employment rate lower, and the income higher. Here in South Dakota businesses are desperate for help because there just isn’t enough people to fill all the positions everywhere.

      2. Ohio has many upsides too, I grew up there. Also, I lived in Florida for 3 years, and it sucks. There are many terrible drivers, and most natives there are just what you call “Florida Scumbags”. Believe me, Florida is a great vacation spot, but it’s not a better place to live than Ohio.

        1. I agree. Born in Ohio. I always refer to it as the great State of Ohio. While I am no big fan of the snow and the cold it is nice to experience 4 seasons. Housing is affordable, plenty of things to do from sports, the arts, camping etc. 3 major cities. Nice rest areas, decent highway system, diverse. There are jobs if you have the right skills set, Columbus Ohio is a test market and I love that. I have traveled to many states and love visiting Fla, Cali, New York, DC, etc I am glad I was born and raised in Ohio

      3. Some people like the seasons and don’t want it hot all the time. We love our fall and spring in Ohio and there are some great places in Ohio, don’t rank on another state to make you feel better about your own.

      4. Ugh I hate the hot weather Vegas was my worst night mare 110 all summer long yuck… I live in Monterey Ca and it’s amazing here but my husband wants to move to a more rural place… trying to figure out a good in between

    3. Living in the Utah community of St. George, 125 miles from Las Vegas NV I am always intrigued at the state and community rankings. 1st let’s take Utah and the lowest spending per pupil. Consider, Utah is the highest in birth rate and the lowest average age in the nation. Given this fact it’s worth noting that some of the highest ranked public schools systems and universities, both public and private are found in Utah. Imagine that, lower spending and higher levels of education! New concept!
      2nd, we are a balanced budget state with an almost $1B surplus, the lowest un-employment rate and highest job growth rate in the nation. In fact, more large block venture capital money is flowing into Utah than any state in the nation.
      3rd, the St. George area is a warm desert climate with 12 area golf courses, over 50 miles of paved biking trails that follow rivers and scenic byways, among the lowest per kilowatt hour of electricity rates in the nation, and a very modest cost of housing and living. St. George is the gateway to 4 national parks and several national monuments with very similar weather to Las Vegas, but very low crime, pollution and minuscule traffic problems by comparison. St. George has a new regional airport serviced by United Express and Delta Connection jet service to multiple cities. It is bisected by I-15 and is an easy drive to the pacific ocean or the Wasatch Front mountains of Salt Lake City. Google it! A pretty amazing place!

      1. I like it I am trying to get into low income housing waiting list but it will be awhile I live in northern colorado right now but do plan on moving I just do not like the cold winters here I was in town a few years back it did get cold that winter it was 5 degree that Morning what a site to see snow on the palm trees

      1. That would be the international space station. Inexpensive for the astronauts, because the earthlings pay for everything! And so far, 99% employment (everyone except a couple of space tourists), zero crime rate, zero traffic accidents, zero dog bites.

      2. Virginia has everything. It is not to densely populated which can be good or bad depending on who you are talking to. You get all four seasons. Not to hot and not to cold. It has the most historical landmarks. Great hiking. Rolling hills and valleys.

    4. Nice research on Kansas. That’s a picture of Wichita, not Kansas City, and our public schools are poorly funded. I wouldn’t trust anything you write.

      1. Yeah, this writer is an idiot, and obviously has a huge bias for the midwest. Especially boring areas. Born and raised in Kansas, can’t wait to leave. Only thing worth staying here for is my friends. The climate sucks, the politicians suck, the schools suck (NOW), and the state is boring. You rank Kansas above beautiful forested areas like Oregon? Idiotic.

      2. Rusty, I agree with you both on the picture and the schooling. It could be just Wichita schools. I know must of the Wichita schools have a large portion of students on free or reduce lunches. There are a lot of issues in the Wichita schools.

    5. As a person who lives in Florida, yeah the weathers great. But everything else sucks. We have a huge water issue going on which is leading to toxic bacteria on the east coast, terrible flesh-eating bacteria in the Gulf, 215 million gallons of irradiated water sinking into our aquifer. The people here are rude, the drivers suck so bad. Half of them are 75 and don’t know where they are while driving an SUV. The education system is the worst in the country so if you have kids and want them to do landscaping, great. That’s all they’ll be qualified for with a HS diploma from FL. If you like having a labor union to protect your rights, forget about it. It’s so over-populated that driving 5 miles will take you 45 min to an hour. I’m not looking forward to the snow, but I’m getting the hell out of here as soon as I can.

    6. I lived in Florida for over two years and it was nothing but a disaster from start to finish. The rent is expensive as hell, every other person you see is some type of law enforcement officer, and if you do not have a boat or some type of watercraft I cannot really see any advantage to living there or anywhere in the south for that matter. want to get worse than that? I was born and raised in Jackson,Mississippi and I can tell you it is no longer the place you want to be today. I now live in Wyoming, and can tell you this, I have never been as satisfied as far as a place to live! Come back to America! I am from the south, and the south sux ass, ALL OF IT!

    7. I live in New Jersey it is very dangerous I cannot see how it made the number 10 list. The taxes are the highest in the country and we have the worst car insurance with the highest rates.

    8. I live in Florida and it’s not the best I’ve been here eating since I was 4 and was living in a apartment and they up the rent for one bedroom to $800 and now I’m in a one bedroom home paying $500 I’ve been trying to find a job because the job I have now (Disney) being part time one day a week or some weeks nothing my husband and I wanna find another state to move to but all my family lives here in Florida

    9. I live in Vermont it is not a good place to live the outta staters have come in and ruined it the schools stink, taxes are supper high im trying to save up so I can get out .

    10. New Jersey is #4? You’re kidding, right? You should realize that the high earnings also come with an incredibly high cost of living. We are one of the most taxed states in the nation. Our public education system is in shambles. I’ve lived here for 52 years and the state becomes increasingly unaffordable every year. I’m hoping to sell my business this fall and get the hell out of here for a less expensive, less stressful life somewhere in the mountain west. Thinking about moving to Jersey? Fuggedaboudit

    11. What science did this moron use to compile this list? Maybe a to much weed millennial? Are you kidding those states are some of the best huh? BAHAHAHA sounds like one theses obnoxious nozzle sounding New England goof balls. Freeze your balls off states for a long time, and higher taxes on average then in Maryland. And Maryland is kind of high tax. Maryland is way above those states.

      New Hampshire
      New Jersey
      Minnesota (Photos)

    12. Why not let each of us have access to the metrics and adjust to what is important to us. Obliviously taxes were not factored into this metric. I live in KY but grew up in MA and there is no way in heck I would ever move to a high taxed state

    13. Hello,

      Did you know that your best neighborhoods to live in 2016 do not have pictures of NYC when you are talking about nyc neighborhoods?
      Just thought I’d let you know. Like your site, though.

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