What matters most to people? We all want more or less the same things from the place we live in. We want it to have an excellent economy to find jobs we want, good and affordable health care, a good educational system, decent infrastructure. The crime rates have to be very low for us to feel comfortable, and we also want clean air and a preserved natural environment.
The great economy is not going to make you happy if housing is not affordable and you can only find second-rate education. Beautiful nature and stunning scenery alone won’t be enough if you don’t have a job and you don’t have access to health care facilities.
Many people move states when they find better jobs, more opportunities, or lower income taxes. Young people often go to college in a different state, and entrepreneurs will look for advanced markets where they can prosper.
The “American dream” is still alive and refers to a good job, happy family, and comfortable living. If you can have it just a few hundred miles away, why not move!? Based on some simple metrics and facts, here are the 20 best states to live in:
Washington is the best state to live in. Health and education are among the best in the country, infrastructure is second to none, and the economy is doing great. There is no state income tax, the job market is thriving, and there are plenty of higher education opportunities.
The crime rate is low, although like everywhere, you have to be aware of your surroundings. Those that love nature will enjoy breathtaking scenery in what is probably one of the most environmentally friendly places in the US. There are plenty of opportunities for sailing, exploring outdoors, but also for meeting like-minded people.
The state with the weirdest climate where on the same day you can experience sunburns and snowstorms is among the highest-rated states when it comes to living conditions. Utah has a highly ranked economy, good infrastructure and is among the top ten best states in quality of education.
Crime rates are low, and residents enjoy some of the best-preserved natural landscapes and five national parks located in the state. Utah is also one of the more affordable states to live in the US. Low-housing costs attract many young people who want to be homeowners and live close to nature.
3. New Hampshire
New Hampshire is probably the safest place to live, thanks to crime rates well below the US average. It is also one of the healthiest states with a great health system and preserved and healthy nature.
Infrastructure ranks a bit below the US average, but the job market is strong, with places like Portsmouth being rated among the top 50 best job markets in the US. Being a small state is the big advantage of New Hampshire because of its accessibility to ski resorts, the beach, the lakes, and great hiking. Also, Boston is less than an hour away.
Vermont is renowned for its pristine nature, friendly neighbors, and high quality of life. It ranks high in education and has low crime rates. While the economy is just average, infrastructure is among the better ones.
This state is stunning in all four seasons, and those who like hiking and skiing are in heaven here. If you prefer living in small towns, this is a place for you. Access to organic food and homegrown produce is a fantastic advantage for all nature-oriented individuals. Moving to Vermont means you will save money, and your kid will grow up in a safe and friendly environment.
Minnesota is “the state of 10000 lakes” and ranks high for its natural environment. Its big cities are among the cleanest and healthiest in the nation with good infrastructure and excellent economy. The job market is strong, attracting many college graduates while living is affordable and the education system is good.
Charming small towns of Minnesota are idyllic places families will love. Year-round there are different festivals and events across the state for everyone to join and enjoy. Unemployment is low in this state, and in most charts, this state is at the very top as a favorable place for living.
Located right next to Washington DC, Virginia residents have easy access to jobs and attractions there. The state has a strong job market driven by both government and private sector demand, the economy is strong, and education is good thanks to ample funding.
While health care costs are higher than average, the health care system is among the best in the US. Crime rates are low, and the state has a lovely diverse natural environment going from beaches to mountains. Virginia is perfect for history buffs with all the historical locations, museums, and small towns along the East Coast.
Maryland is also located right next to Washington DC and offers all of the perks of living in Washington DC without high living costs. The economy is excellent and similar to Virginia, with a lot of government jobs thanks again to close proximity to DC. While infrastructure is not so good and crime rates are average, education is excellent.
Maryland is considered one of the wealthiest states, with the biggest number of millionaires per household. The state is also historically significant, with many companies opening here first before expanding. The biggest and most populated city is Baltimore, but great outdoors are just a short drive away from wherever you live in the state.
Thanks to its low unemployment rate, good economy, and health cost below the national average, it is one of the most affordable states to live in the US. Education and infrastructure are good, while real estate prices are low compared to other states of the same economic level.
While having a small population density, the state is not just farms and scenery, but it also has large towns and cities. Nebraska is known as a place for everybody, no matter the career and education. People of all profiles manage to find jobs here and live happy lives.
Massachusetts ranks high in education with some of the best universities like Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, Boston University, and more located in the state. Health is also highly rated with some of the best hospitals in the US. Add a diverse and booming economy, and you will see why it is placed so high on our list, even if crime rates could be lower.
The tech industry is booming, and entrepreneurs in this area are coming to the state in recent years. College graduates don’t have to go far after they finish university to find great jobs. Real estate is not cheap but compared to salaries it is affordable.
Colorado has a tremendous diverse economy, with places like Denver, Colorado Springs, and Boulder offering plenty of job opportunities. Crime rates are below the national average, education and health scores are superb with an educated population and the lowest obesity rates in the country.
The natural environment is fantastic for outdoor sports like skiing, snowboarding, and hiking. So many national parks and stunning natural areas are nearby, including the Rocky Mountains. You can spend every weekend hiking and still have places you haven’t got to see yet. Try kayaking in Black Canyon, or look for archeological sites in Mesa Verde National Park, for starters.
11. New Jersey
New Jersey is ranked among the highest for safety thanks to below-average crime rates, education is among the best in the country, and the Garden State’s natural environment is incredible for its size. It would be ranked even higher if not for the average economy, low affordability, and one of the worse infrastructure rankings on this list.
The biggest advantage of the state is the Atlantic shore, where you can spend weekends enjoying the beach and gambling in Atlantic City. At the same time, New York City is just a train ride away, and finding a job in the city while living in a more affordable area is what many people do here.
Iowa ranks among the highest in affordability, with costs of living and housing well below the national average. It has good education with one of the best literacy and graduation rates in the US. The economy is good, especially in Des Moines and crime rates are average. All of this makes Iowa an excellent state for families and young people.
Iowa is beautiful in every season, from flowery spring to cozy winter. Since the traffic jams rarely happen, you can drive to different parts of Iowa on weekends and have a fantastic time outdoors picnicking, hiking, or sailing down the Mississippi River. This state is famous for its friendly neighbors as well.
Florida, also known as the Sunshine State, has a great climate, beautiful beaches, and diverse wildlife, so its natural environment rating is quite high. Crime rates are not low but not too high compared to the national average. The economy is strong, affordability is high thanks to low-cost housing, and health care is also great.
Living in Florida is like living on vacation forever. Amusement parks, long sandy beaches, and Miami nightlife are just some of the attractions here. Any extended weekend you have, you can hop on one of the cruise ships sailing out of Port Canaveral or Miami.
14. North Dakota
North Dakota has a low cost of living and housing, and crime rates are well below the national average. A good economy, low taxes, and a healthy job market make a good balance for average health and education scores. The natural environment is ranked high with wide-open spaces and clean air.
This all sounds like an ideal place to live with very few flows. If you are from an agricultural, oil, or natural gas field, you will find a well-paid job here. Those in the tech industry can look into emerging markets as well. When you move to this gorgeous serene state, you will understand why it is called The Legendary State.
The Peach State economy is ranked high, and together with the low cost of living and affordable housing, it makes up for average education and health scores. The state has a stable job market, moderate taxation, and average crime rates.
With beautiful beaches and coastal towns, this state is very romantic looking. You can enjoy the beaches, try out different fresh seafood and visit historical sites while also being just a drive away from natural parks, forests, and mountains. Georgia has its own 7 natural wonders, featuring Amicalola Falls, Okefenokee Swamp, Providence Canyon, Radium Springs, Stone Mountain, Warm Springs, and Tallulah Gorge.
The Gem State is great to live in thanks to the below-average cost of living, booming economy, and plenty of job opportunities. Crime rates are low, and education and health care are at US average rates. The natural environment ranks high with large expanses of protected wilderness that are perfect for people who love outdoor activities.
About 38% of the state is forested, and Idaho belongs to mountain states, having portions of the Rocky Mountains. You can enjoy a lot of different activities outside while exploring wonderful nature. If you are new to the state, stunning scenery will be your favorite part of your new adventure.
17. North Carolina
Known for its pristine nature and moderate climate, this state has a great mix of affordable living and great opportunities for work, education, recreation, and more. The economy is strong, the education system is good, while the job market is robust. Crime rates are a bit above the national average.
This is one of the most popular states for retirees in the US. The fantastic climate is one of the reasons for that. You get to enjoy beaches all year long, while also having beautiful cities nearby. The state is split into three main regions, the coastal plains, the Piedmont region where all the big cities are, and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the west.
California doesn’t require an extra introduction. For many, Golden state is a dream location to live in, thanks to its unparalleled weather, amazing scenery, and beautiful beaches. The state has the largest economy in the US, the education system is impressive, and the health score is high. What’s holding it down on our list are high costs of living and housing, high tax rates, high crime rates, and infrastructure that could be better.
California is home to amazing multicultural cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego. It is also home to Tahoe lake, Death Valley National Park, and the largest trees on Earth, The Redwoods. Exploring California is like exploring a wonderland.
19. New York
The Empire State has a four-season climate, excellent public transportation, and surprisingly low crime rates. The economy is thriving, especially in New York City, with a diverse job market. The education system is well-funded, and the health system is above average. On the other hand, the cost of living is among the highest in the US, and while public transport is good, infrastructure should be a lot better.
New York state is best known for New York City, but upstate New York offers smaller towns, lakes, forests, and scenic rides. Autumn foliage is one of the biggest attractions when all the trees turn red, orange, and yellow. While you can enjoy art, luxury, and Michelin-star restaurants in New York City, upstate New York is a perfect escape from the city crowd.
Small Constitution State gets the highest score for education with Westport public schools, UConn, and Yale university located here. They have an excellent economy while the job market is booming. This state could be higher positioned on our list if not for the high cost of living, steep taxes, and average infrastructure.
Connecticut has an outstanding balance of urban areas and natural parts of the state, with fantastic scenery and stunning coast. New Haven has arguably the best pizza in America, and autumn foliage is picturesque, making this the best season in the state. Proximity to New York City is another advantage.
Every state has its pros and cons, from education to housing costs and job opportunities. Choosing the right state depends on your interests as well as opportunities to make money and grow your career.
States with a lot of natural areas, beaches, or national parks are attracting not only tourists but also residents. Within those states, small cities are usually great for families, while big cities are preferred by entrepreneurs.
Moving from one state to another can be stressful, but if you are gaining new possibilities and your family will be better there, then pack your things and start looking for new homes.