Skip to Content

The Definitive List: Ranking 20 States from Best to Worst for Living

(Last Updated On: )

Exploring the vast and varied landscape of the United States, this list ranks states from the absolute best places to plant your roots to those requiring more love and attention. Let’s dive into the rankings, exploring what each state offers and where it might fall short, all without the frills of pros and cons subheadings.

1. Massachusetts

shutterstock 2330793659 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / bodhichita

A beacon of education and historical richness, Massachusetts boasts incredible schools and vibrant cultural scenes. Yet, it’s not for those who despise shoveling snow or high living costs.

2. Washington

shutterstock 174209186

Image Credit: Shutterstock / f11photo

Tech innovation meets natural splendor. Washington’s booming economy contrasts with its gray skies and the Seattle Freeze, which might leave newcomers feeling a bit chilly.

3. California

shutterstock 1029841927 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Engel Ching

From Silicon Valley’s tech gold rush to Southern California’s endless summer, it’s a dream. However, dream-crushing wildfires and eye-watering housing prices temper the allure.

4. Colorado

shutterstock 1650404440 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Kevin Ruck

A paradise for outdoor enthusiasts with a burgeoning tech scene. But, the high cost of living and rapid population growth are starting to erode its once laid-back charm.

5. Minnesota

shutterstock 1230019933

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jacob Boomsma

Famous for its friendly folks and thousands of lakes, it’s great until you experience your first -30°F winter day. The Twin Cities also offer a vibrant cultural scene, despite the frosty winters.

6. Virginia

shutterstock 746637304 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Rich in history and with a strong job market, particularly in tech and defense. The traffic around Northern Virginia, however, might just test your resolve.

7. Utah

shutterstock 714783013

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Lukas Bischoff Photograph

Boasting some of the most stunning landscapes and outdoor recreation opportunities. Yet, the air quality in Salt Lake Valley during winter can be less than breathtaking.

8. North Carolina

shutterstock 538478605 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / anthony heflin

A blend of beautiful coastlines, tech hubs, and academic excellence. But brace yourself for humid summers and the occasional hurricane scare.

9. Wisconsin

shutterstock 1096734185 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Cheese, craft beer, and the great outdoors define Wisconsin. The winters, however, are long and brutal, challenging even for the hardiest souls.

10. Oregon

shutterstock 53086396 2

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jeffrey T. Kreulen

It’s a haven for nature lovers, and Portland keeps things quirky. The ongoing challenges with housing affordability and urban sprawl, however, cast a shadow.

11. New York

shutterstock 1020680206 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / littlenySTOCK

The Empire State is a cultural powerhouse with unmatched diversity. High taxes and living costs, along with upstate winters, make it a challenging paradise.

12. Texas

shutterstock 220743916 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / f11photo

A booming economy and no state income tax attract many. Yet, extreme weather and varying attitudes on social issues add complexity to the Lone Star life.

13. Pennsylvania

shutterstock 218922640 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Samuel Borges Photography

Steeped in American history and home to both bustling cities and serene landscapes. However, the infrastructure and education disparities pose significant challenges.

14. Michigan

shutterstock 2300625817 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / anek.soowannaphoom

The Great Lakes State offers stunning beauty and a revived auto industry. Detroit’s resurgence is inspiring, though economic and urban recovery is still a work in progress.

15. Georgia

shutterstock 1031967217

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

A peach of a state with a thriving Atlanta metro area. Yet, rural areas face economic hardships, and the hot, humid summers are not everyone’s cup of tea.

16. Florida

shutterstock 1410893864 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Sunshine and retirees galore, with no state income tax to boot. Hurricanes, humidity, and the occasional alligator in the pool, however, might dampen the appeal.

17. Ohio

shutterstock 744400546

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

A state of rock and roll and aviation pioneers. Economic opportunities vary greatly, though, and the weather can be as unpredictable as a rollercoaster at Cedar Point.

18. Alabama

shutterstock 417347164 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Rich in Southern culture and history. Economic disparities and storm threats, however, highlight the challenges within this deeply historical state.

19. Mississippi

shutterstock 652117483 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Home to the blues and warm, welcoming communities. It faces significant hurdles in healthcare, education, and economic development, making it a tough spot on the list.

20. Louisiana

shutterstock 390070024 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / GTS Productions

A melting pot of cultures and the birthplace of jazz. Unfortunately, it struggles with natural disasters and socioeconomic issues, placing it at the bottom of our rankings.

Feels Like Home 

shutterstock 513678967

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Nick Starichenko

Every state has its unique flavor and set of challenges. Whether you’re drawn to the bustling streets of a megacity or the tranquil expanse of the countryside, there’s a corner of America that feels like home. Finding that perfect spot might just require a bit of exploration and an open mind.

More Articles Like This…

Barcelona: Discover the Top 10 Beach Clubs

2024 Global City Travel Guide – Your Passport to the World’s Top Destination Cities

Exploring Khao Yai 2024 – A Hidden Gem of Thailand

The post The Definitive List: Ranking 20 States from Best to Worst for Living republished on Passing Thru with permission from The Green Voyage.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Mehdi Photos.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

Tips for Trip Success

Book Your Flight
Find an inexpensive flight by using Kayak, a favorite of ours because it regularly returns less expensive flight options from a variety of airlines.

Book Your Hotel or Special Accommodation
We are big fans of Booking.com. We like their review system and photos. If we want to see more reviews and additional booking options, we go to Expedia.

You Need Travel Insurance!
Good travel insurance means having total peace of mind. Travel insurance protects you when your medical insurance often will not and better than what you get from your credit card. It will provide comprehensive coverage should you need medical treatment or return to the United States, compensation for trip interruption, baggage loss, and other situations.Find the Perfect Insurance Plan for Your Tripimage 9133145 14418597

PassingThru is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

To view PassingThru’s privacy policy, click here.

+ posts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.