Should You live in a low income State? Livability Rankings

Low Income States Consistently Rated Worst States for Livability

We thought you might like to see a comparison of the Best and Worst States for Livability and the income rankings associated with each state.  Money may not buy happiness but the state you spend it in just might.

Best States for Livability and their Income Ranks

1.      New Hampshire                       $41,512          8
2.      Utah                                        $31,189         45
3.      Wyoming                                 $43,226          6
4.      Minnesota                                $41,034         11
5.      Iowa                                        $35,023         27

Worst States for Livability and their Income Ranks

50.     Mississippi                               $28,845          50
49.     South Carolina                         $31,013          47
48.     Kentucky                                  $31,111          46
47.     Tennessee                                $33,280          39
46.     Louisiana                                  $34,756          31
45.     West Virginia                           $29,537          49
Source:  U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis
CQ Press 2008 State Livability Rankings

                State income data is for 2007.

The highest income state, Connecticut at $54,117, has a livability ranking of 11. New Jersey, with an average state income of $49,194, has a livability rank of 7.  New York, rated 24th on livability, was rated 4th in income and California was 30th on livability and 7th on income.   It appears very low income states are low on livability yet high income does not insure being rated a Best State for livability.  Utah is a outlier in that it ranks 2 in livability yet has one of the lowest state incomes.

In about 60 days new data will be released on state income levels for 2008.  Also CQ press does a nice study of state livability each year. We will keep you posted when the new data is released.  Review top income states when they are released.  High income does not insure high livability.
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Best and Worst States for Jobs, State Job List from Careerbuilder

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.  Everyone is concerned about jobs.  Our economic stimulus program is supposed to help create more jobs.

I thought you would find the list of job openings by state enlightening.  The data was collected from Careerbuilder on 1/29/2009. 

(EDITORS NOTE:  For our updated list of BEST States for Jobs 2010 See Job Openings by State January 2010

For the latest list of Best and Worst States for Employment see Best States for Employment

Also see September 2009
please go to Best and Worst States for Jobs)and our Job Openings November 2009

It is the total number of job openings advertised on its site for the last 30 days by state. We thought this was a reasonable proxy for jobs although many low skilled jobs are not posted on the boards. We chose not to collect more than one site as many companies list their openings on multiple sites.

The Best States for Jobs are California, Texas, Florida, Illinois and New York in order of most job openings.  The Worst States are Wyoming, North Dakota, Maine, Montana and South Dakota.  Some of the Worst States have the lowest unemployment so there are very few unemployed people seeking work.  Wyoming, for example with only 373 jobs posted, has the lowest unemployment in the U.S.   Your odds are better where there are fewer applicants.  California has one of the highest unemployment rates in the U.S. at 9.3% so there is lots of competition for its 25,855 job openings.  See our Best and Worst State Unemployment List

By the way, the most advertised categories on Careerbuilder are for people with sales and healthcare skills.  If you are looking for a job you might want to make sure you are in the right field and the right state.  Total job openings need to increase in order for unemployment to decrease.  We will keep you posted.

     State                     Job Postings

 1    California               25855
2    Texas                     20051
3    Florida                   15174
4    Illinois                   13702
5    New York               13057
6    Pennsylvania          11141
7    New Jersey              8628
8    Ohio                         8276
9    Virginia                    7186
10    North Carolina        6803
11    Maryland                  6552
12    Massachusetts         6168
13    Arizona                    5992
14    Georgia                    5987
15    Michigan                  5541
16    Washington             4914
17    Indiana                    4731
18    Connecticut             4531
19    Missouri                   4458
20    Tennessee               4413
21    Wisconsin                4314
22    Colorado                 4214
23    Minnesota               4193
24    Louisiana                3494
25    Kansas                    3236
26    South Carolina        3136
27    Kentucky                2763
28    Alabama                 2567
29    Iowa                       2499
30    Oklahoma               2269
31    Nevada                   1865
32    Oregon                   1832
33    Mississippi             1548
34    New Mexico           1423
35    Arkansas               1414
36    Utah                       1236
37    Nebraska               1230
38    Delaware               1057
39    Hawaii                     865
40    West Virginia          856
41    Alaska                     805
42    Rhode Island           707
43    New Hampshire      694
44    Idaho                       665
45    Vermont                   659
46    South Dakota          585
47    Montana                  508
48    Maine                      449
49    North Dakota          438
50    Wyoming                373


Data developed on 1/29/09

Best and Worst States for Beer Drinkers, Beer Taxes on the Rise

New York State Governor Paterson recently issued the NY State Executive Briefing Book 2009-2010

Among the myriad of over 100 state tax increases, the Governor proposes a more than doubling of the states’ tax on beer from  $.11 per gallon to $.24 per gallon.  California Gov. Schwarzenegger has proposed an increase of $.05 on all alcohol related drinks.  Jerry Hirsch of the LA Times last week wrote Is his the end of Two Buck Chuck?

The Best and Worst States for Beer Drinkers 2008 is listed below.  The work is done by the  The Tax Foundation.

Best States for Beer Drinkers  (Lowest Tax)

1.  Wyoming           $.02
2.  Missouri             $.06
2.  Wisconsin          $.06
4.  Colorado            $.08
4.  Oregon               $.08
4.  Pennsylvania     $.08

Worst State for Beer Drinkers  (Highest Tax)

50.  Alaska              $1.07
49.  Georgia            $1.01
48.  Hawaii               $.93
47.  South Carolina  $.84
46.  Alabama            $.71

Dollars per gallon of beer

For a listing of all states go to:  Tax Foundation Beer Excise Tax Map 2008

With so many states having financial problems and looking to increase taxes, it is certain many states will follow California and New York with higher taxes on beer and other alcohol related products.  If beer drinking is a passion, watch the trends in your state and stock up before the new taxes go into effect.  The Best and Worst States map will clearly change in 2009.  We will keep you posted.
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State Unemployment Up in Every State in the Union, Wyoming Best, Michigan Worst State

State Unemployment Up in Every State in the Union, Wyoming Best, Michigan Worst State

State Unemployment Up in Every State of the Union

Michigan Surges to 10.6%.  Wyoming has lowest unemployment in nation at 3.4%.  Rhode Island  is the only other state with over 10.0%. California at 9.3% leaves millions of Californians unemployed. 

Texas was the only state that recorded a statistically significant year on year increase in the number of people working.  Employment increased by 153,000.   The largest statistically significant month over month decreases in employment were experienced in California (-78,000), Michigan (-59,000), New York (-54,000) and Illinois (-36,000).  Losing states show up in a number of areas for being unattractive to business.  See some of our other posts for info on state tax burdens, unionionization rates and attractiveness for business.

If you are looking for a job, the low unemployment states may provide work but you must be careful to understand the kind of industries and work that is available for your skill sets.  Most states have differing industries and worker needs.  Unemployment for December 2008  is listed below for all 50 states and District of Columbia.  The national unemployment rate is now at 7.2%

     Rank       State                                                                                                                                                                  

5 UTAH 4.3
6 IOWA 4.6
11 KANSAS 5.2
12 MONTANA 5.4
14 HAWAII 5.5
17 TEXAS 6.0
22 IDAHO 6.4
22 VERMONT 6.4
24 ALABAMA 6.7
26 ARIZONA 6.9
29 MAINE 7.0
29 NEW YORK 7.0
35 ALASKA 7.5
37 OHIO 7.8
41 FLORIDA 8.1
41 GEORGIA 8.1
43 INDIANA 8.2
46 OREGON 9.0
47 NEVADA 9.1
51 MICHIGAN 10.6

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

People Leave NY and Illinois for 32 Straight Years!!! People choose Best states with their feet.

Choosing where to live is complicated.  When you choose a state to live, it must be the Best State for your needs.  If a state has inward moves i.e. positive migration,  there must be enough positive factors to create that movement.  United Van Lines recently released its 2008 “migration study.”  It has done so for 32 years.  The “People’s Choice Award for Best and Worst States” are

Best States (Most Inward Moves)

1.  Washington DC
2.  Nevada
3.  North Carolina
4.  Alabama
5.  Wyoming
6.  South Dakota
7.  South Carolina
8.  Oregon

Worst States (Most Exits from State)

51.  Michigan
50.  North Dakota
49.  New Jersey
48.  Pennsylvania
47.  Rhode Island
46.  Illinois
45.  Indiana
44.  Maine
43.  New York

According to United, New York and Illinois have seen more exits for 32 straight years!!!  I wonder if the political folks are wondering why companies and people keep moving away.  Northern States dominate Net Exits.  Nevada has had 23 consecutive years of inward moves and Oregon has had 21 years.  Florida, California and Texas were considered balanced states.

For more info go to United’s website:

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Do Unions Contribute to Unemployment? Best and Worst States For Jobs

Highly unionized states have higher unemployment.

Editors Note:  For our February 2010 post that includes the updated State List of Unionization and Employment please go to State Unionism Rankings: Do Higher Unionized States have Higher Unemployment?

For the latest in Job Openings go to Job Openings by State January 2010

I thought you might find this list interesting.  It has been long debated whether unions help or hurt workers,companies and economies.  It appears that unionized states have high unemployment.  Pick where you want to live and work carefully.  Look for states with union participation below 10%.  You may have a higher chance of being employed.

Highest Unemployment States (Worst States) and Unionization

State                              Unemp%                        Rank                Union%        Union Rank
Michigan                9.6%                  50               19.5%           5
Rhode Island         9.3%                  49               15.0%          11
California               8.4%                  48               16.7%           7
South Carolina       8.4%                  47                 4.1%          48
Oregon                   8.1%                  46                14.3%         14

The most unionized state in the U.S. is New York at a 25.3%.  Its unemployment rate in November 2008 was 6.1%.

The lowest unemployment states typically have low union rates.  For example, Wyoming with the lowest unemployment at 3.3% has only 7.9% of its workforce unionized and ranks 32nd in U.S. in unionization.  Texas considered a Best State by CEO’s to grow their businesses has only a 4.7% unionization rate, 5th lowest in the country at a 45 rank. Its unemployment is 5.7%, below the country average.

The old adage “unions increase unemployment” may just be true.

Note to readers
:  State unemployment rates for December were recently released.  We will update you on some of the rankings.  Michigan’s unemployment jumped to 10.6%, California jumped to 9.3%, Rhode Island to 9.3%, Oregon to 9% and New York to 7%.  Wyoming has not reported. Texas unemployment is now 6%.  BLS will be releasing all state rankings shortly.

Sources: The Bureau of National Affairs (BNA), Inc., Arlington, VA,
Union Membership and Earnings Data Book: Compilations from the
Current Population Survey (2008 edition), (copyright by BNA PLUS);
authored by Barry Hirsch of Georgia State University and David Macpherson of Florida
State University. Internet sites , 
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Best and Worst States for Credit Scores

Where you live influences your income, your job opportunities and the kinds of industries you might work.  The state you live may also affect your credit score. Credit report has a great report on average state credit scores.  If your state is not listed click on the link to their site.


Best States for Credit Scores  (highest)

1.  South Dakota               710
2.  Minnesota                    707
3.  North Dakota               706
3.  Vermont                      706
5.  New Hampshire           703
5.  Massachusetts             703

Worst States for Credit Scores  (lowest)

51.  Texas                         651
50.  Nevada                      655
49.  Arizona                      659
48.  New Mexico               663
48.  Louisiana                   663

The national average is about 680.  Your score can cost you if it is low.  Watch your credit and pick your state wisely.  Lenders factor in the losses in a market when making loans.

2008 Crime State Rankings: New Hampshire Best, Nevada Worst

New Hampshire was declared  the safest state in the  2008 edition of
Crime State Rankings by CQ Press.

Nevada was declared the most dangerous.

Best States  (Lowest crime)

New Hampshire
North Dakota,
South Dakota

Worst States  (Highest Crime)

New Mexico
South Carolina

New Hampshire was declared for the first time after 10 consecutive years of North Dakota being awarded the most safe.  Nevada has been the most dangerous for the last 5 years.  Safety is an important long term consideration to home values and migration patterns.  Retirees should consider crime stats when picking a best place to retire.

CQ publishes an an extensive analysis.  You can find out more at

Best and Worst Electricity Rates by State

Your electric bill is typically more than your gasoline bills. It can be even higher depending on the state you live.
The Energy Information Administration releases official energy statistics from the U.S. government.  Their site is

Best States for Electricity (lowest rates)

1.  Idaho               7.3
2.  West Virginia    7.41
3.  Kentucky          7.82
3.  Washington      7.82
5.  Missouri           8.34

Worst States for Electricity  (highest rates)

50.  Hawaii            36.94
49.  Connecticut     20.24
48.  New York        19.42
47.  Rhode Island   18.13
46.  Massachusetts 17.85

Rates (cents per kilowatthour) were published in mid December 2008 and are residential rates for the month of September 2008.

The U.S. average is 11.94 up 9.1% from the previous year.

The Northeast has the highest rates.   If you are on a fixed income living, picking the best state to retire in can save a bundle.

Best and Worst States for SAT Scores

Student SAT scores are an important indicator of college preparedness.  Where a child grows up and gets educated can dramatically alter his or her performance and opportunities in life.  Here are the Best and Worst States for SAT Scores for 2008.

Editors Note:  For the latest 2009 State Sat Scores got to State SAT Scores 2009

For the latest in Best States for Jobs 2009 go to Best States for Job Openings September 2009

According to the CollegeBoard SAT 2008 College-Bound Seniors State SAT reports the Best and Worst States for SAT scores are:

Best States for SAT Scores

Rank    State                 R      M       W         Total
1.    Iowa                       608    613    586    1807
2.    Illinois                     594    611    588    1793
3.    Minnesota               596    603    577    1776
4.    Missouri                  594    594    587    1775
5.    South Dakota          598    602    567    1767

Worst States for SAT Scores

Rank    State                  R       M       W       Total
51.    Maine                     466    465    457    1388
50.    Dist of Columbia      478    462    471    1411
49.    South Carolina        488    496    475    1459
48.    Hawaii                    484    506    473    1463
47.    Florida                    497    496    476    1469
46.    Georgia                   494    495    483    1472
R- Critical Reading   M-Mathematics   W-Writing

It is also interesting to see where some of our most populated states are ranked.
California is ranked 35, New York  44 and Texas is 41. Employers may also want to take note of these rankings.