Best and Worst States for Income. Is highest the best?

Best and Worst States for Income in 2008

Connecticut is the Best State for Per Capita Income in 2008 with an average of $63,160.  It is followed by Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Wyoming.

The Worst State for Income is Mississippi with an average income of $31,836.  The next Worst States are West Virginia, Arkansas, Kentucky and South Carolina.

Higher income does not necessarily correlate to better lifestyle.  Connecticut, for example, is the Worst State for Taxes with the highest tax burden in the country.  Generally the highest income states have the highest tax burdens and higher cost of living index. See: Cost of Living by State

You could spend a lot more for the same house and have a lot less disposable income to enjoy life

State Income Per Capita Rank
Conn. $63,160 1
Mass. $56,661 2
N.J. $56,116 3
N.Y. $55,032 4
Wyo. $53,163 5
Md. $52,709 6
Nev. $49,371 7
Wash. $48,574 8
Colo. $48,300 9
N.H. $48,033 10
Calif. $47,706 11
Va. $47,666 12
Ill. $46,693 13
Hawaii $46,512 14
Fla. $46,293 15
Minn. $46,106 16
Del. $44,889 17
Alaska $44,872 18
R.I. $44,463 19
Pa. $43,796 20
Tex. $42,796 21
Vt. $42,626 22
Wis. $40,953 23
Kans. $40,784 24
Nebr. $40,499 25
N.D. $39,612 26
Ore. $39,444 27
Mich. $39,273 28
La. $39,116 29
S.D. $39,103 30
Ohio $38,925 31
Iowa $38,636 32
Okla. $38,415 33
Maine $38,309 34
Ariz. $38,174 35
Tenn. $38,090 36
Mo. $38,084 37
Ga. $37,850 38
N.C. $37,508 39
Ind. $37,279 40
Mont. $36,793 41
Idaho $36,492 42
Ala. $36,372 43
N.M. $36,031 44
Utah $35,971 45
S.C. $35,419 46
Ky. $34,339 47
Ark. $33,395 48
W.Va. $32,145 49
Miss. $31,836 50
U.S. $44,254
D.C. $70,730
Note: See table 38 for average people per household by state.
Source: Tax Foundation Special Report, No. 163, “State-Local Tax Burdens Dip as Income Growth Outpaces Tax Growth.” The income measure used adds the following to Bureau of Economic Analysis’s personal income measure: capital gains realizations, pension and life insurance distributions, corporate income taxes paid, and taxes on production and imports less subsidies. It subtracts from personal income the fungible portion of Medicare and Medicaid, estimated Medicare benefits that are provided via supplementary contributions, initial contributions to pension income and life insurance from employers, and the annual investment income of life insurance carriers and pensions that is included in personal income.

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Best and Worst States for U.S. Presidents, Virginia has Most

In What States were Presidents Born?

Virginia is the Best State for Presidents with 8 Presidents born in its state.  Ohio is second with 7. Massachusetts and New York with 4 are ranked third.  Many states have no Presidents.

George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson and William Henry Harrison were all born before the U.S. became a country.  Their colonies later became states and are reflected as such in the table.

Happy Presidents Day!

U.S. President Birth States
1. George Washington (1789-97) Virginia
2. John Adams (1797-1801) Massachusetts
3. Thomas Jefferson (1801-09) Virginia
4. James Madison (1809-17) Virginia
5. James Monroe (1817-25) Virginia
6. John Quincy Adams (1825-29) Massachusetts
7. Andrew Jackson (1829-37) South Carolina
8. Martin Van Buren (1837-41) New York
9. William Henry Harrison (1841) Virginia
10. John Tyler (1841-45) Virginia
11. James K. Polk (1845-49) North Carolina
12. Zachary Taylor (1849-50) Virginia
13. Millard Fillmore (1850-53) New York
14. Franklin Pierce (1853-57) New Hampshire
15. James Buchanan (1857-61) Pennsylvania
16. Abraham Lincoln (1861-65) Kentucky
17. Andrew Johnson (1865-69) North Carolina
18. Ulysses S. Grant (1869-77) Ohio
19. Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-81) Ohio
20. James A. Garfield (1881) Ohio
21. Chester A. Arthur (1881-85) Vermont
22. Grover Cleveland (1885-89) New Jersey
23. Benjamin Harrison (1889-93) Ohio
24. Grover Cleveland (1893-97) New Jersey
25. William McKinley (1897-1901) Ohio
26. Theodore Roosevelt (1901-09) New York
27. William H. Taft (1909-13) Ohio
28. Woodrow Wilson (1913-21) Virginia
29. Warren G. Harding (1921-23) Ohio
30. Calvin Coolidge (1923-29) Vermont
31. Herbert Hoover (1929-33) Iowa
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-45) New York
33. Harry S. Truman (1945-53) Missouri
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-61) Texas
35. John F. Kennedy (1961-63) Massachusetts
36. Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-69) Texas
37. Richard M. Nixon (1969-74) California
38. Gerald R. Ford (1974-77) Nebraska
39. Jimmy Carter (1977-81) Georgia
40. Ronald Reagan (1981-89) Illinois
41. George Bush (1989-93) Massachusetts
42. William J. Clinton (1993-2001) Arkansas
43. George W. Bush (2001-2009) Connecticut
44. Barack Hussein Obama (2009-) Hawaii

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Best and Worst States for Wind Energy

Where does your state rank on use of Wind Power?

The American Wind Energy Association recently published data on Existing Wind Energy Capacity in Megawatts and
construction underway.

Texas is the Best State for Wind Energy with 7116 megawatts(mw) of existing capacity.  It also has the highest construction with 1,651 mw underway.  Iowa, California, Minnesota and Washington round out the Top 5 Best States for Wind Energy.

There are a number of States on the list for the Worst States for Wind Energy.  The bottom 10 states have no wind energy capacity and none underway according to the AWEA. For a great map of all states go to American Wind Energy Association


Also check out my previous post on Best and Worst States for Electricity RatesWashington which has the 3rd lowest rate in the nation for electric rates is also in the top 5 for Wind Energy.  Connecticut, on the other extreme, has the 49th highest cost of electricity in the country yet has no wind energy capability.  It does not even have any underway.

If you believe oil and gas prices could go up again in the future you might want to consider living in a state that is serious about other forms of power.

Best States for Wind Energy

Rank State Existing Underway
1 Texas 7,116 1,651
2 Iowa 2,790 20
3 California 2,517 275
4 Minnesota 1,752 0
5 Washington 1,375 70
6 Colorado 1,068 0
7 Oregon 1,067 250
8 Illinois 915 201
9 New York 832 464
10 Kansas 815 199
Worst States For Wind Energy
Rank State Existing Underway
50 Louisiana 0 0
49 Kentucky 0 0
48 Georgia 0 0
47 Florida 0 0
46 Delaware 0 0
45 Connecticut 0 0
44 Alabama 0 0
43 North Carolina 0 0
42 Mississippi 0 0
41 South Carolina 0 0

Source: American Wind Energy Association Blog Search Engine

Graduation Rates, SAT Scores and Educational Spending. Who is the Best and Worst?

Does increased spending on Education lead to higher performance?

*******Go to 2009 State SAT Scores List  for the latest SAT results.*********

This question was raised in prior posts.

I thought you might find these 2 charts interesting.  Best and Worst States For Education Spending ranks all states by spending and shows the SAT Score Rank of its students. I also have attached a Chart from  Heritage that shows that the best funded cities do not have the highest graduation rates.

The more money spent clearly does not show up in higher SAT scores or graduation rates. 

New Jersey spends the most money.  Its SAT score rank is 33 .  New York, at 2nd on the money spend, ranks 44th on SAT scores.  The “Worst” State for Education Spending is Utah yet its students rank 20th on the SAT score list above NY and New Jersey. Utah spends about 1/3 the dollars of NY and New Jersey.  Its students do better than all of the Top 10 spenders on Education.  Utah may be considered a Best State for Education considering its bang for the dollar.

Arizona
is the next lowest spend state yet ranks 29th on the SAT Scores list.  Arizona students perform better than the top 6 spenders.  Mesa, AZ which is at the bottom of the Heritage list of city spends has a graduation rate of 77.1%.  Mesa spends only 40% of Boston which has a much lower graduation rate of 57%.

Clearly money is not the only factor that impacts educational performance.  You may want to consider carefully your state’s approach to education.  It appears more dollars on education does not lead to better results.  Tell your political leaders you want accountability for results not just money spent.

State Ed Spend SAT Rank
1 New Jersey 15,033 36
2 New York 14,593 44
3 DC 14,214 50
4 Connecticut 13,059 31
5 Vermont 12,749 30
6 Rhode Island 12,425 41
7 Massachusetts 12,398 29
8 Delaware 11,619 43
9 Alaska 11,551 33
10 Maine 11,014 51
11 Pennsylvania 10,900 45
12 Wyoming 10,852 16
13 Maryland 10,682 37
14 New Hampshire 10,405 26
15 Wisconsin 10,388 6
16 Michigan 9,947 13
17 Ohio 9,936 23
18 West Virginia 9,609 32
19 Hawaii 9,581 48
20 Indiana 9,498 38
21 Illinois 9,473 2
22 Virginia 9,463 34
23 Nebraska 9,365 9
24 Minnesota 9,284 3
25 Montana 8,661 22
26 Oregon 8,595 27
27 Georgia 8,589 46
28 Iowa 8,479 1
29 Kansas 8,440 7
30 California 8,418 35
31 Missouri 8,368 4
32 New Mexico 8,342 21
33 North Dakota 8,337 7
34 Colorado 8,334 18
35 Washington 8,218 25
36 Louisiana 8,167 14
37 Arkansas 8,156 11
38 South Carolina 8,039 49
39 South Dakota 7,949 5
40 Texas 7,716 42
41 Florida 7,683 47
42 Kentucky 7,595 15
43 Alabama 7,532 19
44 North Carolina 7,352 41
45 Tennessee 7,295 10
46 Nevada 7,246 41
47 Oklahoma 7,039 12
48 Mississippi 6,973 17
49 Idaho 6,729 24
50 Arizona 6,586 29
51 Utah 5,555 20


Sources:  Dept of Education.  Spending not regionally adjusted.  College Board.

http://www.heritage.org/research/Education/images/b2179_chart5.gif
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Best and Worst States for Defending Life, Pennsylvania Best, California Worst

Americans United for Life (AUL) has recently published a Best and Worst States for Defending Life 2009.  It is a state by state legal guide for Abortion, Bioethics and the End of Life.

It is an extensive review of State policy and law for each state and has a ranking methodology for each of the defined areas of Defending Life.  Pennsylvania is ranked the Best State and California the Worst for Defending Life.

Regardless of your views or politics, the AUL study provides important insight into your state’s positions on issues such as assisted suicide, human cloning, stem cell research, parental notification for abortion for minors and other matters.  It is info you may find useful.  Source: Defending Life 2009

 

Best States Worst States
1. Pennsylvania 50. California
2. Louisiana 49. Hawaii
3. South Dakota 48. Vermont
4. Oklahoma 47. New Jersey
5. Mississippi 46. Connecticut
6. Texas 45. Nevada
7. North Dakota 44. Oregon
8. Nebraska 43. New York
9. Arkansas 42. Washington
10. Indiana 41. Illinois

Smoking by State, Utah has least Smokers, Kentucky Most

Smoking by State, Utah has least Smokers, Kentucky Most

Editors Note: For the 2009 List of Smokers by State and the latest map go to Smoking States 2009, Tobacco Producing States and State Smoking Map

Why do people smoke more in one state versus another?  Does the number of smokers in a state affect lifestyle?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes great statistics on many aspects of health.  The smoking list is compliled by them and was completed in 2007.

Utah is the Best State for Non Smokers with only 11.7% of its population using cigarettes.  Kentucky is the Worst State with 28.3% of its population smoking.  California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Minnesota round out the top 5 Best StatesWest Virginia, Oklahoma, Missouri and Tennessee are the next Worst States following Kentucky for Non Smokers.

It is well known that smoking increases health care costs. You may want to live in a state with low smoking rates.  Then again if you are a smoker this list will help you find lots of company to light up with.

Best and Worst States for Non Smokers (% of cigarette smokers)
Utah 11.7

2 California 14.3

3 Connecticut 15.5

4 Massachuset 16.4

5 Minnesota 16.5

6 Washington  16.8

7 Oregon 16.9

8 Hawaii 17

9 Rhode Islan 17

10 Maryland 17.1

11 New Jersey 17.2

12 District of Co 17.3

13 Vermont 17.6

14 Kansas 17.9

15 Virginia 18.6

16 Colorado 18.7

17 New York 18.9

18 Delaware 19

19 Idaho 19.2

20 Florida 19.3

21 Georgia 19.3

22 New Hamps 19.4

23 Texas 19.4

24 Montana 19.5

25 Wisconsin 19.6

26 Arizona 19.8

27 Iowa 19.8

28 South Dakot 19.8

29 Nebraska 19.9

30 Maine 20.1

31 Illinois 20.2

32 New Mexico 20.8

33 Pennsylvani 20.9

34 North Dakot 21

35 Michigan 21.2

36 Nevada 21.5

37 South Caroli 21.9

38 Wyoming 22.1

39 Alaska 22.2

40 Arkansas 22.4

41 Alabama 22.5

42 Louisiana 22.6

43 North Caroli 22.9

44 Ohio 23.1

45 Mississippi 24

46 Indiana 24.1

47 Tennessee 24.3

48 Missouri 24.6

49 Oklahoma 25.8

50 West Virgini 27

51 Kentucky 28.3

Source:  Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Are State Health Mandates reducing Jobs? Best and Worst States for Driving Up Healthcare Costs

Health Care Costs are Rising.  Jobs are scarce. 

Should states be putting more burdens on employers that decrease their ability to hire? What states are making employees more expensive to hire?

The  Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council  publishes an annual  “State Health Care Policy Cost Index.”

If you are an employer you should pay close attention to this study as it identifies the Best and Worst States for Health mandates that drive up health insurance costs.

Idaho is the Best State for Health Care Cost PolicyMassachusetts is the Worst State for Health Care Cost Policy.  Rounding out the Top 5 Best States are Utah, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio.  The bottom 5 includes Washington, Maine, Connecticut and Vermont.

Employers are finding it harder to afford health care costs for employees.  Employers looking for the Best State to hire employees will consider the costs of health insurance.  If you are looking for the Best States for Job Growth this list may matter.
.
State                   HSA      GI          CR             M     P/P       Score

1 Idaho 0 0 0.33 0.75 0 1.08
2 Utah 0 0 0.33 1.15 0 1.48
3 Iowa 0 0 0.33 1.25 0 1.58
4 Michigan 0 0 0.33 1.3 0 1.63
4 Ohio 0 0 0.33 1.3 0 1.63
6 Alaska 0 0 0.33 1.4 0 1.73
7 South Carolina 0 0 0.33 1.45 0 1.78
8 South Dakota 0 0 0.33 1.55 0 1.88
9 Pennsylvania 0 0 0 1.9 0 1.9
10 Nebraska 0 0 0.33 1.6 0 1.93
10 Wyoming 0 0 0.33 1.6 0 1.93
12 Dist. Of Columbia 1 0 0 0.95 0 1.95
13 Kentucky 0 0 0.33 1.65 0 1.98
14 North Dakota 0 0 0.33 1.7 0 2.03
15 Oklahoma 0 0 0.33 1.8 0 2.13
16 Kansas 0 0 0.33 1.85 0 2.18
17 West Virginia 0 0 0.33 1.9 0 2.23
18 Missouri 0 0 0.33 1.95 0 2.28
18 Alabama 1 0 0.33 0.95 0 2.28
20 Illinois 0 0 0.33 2 0 2.33
20 Montana 0 0 0.33 2 0 2.33
20 Tennessee 0 0 0.33 2 0 2.33
23 Arkansas 0 0 0.33 2.05 0 2.38
23 Georgia 0 0 0.33 2.05 0 2.38
25 Oregon 0 0 0.66 1.8 0 2.46
26 Louisiana 0 1 0.33 2.15 0 2.48
27 Delaware 0 0 0.33 1.25 0 2.58
28 Virginia 0 1 0 2.75 0 2.75
29 Arizona 0 1 0.33 1.45 0 2.78
29 Mississippi 0 0 0.33 1.45 0 2.78
31 New Mexico 0 0 0.33 2.55 0 2.88
32 Nevada 0 0 0.33 2.6 0 2.93
33 Texas 0 0 0.33 2.7 0 3.03
33 Wisconsin 1 1 0.33 1.7 0 3.03
35 Hawaii 0 0 0 1.15 1 3.15
36 Indiana 1 0 0.33 1.85 0 3.18
37 Minnesota 0 1 0.33 3.2 0 3.53
38 New Hampshire 0 1 0.66 1.95 0 3.61
39 North Carolina 0 1 0.33 2.35 0 3.68
39 Rhode Island 0 1 0.33 2.35 0 3.68
41 Florida 0 0 0.33 2.4 0 3.73
42 New York 0 0 1 2.75 0 3.75
43 New Jersey 1 1 0.66 2.1 0 3.76
44 Colorado 0 0 0.33 2.45 0 3.78
45 Maryland 0 0 0.66 3.15 0 3.81
46 California 1 1 0.33 2.5 0 3.83
47 Vermont 0 1 0.66 1.35 1 4.01
48 Connecticut 0 1 0.66 2.55 0 4.21
49 Maine 0 1 0.66 2.65 0 4.31
49 Washington 0 1 0.66 2.65 0 4.31
51 Massachusetts 0 0.66 2.15 1 4.81

Source:  The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council’s Small Business Policy Series Analysis #33 February 2009
HSA-Health Saving Account Deductions, GI- Guaranteed Issue for Self Employed, CR-Community Rating Mandate, M- Number of Mandates
P/P- Play to Pay Mandate

States will be looking to attract businesses to grow and relocate in the current economic climate in order to drive job opportunities and tax revenue.  They are reviewing how to increase incentives. Reducing State health care mandates will make it more attractive for employers to hire.

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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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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                                                                                                                                                                  

1 WYOMING 3.4
2 NORTH DAKOTA 3.5
3 SOUTH DAKOTA 3.9
4 NEBRASKA 4.0
5 UTAH 4.3
6 IOWA 4.6
6 NEW HAMPSHIRE 4.6
8 NEW MEXICO 4.9
8 OKLAHOMA 4.9
8 WEST VIRGINIA 4.9
11 KANSAS 5.2
12 MONTANA 5.4
12 VIRGINIA 5.4
14 HAWAII 5.5
15 MARYLAND 5.8
16 LOUISIANA 5.9
17 TEXAS 6.0
18 COLORADO 6.1
19 ARKANSAS 6.2
19 DELAWARE 6.2
19 WISCONSIN 6.2
22 IDAHO 6.4
22 VERMONT 6.4
24 ALABAMA 6.7
24 PENNSYLVANIA 6.7
26 ARIZONA 6.9
26 MASSACHUSETTS 6.9
26 MINNESOTA 6.9
29 MAINE 7.0
29 NEW YORK 7.0
31 CONNECTICUT 7.1
31 NEW JERSEY 7.1
31 WASHINGTON 7.1
34 MISSOURI 7.3
35 ALASKA 7.5
36 ILLINOIS 7.6
37 KENTUCKY 7.8
37 OHIO 7.8
39 TENNESSEE 7.9
40 MISSISSIPPI 8.0
41 FLORIDA 8.1
41 GEORGIA 8.1
43 INDIANA 8.2
44 NORTH CAROLINA 8.7
45 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 8.8
46 OREGON 9.0
47 NEVADA 9.1
48 CALIFORNIA 9.3
49 SOUTH CAROLINA 9.5
50 RHODE ISLAND 10.0
51 MICHIGAN 10.6

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

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 www.eia.doe.gov.

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.