Best and Worst States for Health

American Health does a ranking every year of states utilizing a methodology that looks at 22 measures of health determinants and outcomes.  It then ranks the states.

The Best and Worst States for Health in 2008 are:

Best States for Health

1.  Vermont
2.  Hawaii
3.  New Hampshire
4.  Minnesota
5.  Utah

Worst States for Health

50.  Louisiana
49.  Mississippi
48.  South Carolina
47.  Tennessee
46.  Texas

According to American Health Vermont has been ranked Best for the 2nd straight year.  Positive factors included high rate of high school graduation, a low violent crime rate, a low percentage of children in poverty, high per capita public health funding, ready access to primary care, low geographic disparity of mortality rates within the state and a low premature death rate. Two challenges are low immunization coverage with 79.8 percent of children ages 19 to 35 months receiving complete immunizations and a high prevalence of binge drinking at 17.3 percent of the population.

, the Worst State, fell to 50 from 49 in 2008. It has been rated in the bottom 2 states for all years since 1990.  It ranks in the bottom five states on 10 of the 22 measures including a high prevalence of obesity, a high percentage of children in poverty, a high rate of uninsured population, a high incidence of infectious disease, a low rate of high school graduation and many preventable hospitalizations.

The state you live can have an important role in your health.

For the full listing and more info go to their site at American Health Rankings

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 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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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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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 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.

South Florida Losing Population. Georgia and North Carolina are favorite destinations.

Florida”s Sun-Sentinel today reports that South Florida is shrinking.

The paper reports that Internal Revenue Service filings show 43,371 fewer people in Broward and 11,028 fewer people in Palm Beach County since 2005.  Birth rates are shrinking and school enrollment is down.  It appears that the population is shrinking on all fronts.  Working age people are finding wages low as compared to the cost of living. Retirees are finding real estate prices, property taxes and homeowners insurance.  Is the state losing its designation as a Best Place to retire.  For full Sun-Sentinel story go to:,0,735270.story.

The paper also reports the favorite out of state destinations that Broward and Palm Beach county residents relocate to.

Top destinations are 1. Georgia, 2. North Carolina and 3. Texas.  For all the details go to:,0,6920758.story

Best and Worst States to Retire

Well it used to be that the 2 best places to retire were Arizona and Florida.  It appears as a result of this latest real estate boom and bust that these 2 states while great for weather have started to drop in retirees eyes as attractive places to be.  Part of it is due to the run up in real estate prices that has literally made it unaffordable for many to buy and live on a fixed income.  Florida for example has seen the first shrinkage in its population in many years.  People are moving to other venues such as Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina and other venues as the cost of housing is more affordable and the real estate taxes not as burdensome.  Arizona has also seen its run up in real estate that has made it more difficult to live comfortably there.  What are your thoughts?  What are the best places to retire today?  What are the worst?