Best States for Income

The U.S.Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its rankings of personal income by state for 2009.

Personal income throughout the U.S. was down 1.7% in 2009.  44 states had declining incomes in 2009.  6 states saw an increase.

The Best State for Income Growth in 2009 was West Virginia with an increase 2.1%.  Despite this growth West Virginia has the 44th lowest income in the U.S. at $32,219. It did improve from a 49th ranking in 2008.

The Worst State For Income Growth was Nevada with a decrease of 4.8%.  Nevada with an income of $38,578 was ranked 20th in the U.S in personal income.

The Best State for Income in 2009 was Connecticut .  It had the highest state income at $54,397.   Additional Top States for Income were  New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland and New York .

The Worst State for Income was Mississippi .  At $30,013, it has the lowest state income.  Utah, Idaho, South Carolina and Kentucky were also Worst States for Income in 2009.

Income is only one factor in determining a Best State to Live.  Cost of Living , quality of education and job openings and availability should also be considered.

State Ranking of Income 2009

The ranking of states by income follows:

Smoking States and Tobacco Producing States

Smoking has been on a long term decline in the U.S.

Total smokers in the U.S. according to Americas Health Rankings Assessment on Smoking have declined from 29.5% in 1990 to 18.3% in 2009.  Smokers as a per cent of the U.S. population have shrunk 38% since 1990.

Americas Health Rankings also does a great job in providing statistics for each of the states.  Smoking trends by State have some interesting aspects not quickly seen by observing the data.

The Best and Worst States 2009 Smokers by State map highlights high smoking and low smoking states.  It is listed below:

State Smoking Population Map

From the map it is readily apparent that the mid west and southern states have the strongest affinity for smoking.

The Best State for Non-Smokers, i.e. lowest smoking population, is Utah.  Only 9.3% of the Utah population smokes.  Additional Top States for Non-Smokers are California, New Jersey, Maryland and Hawaii.

The Best State for Smokers, i.e. the highest smoking population, is West Virginia with 26.5% of its population smokers.  Over one in four people over 18 smoke in West Virginia.  Additional Top States for Smokers are Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Oklahoma.  Nevada had the highest smoking population in 1990 at 35.7% according to Americas Health.  Nevada’s smoking population has since declined to 22.1%, a dramatic decline.

The entire 2009 list of Smokers by State is published below.

The populations of tobacco producing states are above average smokers.  It seems logical.  If a state produces lots of tobacco,  its population is more likely to smoke.  The chart of Top Producing Tobacco States supports this contention.   North Carolina has the most tobacco acreage by far and ranks as the 14th highest smoking state.  Kentucky, the 2nd largest tobacco producer, ranks 3 in the nation for highest per cent of its population being smokers.  Virginia and Connecticut appear to be outliers.  Virginia is the third largest producer yet its population ranks 40th in the nation for smoking.  Connecticut is the 9th largest producer of tobacco yet its smoking population is 44th or ranked 7th lowest state for smokers.  All the other Top Tobacco Producing States have above average smoking populations.

The Top Ten Tobacco Producing States are listed below along with their Smoker Rank.

Top Ten Tobacco Producing States

List of Smoking Population by State

If you consider smoking or non-smoking an important aspect of lifestyle, this info may help you find a state that fits your needs.  It might help you determine your Best State to Live.

Best States for Football Championships: Super Bowl Winners by State

Congratulations go to New Orleans Saints for winning their first Super Bowl Championship.

New Orleans and the entire state of Louisiana will celebrate and have bragging rights all year long.  Only 15 states have ever had the honor of being the home state of a Super Bowl Champion.

What States have the most Super Bowl Champions?

California has the honor of being the state with the most football Super Bowl Wins.  Its teams have won 8 of the 44 completed Super Bowls.  Two teams have contributed to California’s rank as the Best State for Football Championships. The San Francisco 49ers have 5 wins and the Oakland Raiders have 3.

Pennsylvania is the second Best State for Football Championships with all 6 wins coming from the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team with the most Super Bowl wins.  Texas is ranked as the third Best State for Football Championships with 5 wins, all by the Dallas Cowboys.

The state list of Super Bowl Winners is below:

Super Bowl Champions by State


Best and Worst States for Motorists

The National Motorists Association (NMA) has published a Best and Worst States for Motorists list.  Just in time for the holiday weekend.  The NMA is against entrapment, cameras and other measures that enhance a state’s ability to write tickets and fine motorists.

With states facing huge shortfalls in revenue,  ticket writing will be a high priority.  The list highlights the states from Best to Worst.  Be careful driving.  The Worst States for Motorists also are some of the states facing the largest budget shortfalls.  Hold on to your wallet if you are driving in these states.  The 5 Worst States are New Jersey, Ohio, Maryland, Louisiana and New York.  The Best States, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska and Kentucky seem to be gentler places to live.

Best and Worst States for Motorists
1 Wyoming
2 Idaho
3 Montana
4 Nebraska
5 Kentucky
6 North Dakota
7 Minnesota
8 Indiana
9 South Dakota
10 Utah
11 Wisconsin
12 Mississippi
13 Kansas
14 Alaska
15 Arkansas
16 Hawaii
17 Iowa
18 South Carolina
19 Connecticut
20 Georgia
21 Nevada
22 Oklahoma
23 Texas
24 Missouri
25 New Mexico
26 Arizona
27 New Hampshire
28 West Virginia
29 Rhode Island
30 Alabama
31 North Carolina
32 Pennsylvania
33 Florida
34 Maine
35 Vermont
36 Michigan
37 California
38 Tennessee
39 Oregon
40 Colorado
41 Massachusetts
42 Washington
43 Virginia
44 Delaware
45 Illinois
46 New York
47 Louisiana
48 Maryland
49 Ohio
50 New Jersey

Source:National Motorist Association


List of Criteria Used To Generate Rankings (no particular order)

1) Speed Traps Per Capita (# of speed traps listed on indexed to population)
2) Does the state have “driver responsibility” fees?
3) Does the state have mayor’s courts?
4) Does the state authorize the use of roadblocks?
5) What are the freeway speed limits?
6) Does the state have red-light cameras?
7) Does the state have speed cameras?
8) Are there toll roads in the state?
9) Is a jury trial available for traffic violations?
10) Is trial by declaration (asserting a defense in writing without appearing in court) available?
11) Is the state a member of the Non-Resident Violator Compact?
12) Is the state a member of the Driver’s License Compact?
13) Are radar detectors banned in the state?
14) Does the state have a primary seat belt law?
15) Are there adult helmet laws in the state?
16) Are there move-over laws in the state?
17) Is cell phone use banned?

Best and Worst States for Individual Taxes, Maryland Worst, 6 States Best

The Tax Foundation has recently published its 2009 ranking of the Best and Worst States for Individual Income Taxes.

The Best States for Individual Taxes are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming all rated a 10.0 in their Index.

The Worst State for Individual Taxes is Maryland.  Rounding out the bottom 5 Worst States in order are California, New Jersey, Ohio and Iowa.

If you want to keep more of the money you earn, pick a low tax state.  This list is useful.

Individual Income Tax Index, 2009
State Score (a) Rank
Alaska 10 1
Fla. 10 1
Nev. 10 1
S.D. 10 1
Wash. 10 1
Wyo. 10 1
Tex. 9.44 7
Tenn. 7.64 8
N.H. 7.55 9
Ill. 6.97 10
Ind. 6.72 11
Pa. 6.61 12
Utah 6.59 13
Colo. 6.41 14
Mich. 6.41 15
Mass. 6.41 16
Ala. 5.36 17
Miss. 5.35 18
N.M. 5.29 19
Va. 5.24 20
Kans. 5.2 21
Mont. 5.15 22
Ariz. 5.14 23
La. 5.09 24
Conn. 5.07 25
Okla. 5.01 26
Mo. 4.96 27
Del. 4.95 28
S.C. 4.93 29
Ga. 4.91 30
Ark. 4.87 31
Idaho 4.86 32
Nebr. 4.85 33
Ore. 4.84 34
N.D. 4.78 35
Ky. 4.78 36
N.C. 4.46 37
Hawaii 4.38 38
Minn. 4.34 39
Maine 4.33 40
W.Va. 4.33 41
R.I. 4.32 42
N.Y. 4.22 43
Wis. 4.21 44
Vt. 3.81 45
Iowa 3.7 46
Ohio 3.22 47
N.J. 3.18 48
Calif. 2.51 49
Md. 2.06 50
U.S. 5
D.C. 4.4
(a) The index is a measure of how each state’s tax laws affect economic performance.
The higher the score, the more favorable a state’s tax system is for business. All scores are for fiscal years.
Source: Tax Foundation Background Paper, No. 58, “2009 State Business Tax Climate In

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Cost of Living by State, Tennessee the Best, Hawaii Worst

The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) has some valuable information on the the cost of living for each State.

The Best States for Cost of Living are Tennessee, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri and Arkansas.

The Worst States for Cost of Living are Hawaii, DC, California, New Jersey and Alaska.

Map below for cost of living is courtesy of MERIC.

The Best States for Housing Costs are Oklahoma, Tennessee, South Dakota, Texas and Missouri.

The Worst States for Housing Costs are Hawaii, DC, California, Maryland and New Jersey.

If you are looking for the Best State to Retire, the cost of living is a very important consideration.  If you want to stretch your dollar, look to the Southeast and Midwest and stay away from the North East.  Hope this helps.

Cost of Living Annual Map

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