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

Best and Worst States for Smart Drivers, Kansas Best, New Jersey Worst

GMAC does an annual study of state rankings for the Best and Worst States for driver knowledge.

Kansas drivers are rated the most knowledgeable. Wyoming, Nebraska, Idaho and Minnesota round out the top 5 Best States respectively. New Jersey is Worst State for knowledgeable drivers.  DC, New York, Massachusetts and Georgia are rated along with New Jersey as the 5 Worst States.

The study was done by administering a 20 question to test to 5,524 licensed drivers and ranking the results by state.  The Midwest has
the most knowledgeable drivers while the Northeast had the lowest scores and highest exam failure rates.  For more detail go to

We will take a look in another post whether state insurance rates are associated with driver knowledge.

Best and Worst States for Knowledgeable Drivers 2008

1          Kansas
2          Wyoming
3          Nebraska
4          Idaho
5          Minnesota
6          Arkansas
6          South Dakota
8          Oregon
9          Iowa
9          Washington
11        Indiana
12        Wisconsin
13        Utah
14        Missouri
15        Alabama
15        Colorado
15        Montana
18        Michigan
18        Texas
18        Vermont
21        North Dakota
22        Arkansas
22        North Carolina
22        New Mexico
22        Oklahoma
26        Delaware
26        Ohio
28        Florida
29        Kentucky
30        New Hampshire
31        Maine
32        Illinois
33        California
33        Connecticut
33        Tennessee
36        Arizona
36        Nevada
36        Pennsylvania
39        South Carolina
40        Vermont
41        Rhode Island
42        Maryland
43        West Virginia
44        Louisiana
45        Hawaii
46        Mississippi
47        Georgia
48        Massachusetts
49        New York
50        District of Columbia
51        New Jersey

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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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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

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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Best and Worst States for Political Corruption. Is Illinois the Worst?

With Illinois Governor Rob Blagojevich in the news concerning corruption charges, what states are the worst states for political corruption?  There are some pretty good candidates.  Is it Illinois, Louisiana, California, New York, Florida or Ohio?
According to the Report to Congress on the Activities and Operations of the Public Integrity Section ( ) the Best and Worst States for Corruption convictions during the 10 year period of 1997-2006 were:

The Most Political Convictions:

1.    Florida                  809
2.    New York             762
3.    California             753
4.    Pennsylvania       566
5.    Ohio                     538
6.    Illinois                  524

The Least Political Convictions:

1.    Vermont                   12
2.    Nebraska                 13
3.    New Hampshire      14
4.    Wyoming                 16
5.    Maine                      25

Some high profile scandals and corruptions have to put New York, New Jersey and Connecticut up for consideration with each having a Governor step down in disgrace.

Louisiana has the highest per capita political corruption rate with 7.67 convictions per 100,000 of population.  Yet it would be hard not to still consider Illinois as the Worst State for Political Corruption with its history of scandal.

Northern New England appears to be a good place for integrity in the politics.

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Best and Worst States for Entrepreneurs

The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council in December released its 13th annual “Small Business Survival Index for 2008:  Ranking the Policy Environment for Entrepreneurship across the Nation.”

The Best and Worst Sates for Entrepreneurs are:

  Best                                                   Worst

1.  South Dakota                                51.  Washington DC
2.  Nevada                                         50.  New Jersey
3.  Wyoming                                      49.  California
4.  Florida                                          48.  Maine
5.  Washington                                  47.  Rhode Island

The study covers a broad area of policy matters from tax to regulation and is full of great info.  It can be found on the home page of the Council at: 

If you are thinking of starting a business or want to work in a state that fosters small business check it out.

Connecticut Worst State for Tax Burden, Oklahoma the Best

MSN has a great list of state tax burdens.  The worst states are Connecticut (38.3%), followed by New York (37.1%), New Jersey (35.6%) and Nevada (35.2%). Oklahoma residents pay the least (27.8%), followed by those in Alabama (28.0%) and Alaska (28.1%).
Here is the link:

No income tax states are great for people who are working.  Seven states have no state income tax: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. Two others, New Hampshire and Tennessee, tax only dividend and interest income. To see how other states compare, check out the Federation of Tax Administrators’ listing of individual income tax rates for 2008. Wyoming and South Dakota are also two of the best states for employment so you can find probably find a job and keep more of what you earn.  See our blog note: