Is Florida Best Place to Retire? Population Shrinking

The Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research reported that Florida for the first time since 1946 population saw it population shrink.

We had reported in January that increasingly people were no longer choosing Florida as the Best State to Retire. The Internal Revenue Service reported that more than 50,000 fewer tax returns were filed in Florida since 2005.  See Florida Losing Population for more on the IRS filings and January report.

The director of the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research Stan Smith said the population dropped by 58,000 people between 2008 and 2009. This is the first decline since large numbers ofmilitary personnel left the state in 1946 after World War II.

Florida has become less attractive to many people on fixed incomes due to its expensive cost of housing particularly in South Florida and high real estate taxes and property insurance.

Tennessee, Georgia, North and South Carolina have become attractive choices as Best States to Retire.  Florida will not turn around quickly as many people on fixed incomes are still looking elsewhere.  Tennessee has the lowest cost of living in the nation.  See List of Cost of Living by State

If you are looking for a Best Place to Live or Retire, Florida has lost some mojo.

Best and Worst States for Car Insurance: Does Safety Matter?

Insurance.com publishes a monthly listing of car insurance rates.  We thought you might like to see March results.

We also thought it might be interesting to see if safe drivers as measured by the annual GMAC driver safety study had a measurable benefit in insurance rates.

The Best State for Car Insurance is Vermont with an estimated annual premium of $1,304.  It ranks 18 in the GMAC Safe Driver Study.  The 4 other Best States for Car Insurance, i.e. the lowest premiums, are Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin and Idaho.  The safest state of the top 5 according to GMAC is Idaho with a safe driver rank of 4.  The safest driver state, Kansas, ranks 22 in car insurance premiums.

The Worst State for Car Insurance,( we put DC in a world of its own), is Louisiana with a premium of $2617 more than double that of Vermont!!!  It also ranks 44 on the GMAC Safe Driver Study.  New Jersey the Worst State for Safe Driving in the US has one of the highest car insurance rates rate just below Louisiana.  Rounding out the Worst States for Car Insurance are Delaware, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania.  All these state rate below average in the GMAC study.

Of the popular retirement states Tennessee is best rated for low premiums at 11.  Arizona at 25 and Florida at 36 are more middle of the pack

Car Insurance rates have dropped over the last 6 months yet are still higher than a year ago.  From a look of the list it appears that drivers who know the rules of the road benefit from safer roads and lower car insurance premiums.  It may be beneficial for insurance companies to offer discounts to drivers who take a car exam annually that demonstrates they know the rules of the road.

State Premium $$ Change % Change Safe Rank
1 VT $1,304 $47 3.70% 18
2 OH $1,320 $1 0.10% 26
3 IA $1,335 ($32) -2.30% 9
4 WI $1,348 ($28) -2.00% 12
5 ID $1,396 $14 1.00% 4
6 ME $1,406 $59 4.30% 31
7 NH $1,504 ($64) -4.10% 30
8 IN $1,528 $25 1.70% 11
9 SD $1,550 $97 6.70% 6
10 IL $1,559 $19 1.20% 32
11 TN $1,563 $1 0.00% 33
12 MT $1,573 ($39) -2.40% 15
13 NC $1,577 ($42) -2.60% 22
14 OR $1,586 ($23) -1.40% 8
15 AL $1,611 $29 1.80% 15
16 CO $1,611 ($28) -1.70% 15
17 NE $1,625 $91 5.90% 3
18 GA $1,626 ($46) -2.70% 47
19 MO $1,629 $5 0.30% 14
20 SC $1,638 ($24) -1.50% 39
21 VA $1,667 ($78) -4.50% 40
22 KS $1,668 $4 0.30% 1
23 ND $1,722 $58 3.50% 21
24 MN $1,728 $97 5.90% 5
25 AZ $1,739 ($93) -5.10% 36
26 CA $1,813 ($15) -0.80% 33
27 NM $1,845 ($16) -0.90% 22
28 UT $1,864 ($35) -1.90% 13
29 WA $1,882 $34 1.80% 9
30 OK $1,900 $54 2.90% 22
31 TX $1,921 ($55) -2.80% 18
32 AR $1,929 $17 0.90% 6
33 WY $1,934 $16 0.90% 2
34 MS $1,953 $19 1.00% 46
35 KY $1,984 ($52) -2.60% 29
36 FL $2,015 $8 0.40% 28
37 MI $2,076 ($49) -2.30% 18
38 CT $2,095 ($56) -2.60% 33
39 WV $2,095 $76 3.80% 43
40 NV $2,142 ($40) -1.90% 36
41 MD $2,144 ($48) -2.20% 42
42 PA $2,248 $65 3.00% 36
43 RI $2,356 ($32) -1.30% 41
44 DE $2,520 $11 0.40% 26
45 NJ $2,556 $14 0.50% 51
46 LA $2,617 $3 0.10% 44
47 DC $2,862 ($18) -0.60% 50
48 NY n/a 49
49 MA n/a 48
50 HI n/a 45
51 AK n/a 6

Source:

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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Best and Worst States for Mortgage Rates, Georgia Best, Illinois Worst

Best and Worst States for Mortgage Rates

Zillow Interest Rate Monitor released yesterday the Best and Worst States for Mortgage Rates.

Georgia is the Best State for Mortgage Rates in the nation with a 5.14% for an average fixed rate 30 year mortgage.  Washington is the 2nd Best State for Mortgage Rates with a 5.15% rate.  The U.S. average rate is 5.23%.

Illinois is the Worst State for Mortgage Rates in the nation with its rate of 5.36% and Missouri is rated the 2nd Worst State in the nation at 5.35%.  Zillow reports mortgage rates weekly and is a valuable source of additional info on the real estate market.

The state you live can have a significant impact on your mortgage rates as lenders take local market history into consideration when making loans.  States with high foreclosure rates and price volatility cause more challenges for lenders when establishing mortgage pricing.

                        Average 30-yr.        Average 30-yr.
                         Fixed Rate            Fixed Rate
    State           Week ending 2/15/09    Week ending 2/08/09       % Change
    Arizona                 5.24%                  5.39%              -2.7%
    California              5.20%                  5.48%              -5.1%
    Colorado                5.28%                  5.46%              -3.2%
    Connecticut             5.20%                  5.37%              -3.1%
    Florida                 5.19%                  5.36%              -3.2%
    Georgia                 5.14%                  5.32%              -3.2%
    Illinois                5.36%                  5.50%              -2.6%
    Maryland                5.33%                  5.43%              -1.8%
    Massachusetts           5.31%                  5.54%              -4.2%
    Michigan                5.27%                  5.46%              -3.4%
    Missouri                5.35%                  5.51%              -2.8%
    New Jersey              5.21%                  5.42%              -4.0%
    New York                5.31%                  5.60%              -5.1%
    North Carolina          5.26%                  5.40%              -2.7%
    Oregon                  5.16%                  5.37%              -3.8%
    Pennsylvania            5.18%                  5.34%              -3.0%
    Tennessee               5.33%                  5.50%              -3.1%
    Texas                   5.27%                  5.43%              -2.9%
    Virginia                5.21%                  5.38%              -3.1%
    Washington              5.15%                  5.37%              -4.0%
Source: Zillow.com

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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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

California gets Worst State Credit Rating in country

California today received its Standard and Poor credit rating.  California was rated an “A.”  It is now the Worst State in the U.S. for credit ratings.  It was previously tied for last with Louisiana.  Most States in the U.S. have “AAA” or “AA” ratings from Standard and Poor.

California will now have to pay higher interest to investors for its borrowings.  This could cost the state billions going forward.  For example, Georgia which issued bonds yesterday and has a “AAA” rating had to pay 2.99%.  It is estimated California General Obligation bonds would have been priced to yield 4% if it issued bonds yesterday based on its rating.

California is one of the Worst States for Employment.

California also has one of the heaviest tax burdens in the nation.

Its citizens will be paying more taxes to pay for its higher debt costs.

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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.

Louisiana
, 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

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:  http://www.unitedvanlines.com/mover/united-newsroom/press-releases/2008/2008-united-van-lines-migration-study.htm

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