Top Picks: Best States to Live in the USA

Discovering the perfect place to call home is an adventure marked by personal dreams and practical considerations. Whether you’re drawn to the serene peaks of mountain states or the bustling energy of a coastal hub, the best states to live in offer a blend of comfort, opportunity, and well-being. From the lush landscapes of New England to the sun-kissed beaches of the West Coast, America boasts a tapestry of ideal places to live that cater to every lifestyle and aspiration.

As we traverse the nation, we delve into a wealth of data that unveils the preferred living destinations for diverse populations. WalletHub’s meticulous study illuminates these rankings, highlighting top locations to settle down with the promise of a fulfilling life. Join us as we explore the unique attributes that make each state shine in its own right, painting a picture of the American dream in its many hues.

best states to live in

Key Takeaways

  • Massachusetts leads WalletHub’s 2023 rankings as the country’s top state for livability.
  • New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Wyoming are among the top contenders.
  • Quality of life, affordability, and safety play significant roles in determining the ideal state to call home.
  • Economic stability, educational opportunities, and healthcare systems are pivotal in these rankings.
  • Mobility trends reveal a shift towards states like Texas and Florida, driven by economic incentives.

Understanding the Metrics Behind the Best States to Live In

When considering relocation, it’s essential to delve into the factors that contribute to the standings of the highest rated states to live in. This exploration provides valuable insights into why certain areas are deemed the best places to reside, based on comprehensive and diverse indices.

Affordability and Cost of Living

Economic considerations play a pivotal role in assessing a state’s livability. Affordability includes analysis of median housing costs, adjusting for local incomes to identify regions where residents can live comfortably without undue financial strain. Insights into homeownership rates and property tax levels can also signal the economic vitality and sustainability of living conditions in various states.

Education and Health Infrastructure

The pillars of any thriving community include the availability and quality of education and healthcare. Public school rankings, access to advanced educational opportunities, and the prevalence of healthcare facilities come under scrutiny to gauge a state’s commitment to its residents’ growth and well-being. Life expectancy and health outcomes further serve as barometers for the overall health infrastructure.

Quality of Life: What Does It Encompass?

Defining quality of life extends beyond material wealth or amenities; it includes the day-to-day experiences like commute times, the state of physical infrastructure, access to parks and recreational activities, as well as environmental factors like air and water quality. States which excel in these areas often feature prominently within top ranked states for livability.

Economy and Employment Opportunities

The robustness of a state’s economy weighs heavily on its desirability, taking into account aspects such as the unemployment rate, job growth, and income levels. Areas with a vibrant, diverse economy offer more stability and opportunity, which in turn can attract businesses and individuals seeking a prosperous place to settle.

Safety: A Key Consideration

Safety is essential to a community’s allure, with lower crime rates often correlating with higher livability scores. Beyond crime statistics, traffic safety and the presence of law enforcement are important metrics that inform potential residents about the level of safety they can expect in a given state.

Category Indicators Examples of Top Performing States
Affordability Housing Costs, Home Ownership Rate New Hampshire, Iowa
Education and Health School Rankings, Healthcare Accessibility Massachusetts, Connecticut
Quality of Life Commute Times, Environmental Quality Colorado, Minnesota
Economy Unemployment Rate, Job Growth Utah, Virginia
Safety Crime Rate, Traffic Safety Maine, Vermont

Moving to one of the highest rated states to live in is a decision with long-term implications, which is why understanding these metrics is vital. They offer a guide to assess if a state aligns with one’s lifestyle preferences and goals, fostering a quality of life that resonates on a personal level.

The Allure of Massachusetts: America’s Top-Ranked State

Massachusetts stands proud as the pinnacle of preferred living destinations, boasting an array of attributes that collectively endorse its status as the best state to live in. The commonwealth’s potent combination of educational excellence, exceptional healthcare, economic strength, and safety culminates in a living experience desired by many.

Peering into the robust educational system, Massachusetts is often hailed for its top-grade public schools that set the benchmark across the nation. The state’s commitment to healthcare is equally noteworthy, evident from its advanced medical facilities and access to quality care. In the economic realm, Massachusetts sports a vigorous economy, marked by innovation and opportunity. Moreover, residents find solace in the state’s low crime rates, a cornerstone of the palpable sense of security.

Massachusetts’s diverse and vibrant culture further solidifies its position as one of the top states to live. From the historical streets of Boston to the serene landscapes of the Berkshires, the state offers a unique blend of urban sophistication and rural tranquility.

Massachusetts The Premier State

Explore the detailed facets that make Massachusetts the epitome of a preferred living destination:

Category Highlights
Education Ranked #1 for public schools in the nation
Healthcare Top access to quality healthcare services
Economy Leader in technological innovation and job opportunities
Safety One of the lowest crime rates nationally
Culture Rich historical legacy paired with a contemporary arts scene

Massachusetts’s allure is not just a product of its impressive rankings but the palpable quality of life it offers. It stands as a testament to what a state can achieve when it strives for excellence across all fronts, making it not only one of the best states to live in but also a place where the American dream continues to thrive and evolve.

Moving Trends: Why States like Texas and Florida Are So Popular

As the landscape of American living continues to evolve, certain states have emerged as ideal places to live, drawing in populations with their unique attractions and economic advantages. Texas and Florida, in particular, have become top locations to settle down, appealing to different demographics due to various factors such as affordability, tax policies, and lifestyle opportunities. In contrast, states like New York have seen a different trend, with a movement of people outbound, motivated by economic pressures. Here, we delve into the reasons behind these shifting patterns.
best states to live in

The Californian Exodus to Texas

Texas’s appeal stems largely from its affordability, especially when compared to states like California. The Lone Star State has become a destination for those seeking relief from the high cost of coastal living, without sacrificing access to vibrant job markets, expansive housing options, and a no-state-income-tax policy.

Florida’s Attraction of High-Income Families

Beyond the allure of its sandy beaches and sunny days, Florida’s lack of state income tax has been a significant draw for high-income families. This favorable tax climate, coupled with investments in urban development and education, enhances Florida’s reputation as one of the best states to live in.

New York’s Negative Net-Migration Phenomenon

New York’s charm remains undeniable, yet economic factors such as rising inflation and exorbitant living costs have led to a notable migration of its affluent population. The pursuit of financial relief and better quality of life has driven New Yorkers to seek out states that promise a more sustainable lifestyle.

State Key Attraction Factors Income Group Targeted Migration Trend (2020-2021)
Texas Affordability, No State Income Tax, Job Market Middle to High-Income Earners from California 80% Increase in Relocations
Florida No State Income Tax, Lifestyle, Urban Development High-Income Families Over 27,000 High-Income Households Added
New York Culture, Economic Hub, Historical Significance High-Income Residents Notable Outflow of High-Income Residents

Wyoming’s Hidden Charm: Why the Cowboy State Is a Preferred Choice

Few may realize that Wyoming, often celebrated for its expansive landscapes and serene natural beauty, stands out as one of the best states to live in for those seeking a blend of both tranquility and prosperity. As more individuals prioritize top locations to settle down, Wyoming’s attributes present compelling reasons for relocation, making it one of America’s preferred living destinations.

Top reasons to settle in Wyoming

An examination of Wyoming’s allure reveals several factors contributing to its high livability score. Education, a cornerstone of any thriving society, shines bright here with schools that emphasize individual attention, denoted by low student-teacher ratios and commendable graduation rates. When measured against the national average, Wyoming’s workforce enjoys a higher income, with the median salary exceeding the nation’s average by a notable percentage.

Aspect of Living Advantage
Education High graduation rates & low student-to-teacher ratios
Average Salary 13.6% higher than national average
Quality of Life Spacious outdoor living & low population density
Economic Stability Favorable tax laws & thriving energy sector

What underpins Wyoming’s economy is its robust energy sector—a cornerstone that affords residents financial stability and supports rich employment opportunities. Furthermore, the state’s tax structure is incredibly favorable, with no personal income tax that enhances its fiscal appeal.

Wyoming delivers an elite standard of living where the sky is vast, and opportunities abound. For those seeking the optimal blend of quality education, favorable economics, and a life connected to nature, Wyoming beckons as a prime choice among the nation’s top locations to settle down.

Affordability Meets Quality: New Hampshire’s Living Appeal

In the quest for the ideal places to live, New Hampshire stands out as a shining example of how a state can offer a winning combination of affordability and a high quality of life. This Northeastern haven is often lauded as one of the best states to live in due to its favorable tax policies and the safety it provides for its residents.

New Hampshire Living Appeal

New Hampshire boasts an enviable fiscal climate that distinctly favors its inhabitants. An absence of state income tax and general sales tax means more of residents’ earnings stay in their pockets. When it comes to safety, the state enjoys some of the lowest violent crime rates nationwide, reinforcing its position among the top ranked states for those seeking a serene and secure environment.

Further enhancing its allure, New Hampshire’s salaries are impressive; residents earn on average significantly more than the national average. This financial advantage is not lost on those weighing their options for relocation, as they factor in the cost of living alongside potential earnings to determine the most economically sensible place to establish their homes.

With a sophisticated blend of limited taxation, admirable safety measures, and noteworthy earning potential, New Hampshire delivers an exceptional living experience that few states can rival.

  • No Personal Income Tax
  • No General Sales Tax
  • Average Salary Above National Average
  • Lowest Violent Crime Rates

For savvy home seekers and career-focused individuals, New Hampshire’s offering is clear—a state that respects personal economics while providing a foundation for well-being and security. Those in search of the perfect balance would be wise to consider New Hampshire’s unmatched living appeal.

Virginia: A Blend of Historical Significance and Modern Livability

Virginia’s reputation as one of the top states to live is well-founded, with a unique combination of colonial history and cutting-edge modernity. This Commonwealth is not only the birthplace of America but also a leader in today’s technology-driven economy. The historical significance of Virginia serves as a backbone for its cultural richness, while its commitment to technological innovation and healthcare excellence propels it into the future.

As an ideal place to live, Virginia is home to several key federal agencies and national landmarks, revealing an environment where the past and future converge. The presence of the Pentagon, the largest office building in the world, underlines the state’s prominent role in the national defense and technology sectors. Below, we delve deeper into what makes Virginia one of the highest rated states to live in.

Aspect Details Impact
Technology Second-highest concentration of tech workers Booming tech sector leading to job opportunities and economic growth
Healthcare Accessible high-quality healthcare systems and insurance options Promoting overall wellness and ensuring care is available for all
Education Cutting-edge research facilities and top-tier universities Future-focused education leading to a skilled workforce
Affordability Competitive cost of living with affordable health insurance options Financially feasible living conditions for a diverse population
Cultural Heritage Historic sites dating back to the founding of the nation A deep sense of pride and identity for residents and allure for visitors

Quality Living in Virginia

Virginia’s commitment to quality of life does not end with technology and healthcare alone. The state’s valuable educational institutions, like the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech, not only serve as hubs for learning and discovery but also contribute significantly to the local economy. Moreover, the accessibility to beautiful landscapes—from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay—adds to the state’s high livability score, giving residents a perfect blend of urban and natural environments. In essence, Virginia’s rich past complements its thriving present, making it one of the most balanced and prospective states to call home.

Why Rhode Island Is a Top Pick Despite Its Small Size

Size isn’t everything when it comes to the ideal places to live, and Rhode Island proves this adage perfectly. Despite its diminutive geographical stature, Rhode Island has emerged as one of the best places to reside in the US, thanks to its excellent healthcare, prestigious higher education institutions, and a remarkably low violent crime rate. It’s a potent combination that offers residents both peace of mind and an enriching environment, typically reserved for much larger states.

Ideal Places to Live - Rhode Island

Aspiring for unparalleled healthcare? Look no further than Rhode Island, which shares the pinnacle of healthcare quality ranking with Iowa. This accolade reflects the state’s commitment to ensuring that residents have access to top-notch medical services.

For those who prize education, Rhode Island boasts an array of esteemed higher education institutions. These facilities not only nurture the intellectual vitality of the community but also contribute to an atmosphere rich in innovation and opportunity.

When it comes to safety, Rhode Island shines once more. The state’s low violent crime rates provide a sense of security that is increasingly sought-after. It’s a foundational quality that underscores its status as one of the best states to live in, where the welfare of the community is palpable.

Beyond the metrics, Rhode Island enchants with its historical charm and a lively cultural scene, marrying the serenity of a small state with the vibrant life more typically associated with larger locales. It is a perfect illustration of how the smallest state offers a vast array of possibilities, affirming the notion that the best states to live in are not always the most expansive.

Feature Benefits
Top-rated Healthcare Equates to a healthier, happier population with access to quality medical care.
Educational Institutions Attracts scholars and provides residents with opportunities for academic excellence.
Low Violent Crime Rates Offers a safe and secure environment conducive to growth and peace of mind.
Historical and Cultural Scene Provides a rich tapestry of activities and experiences to enhance daily life.

The Ocean State is a testament to the fact that when it comes to selecting the best states to live in, size does not preclude superiority. Rhode Island’s attributes make it a compelling choice for anyone seeking a high-quality lifestyle. Whether it’s the pursuit of health, knowledge, safety, or cultural richness, Rhode Island delivers a full-scale living experience folded into its cozy borders.

Revealed: Wisconsin’s Surprisingly High Rank in Livability

As the data peels back the layers on Wisconsin’s impressive homeland charm, it’s no surprise that the Badger State has become synonymous with the phrase “surprisingly high rank in terms of livability.” This coveted spot among the highest rated states to live in is not a stroke of luck but a testament to Wisconsin’s dedication to fostering environments that flourish on multiple fronts.

Education Excellence in the Badger State

Take a closer look at Wisconsin and you’ll find a state that places a monumental value on education. The state effortlessly grabs a top spot with its second-highest ranking for the quality of schools. From primary education through to its esteemed universities, Wisconsin is known for its commitment to producing well-rounded citizens and future leaders. It’s a major draw for families wanting to lay down roots in a state that promises a bright educational future for their children.

Affordable Housing Market

An equally impressive feature contributing to Wisconsin’s appeal as one of the best places to reside is its housing market. The state boasts the best average home prices amongst the cream of the crop, meaning accessibility to property isn’t just for those with deep pockets. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or looking to upgrade, the Wisconsin housing market’s accessibility fosters a sense of financial security and community investment.

Wisconsin Livability

With such a loving nod to education and accessible homeownership, it’s clear that Wisconsin isn’t just playing the game—it’s setting the bar for what it means to be a top ranked state for a life well lived. Below, a detailed comparison of the factors that set Wisconsin apart:

Educational Rankings Average Home Price Quality of Life Index
2nd Highest in the USA $198,000 (Among the Most Affordable) High Quality of Life Standards

What becomes abundantly clear is that Wisconsin’s allure isn’t just in its picturesque landscapes or the charm of its cities but in tangible metrics that signify a superior state of living. Such admirable rankings in vital areas of livability are what guarantee Wisconsin a stable spot on the list of the nation’s highest rated states to live in.

Best States to Live in: Featuring Connecticut’s High Salaries and Low Crime

When discussing preferred living destinations, Connecticut often stands out for its appealing combination of economic prosperity and public safety. Known for being among the top states to live, this New England gem boasts some of the highest average salaries in the nation, making it a prime location for career-driven individuals and families seeking financial stability.

In terms of safety, Connecticut’s commitment to maintaining low crime rates is evident and contributes to its position as one of the best states to live in. This prestigious status is further supported by its historical contributions to the establishment of auto regulations, ensuring a safer travel experience for all residents.

Category Connecticut’s Ranking
Average Salary Highest in Top 10 States
Violent Crime Rate One of the Lowest Nationally
Historic Contributions (Auto Regulations) First State to Pass a Speed Limit Law

It’s not just the high salaries and security that draw people to Connecticut, but the overall quality of life, including excellent educational opportunities and a rich cultural tapestry, which is interwoven with the state’s storied past.

Connecticut Preferred Living Destination

Whether you are looking to advance your career, ensure your family’s safety, or immerse yourself in a state that is rich in history, Connecticut stands ready to welcome you with open arms and promises a living experience that aligns with the highest standards of the American dream.

Quality of Living in North Dakota: Surpassing Expectations

When considering ideal places to live, North Dakota might not be the first state that comes to mind due to its brisk climate. However, a deeper look at the Peace Garden State unveils a surprising array of qualities that elevate it as one of the best states to live in. A key attribute in its favor is the abundance of job opportunities, which is a critical factor for many when choosing top locations to settle down.

North Dakota Quality of Living

In terms of economic factors, North Dakota offers impressive livability with competitive advantages for both current residents and potential newcomers. The state’s low average house prices and the affordability of essential living costs like food and healthcare are particularly enticing, giving more people the opportunity to own their homes and enjoy a higher standard of living at a lower cost.

Let’s look at some of the factors that make North Dakota stand out:

  • A large selection of job openings, especially in booming sectors like energy and agriculture
  • Attractive housing market with lower-than-average house prices
  • Lower costs for basics like groceries and healthcare services
  • A peaceful lifestyle with an emphasis on community and outdoor life

The state’s emerging economy is poised for growth, offering a striking balance that appeals to those seeking a more manageable cost of living without sacrificing job security and income potential. North Dakota’s commitment to growth and sustainability is reflected not only in its economy but also in the quality of life that residents can enjoy.

In North Dakota, we don’t just brave the cold; we embrace the warm community spirit, and the affordable cost of living that our state has to offer.

For individuals and families pondering their next move, North Dakota should be on the list of considerations for its surprising array of opportunities and welcoming environment.

Utah: Blossoming Economies and Educational Opportunities

As the spotlight shines on the highest rated states to live in, Utah is emerging as a standout contender. Its robust economy is capturing attention nationwide, with impressive strides in GDP growth securing Utah’s position among the top ranked states. Pioneering industries and innovative businesses are creating a dynamic economic environment where opportunities abound.

Thriving Economy and Education in Utah

The state’s dedication to education is not just a commitment on paper. Utah boasts a high job openings rate, indicative of its flourishing economy, and a strong demand for skilled labor. But what truly sets the state apart are its educational initiatives and school quality ratings, which reflect an environment deeply invested in nurturing future generations.

With a balanced fusion of economic dynamism and scholastic excellence, Utah is not just one of the best places to reside, it is a beacon of growth and development. This harmonious blend translates into a quality of life that caters to both individual aspirations and community welfare—making Utah a truly enviable state for those seeking to establish deep roots and broad wings. Here’s why:

  • A flourishing job market offering diverse opportunities across sectors such as technology, healthcare, and finance
  • A forward-thinking education system that prepares students for success in a competitive global landscape
  • An entrepreneurial spirit that encourages innovation and has led to Utah being a cradle for start-ups and enterprises
  • A cost of living that remains attractive compared to other top ranked states, allowing residents to enjoy a higher standard of living

It’s no surprise that families and professionals are taking note, seeking out Utah as a promising location with a landscape ripe for success. Whether one is carving a career path or prioritizing education for their children, Utah stands out as an exceptional choice—an embodiment of the American dream where opportunity and quality of life coexist in abundant harmony.

The Best States to Retire: Considering Health Care, Affordability, and Weather

Retirement beckons a new chapter of life, one where the right environment can make all the difference. Choosing the ideal places to live, top locations to settle down, and preferred living destinations is crucial for those stepping into their golden years. The best states to retire offer an enviable mix that accommodates health care necessities, cost-effective living, agreeable climate, and a secure atmosphere. This guide highlights noteworthy states that stand out for their retirement-friendliness, providing insights into Iowa’s comprehensive offerings, Mississippi’s economic ease coupled with pleasant weather, and North Dakota’s distinctive charm.

Iowa: The Best Overall for Retirees

Iowa emerges as a standout choice, embracing retirees with its affordable cost of living and exceptional health care services. The state’s robust economy and low crime rates carve out a sanctuary ideal for a tranquil and secure retirement life. With its thoughtful balance of economical stability and health-focused amenities, Iowa asserts itself as a top-tier option for those considering the finest in retirement living.

Mississippi’s Affordability and Weather Advantage for Retirees

Mississippi takes the stage with its blend of affordability and a weather profile that beckons those weary of harsh winters. This state’s inviting warmth grants a year-round comfort, attractive for outdoor activities and leisurely pursuits. However, retirees must weigh this against the state’s healthcare services, encouraging a well-rounded examination before planting roots in the welcoming soils of Mississippi.

The Surprising Appeal of North Dakota for Retirement

North Dakota might surprise as a candidate for retirement locales with its remarkable health care services and sensible living costs. While its cooler climate is acknowledged, the state counters it with steadfast safety measures and medical excellence, enriching the tapestry of retirement options. For those undeterred by wintry scenery, North Dakota offers a secure, wholesome lifestyle that might just redefine the expectations attached to retirement destinations.


What are some of the best states to live in the USA?

Based on WalletHub’s 2023 rankings, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, and Wyoming are among the top choices when considering factors such as economy, education and health, quality of life, affordability, and safety.

How is affordability measured when ranking states?

Affordability in ranking states takes into account various factors, including housing costs, household income, home ownership rates, and property taxes.

What indicators contribute to a state’s quality of life score?

Quality of life metrics include commute times, infrastructure, recreational activities, air quality, weather patterns, and other environmental and lifestyle factors.

Why has Massachusetts been rated as the best state to live in?

Massachusetts boasts high scores in key areas such as education and healthcare quality, economic strength, safety, and overall quality of life, which all contribute to it being rated as the best state to live in.

What economic factors are driving people to states like Texas and Florida?

States like Texas and Florida are attracting new residents due to their affordability, lower taxes, and business-friendly environment, resulting in significant population growth from states with higher costs of living.

What makes Wyoming an attractive place to live?

Wyoming offers high-quality educational systems with good graduation rates and low student-teacher ratios, a high average salary, and a rustic allure that appeals to many looking for lower population density and natural beauty.

What living benefits does New Hampshire offer to its residents?

New Hampshire offers an attractive tax environment, a high average salary, and some of the lowest violent crime rates in the country, providing a beneficial mix of affordability and safety.

How does Virginia’s historical significance contribute to its modern livability?

Virginia couples its rich historical significance with a contemporary thrive in technology and healthcare sectors, high-quality education and health systems, and affordable health insurance, enhancing its modern livability.

How does Rhode Island’s size impact its ranking as a top place to live?

Despite its small size, Rhode Island offers top-rated healthcare, a strong education sector, low crime rates, and a vibrant cultural scene, making it an appealing choice for residents prioritizing safety and intellect.

Why is Wisconsin ranked highly for livability?

Wisconsin’s high ranking in livability is attributed to its excellent quality of schools, affordable housing, and a cost of living that encourages personal and financial stability.

How does Connecticut stand out amongst the highest rated states to live?

Connecticut stands out with one of the highest average salaries and one of the lowest violent crime rates, highlighting safety and economic prosperity as key attributes of its high living standard.

What makes North Dakota an unexpectedly good state to live in?

North Dakota surprises many with its high quality of living indicators, including job openings, affordable housing, and low costs for essential needs, making it an attractive location for a balanced lifestyle.

What factors make Utah an ideal place to reside for families and individuals?

Utah’s economy is one of the fastest-growing in the nation, and its education system benefits from both this economic prosperity and high-quality school ratings, making it ideal for families and individuals seeking opportunities for growth.

What are the best states to retire to considering health care, affordability, and weather?

Iowa is recognized as the top state for retirees, offering a blend of affordability, excellent healthcare, and a low crime rate. Mississippi is favored for its affordability and climate, whereas North Dakota offers safety and exceptional healthcare at reasonable costs.