We all want to make a good living, but the rat race doesn’t provide the same course obstacles in every state. America’s status quo now includes a painfully obvious split economy. Some citizens are experiencing a rebound in prosperity, while others are dumbfounded by the use of “recovery” in headlines. Either way, location plays a major part in your personal finances.
The United States is a collection of mini-economies. MoneyRates.com recently analyzed every state to find where workers have the best or worst shot to make a good living, based on employment statistics and living expenses. The financial site evaluated the five key factors listed below.
- Median wages: Median annual wage data is from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- State tax rates: MoneyRates analyzed the state tax information collected by the research group Tax Foundation.
- Cost of living: Data was sourced from the Council for Community and Economic Research’s Cost of Living Index.
- The unemployment rate: Data sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Incidents of workplace illness, injuries, and fatalities: This workplace safety data is from the BLS, which sourced data from employer reports to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the BLS Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.
After finishing second on the list in 2014 and first in 2015, Texas ranks as the fifth best state in 2016 to make a living. Wyoming steals the crown from the Lone Star State after finishing third in 2015. Washington and Virginia round out the top three. Wyoming and Washington both lack a state income tax, which boosts their rankings. Above average incomes and low cost of living is also a key component in the best ranking states. The worst states will have you reaching deep in your pockets.
Let’s take a closer look at the 15 worst states in America to make a living.
You’ll be seeing the northeast quite a bit on the list. Connecticut ranks as the No. 15 worst state to make a living. The state’s median income of $43,830 is the highest on the the list, but it’s quickly spent considering Connecticut’s cost of living index is 131.8. Furthermore, the state’s unemployment rate is relatively high. Overall, New Jersey and New Hampshire both rank better than Connecticut. On the positive, Connecticut’s work environment safety is inline with the national average.