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Massachusetts
62.65
New Jersey
62.01
New York
60.64
Idaho
58.73
Virginia
58.73
New Hampshire
58.25
Florida
58.07
Wyoming
58
Minnesota
57.99
Wisconsin
57.92
Maine
57.55
Vermont
57.52
Utah
56.84
Pennsylvania
56.42
Illinois
55.47
Iowa
55.37
Maryland
54.4
North Dakota
54.17
Montana
53.75
Colorado
53.37
South Dakota
53.13
Nebraska
53.08
Kansas
52.47
Delaware
52.33
Connecticut
52.21
Washington
52.11
California
52.03
Rhode Island
51.65
North Carolina
51.51
Michigan
50.87
Georgia
50.76
Indiana
49.4
Ohio
49.32
Texas
49
Oregon
48.97
Tennessee
48.85
Missouri
48.79
Arizona
48.31
Nevada
47.58
Hawaii
47.46
West Virginia
46.84
Kentucky
46.39
Alabama
45.61
Oklahoma
43.82
South Carolina
43.8
New Mexico
42.51
Arkansas
42.42
Louisiana
41.74
Alaska
40.93
Mississippi
39.77

Quality of Life by State 2024

Quality of Life by State 2024

Defining Quality of Life

Quality of life is a measure of comfort, health, and happiness by a person or a group of people. Quality of life is determined by both material factors, such as income and housing, and broader considerations like health, education, and freedom. Each year, US & World News releases its “Best States to Live in” report, which ranks states on the quality of life each state provides its residents.

What's Being Measured

In order to determine rankings, U.S. News & World Report considers a wide range of factors, including healthcare, education, economy, infrastructure, opportunity, fiscal stability, crime and corrections, and the natural environment. More information on these categories and what is measured in each can be found below:

  • Healthcare includes access, quality, and affordability of healthcare, as well as health measurements, such as obesity rates and rates of smoking.
  • Education measures how well public schools perform in terms of testing and graduation rates, as well as tuition costs associated with higher education and college debt load.
  • Economy looks at GDP growth, migration to the state, and new business.
  • Infrastructure includes transportation availability, road quality, communications, and internet access.
  • Opportunity includes poverty rates, cost of living, housing costs and gender and racial equality.
  • Fiscal Stability considers the health of the government's finances, including how well the state balances its budget.
  • Crime and Corrections ranks a state’s public safety and measures prison systems and their populations.

Ten States with the Best Quality of Life in 2022

State
Total Score
Massachusetts62.65
New Jersey62.01
New York60.64
Idaho58.73
Virginia58.73
New Hampshire58.25
Florida58.07
Wyoming58
Minnesota57.99
Wisconsin57.92

Washington

Washington state has the highest quality of life in all 50 states. The state has no income tax, a thriving job market, and great international business opportunities. Residents enjoy one of the nation’s longest life expectancies, likely in part of their strong healthcare system and lifestyle habits. The state is also a leader in renewable energy, with half of the state’s power supply coming from sustainable sources, primarily hydroelectric and wind.

Minnesota

Minnesota ranks second best quality of life in the United States. Residents enjoy the fourth-longest life expectancy in the nation, with an average of 80.9 years. The state also has one of the lowest levels of poverty in the nation, with 91% of residents living above the poverty level. Food security and employment levels are also high, as are K-12 performance metrics. WalletHub ranks Minnesota the fourth-best state to raise a family, due in part to high median family income and low levels of separation and divorce in the state. Crime rates are low, the air is clean, and the population is healthy.

Utah

Utah has the third-best quality of life in the United States. Utah’s economy is thriving and ties Nebraska for lowest rate of unemployment in the nation. Job growth is also high, as is the state’s fiscal stability. Utahns are also among the healthiest people in the country, with the lowest levels of alcohol and tobacco consumption and physical inactivity. Rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure are also among the lowest in the nation.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire has the fourth-highest quality of life in the U.S. The state has the least economic hardship and the lowest levels of poverty and food insecurity in the nation. New Hampshire also has the country’s lowest levels of crime and incarceration. The state enjoys some of the best air quality in the country. It also has one of the highest rates of renewable energy, along with some of the most stringent climate change policies.

Idaho

Idaho’s recent economic boom has rocketed the state to the fifth-highest quality of life in the nation. The state has the fastest-growing economy in the country and ranks second in 5-year GDP growth. Unemployment is among the lowest in the state at 2.8%. Residents also enjoy high levels of homeownership, food security, and income equality. Air quality is also among the best in the nation.

Nebraska

Nebraska ranks sixth for the best quality of life. The state ties with Utah for lowest unemployment rate, at 2.1%. Life expectancy is also higher than the national average, 79.5 years versus 79.1. Nebraska residents are generally healthy, active, and well-rested. They also have the nation’s lowest incidence of drug death.

Virginia

Virginia has the seventh-best quality of life in the United States. Virginia’s economy is one of the best in the nation, with CNBC ranking Virginia as the best state for business. The state has an unemployment rate below the national average and low levels of poverty and food insecurity. The median household income, at $81,500, is among the highest in the nation.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin has the eighth-highest quality of living in the United States. The state’s schools are among the best performing in the nation and lead the country in high school graduation rates. The cost of living is lower than the national average, and levels of poverty are low. Unemployment sits at 2.9% in the state, much lower than the national average. However, Wisconsin also leads the nation in excessive drinking.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts has the ninth-best quality of living in the country. The state offers some of the best education on offer in the nation. It is home to some of the world's most prestigious universities, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard, and Boston College, and residents are among the most educated in the nation. The median household income is one of the highest in the nation, at $86,000. Massachusetts also has some of the best healthcare in the nation, ranking first for access to care and insurance coverage.

Florida

Florida has the tenth-best quality of living in the country. Florida’s economy is one of the strongest in the nation, with a GDP of over $1.1 trillion. If it were a country, Florida would be the fifteenth richest nation in the world. The economy also continues to grow, with over 500,000 jobs added last year.

States with the Worst Quality of Life in 2022

Louisiana

Louisiana has ranked the worst state in the nation since 2017 due to low performance across all metrics, especially crime and education concerns. Louisiana leads the nation in homicide and has the country's highest rate of incarceration. Poverty levels in the state are also high, with nearly a fifth of residents living at or below the poverty line. Troubles in Louisiana have been compounded in recent years by a number of natural disasters that have taken an additional toll on the state's financial and infrastructure systems.

Mississippi

Mississippi ranks the second-worst state in the country according to the U.S. & World News report. The state has been at the bottom of rankings since 2017 due to low levels of healthcare access, poor health outcomes, high poverty rates, and an educational system in crisis. Nearly a fifth of residents have no access to healthcare. Meanwhile, the state has the nation's highest prevalence of obesity, at 38.7%. Per capita income is the country's lowest, at $25,300 a year.

New Mexico

New Mexico is another state that has a long history at the bottom of quality of life rankings. New Mexico's educational outcomes are the lowest in the nation, with a quarter of students failing to graduate from high school. Poverty levels are high, with 17% of residents living at or below the poverty level. Poverty metrics are worse for children, of whom a quarter experience poverty, the highest rate in the nation.

West Virginia

West Virginia ranks fourth lowest in the nation on quality of life metrics due to poor infrastructure and low economic opportunity. Nearly a third of the state's roads are in need of repair and much of the critical infrastructure is nearing the end of its lifespan. Educational attainment in West Virginia is some of the lowest in the country, with less than a quarter of residents holding a Bachelor's degree or higher. Fourteen percent of residents live in poverty, one of the nation's highest rates.

Alabama

Alabama ranks fifth in the nation for quality of living metrics due to trouble in its education, healthcare, and infrastructure systems. Education Weekly's Quality Counts analysis gave the state a D+ due to low levels of student performance and a slow rate of improvement. Alabama's residents have the lowest level of access to providers in the country, while rates of depression, obesity, and diabetes are some of the nation's highest.

Quality of Life by State 2024

  • Other than total score, in which higher scores are preferable, all values are expressed as a ranking from 1 (best) to 50 (worst).
  • To determine quality of life in each state, source evaluated each state across 51 indicators, ranging from housing costs and income growth to the education rate and quality of hospitals. These are grouped into five major categories: affordability, economy, education and health, quality of life, and safety.

Download Table Data

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State
Total Score
Quality of Life
Affordability
Economy
Education and Health
Safety
Massachusetts62.656441014
New Jersey62.017483951
New York60.6414637162
Idaho58.7322139296
Virginia58.732016231511
New Hampshire58.253640765
Florida58.0753362515
Wyoming5839816323
Minnesota57.9981225931
Wisconsin57.921032241312
Maine57.55253512710
Vermont57.524243829
Utah56.842962841
Pennsylvania56.42330382116
Illinois55.4743650237
Iowa55.371720281821
Maryland54.43138311213
North Dakota54.17382912626
Montana53.75282731939
Colorado53.371228181043
South Dakota53.13412352729
Nebraska53.083231201728
Kansas52.472724192825
Delaware52.334821292217
Connecticut52.21244546314
Washington52.1193741448
California52.03250152427
Rhode Island51.65444735118
North Carolina51.511618173136
Michigan50.871415473323
Georgia50.761817134322
Indiana49.4333433724
Ohio49.321522483819
Texas491134263633
Oregon48.971341112044
Tennessee48.85349214038
Missouri48.79235333442
Arizona48.312125143940
Nevada47.581939413518
Hawaii47.46434930437
West Virginia46.84452444420
Kentucky46.394710424130
Alabama45.61401404832
Oklahoma43.823514324746
South Carolina43.82611274649
New Mexico42.513026364250
Arkansas42.42464344547
Louisiana41.743719454935
Alaska40.935042223045
Mississippi39.77497495034
showing: 50 rows

Sources