Washington once again tops the list of the best states to make a living. In a study conducted by MoneyRates.com, the Evergreen State edged out Texas and Minnesota, on the strength of its average wages, low state taxes, and positive work environment.
The study took into consideration other factors, like the cost of living and employment rates, which is why Hawaii fell to the bottom of the list. Thanks to those gorgeous beaches and the tropical climate, the Aloha State's cost of living is a whopping 157% higher than the national average. In fact, an expensive housing market seems to be the greatest roadblock to financial security, and the reason New York finds itself just above Hawaii at the bottom of the list. Mississippi — with its low wages and high unemployment rate — rounds out the bottom three.
While some of us may use these kinds of lists as proof that "my state is better than your state," senior financial analyst and the list's author, Richard Barrington, sees value far beyond bragging rights. "Often economic news is reported in terms of national figures,” Barrington told Forbes. “A lot of times it creates the perception that we’re all dealing with the same set of conditions across the country. When you drill down, the differences state to state are huge.”
Barrington believes that lists like these could help those who are struggling economically look outside their home state for other opportunities. "A lot of times if you happen to be living in a state with a high unemployment rate or high cost of living it’s very easy to assume things are tough all over,” he added. “But, there may be substantially better opportunities somewhere else.” (MoneyRates)