Best and Worst States to Make A Living 2013 - Full List

See how all 50 U.S. states ranked in this analysis of job-related conditions.

Didn't see your state on the lists of Best States to Make a Living or Worst States to Make a Living? Find it below in the full 50-state rankings.

Again, these rankings are based on an analysis that considered:

  • Average wage and unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Cost of living data from C2ER (formerly ACCRA)
  • State tax rate information from
  • The Workplace Environment rankings from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index poll

Going from best to worst, here is how all 50 U.S. states ranked for 2013:

17.North Dakota
35.New Mexico
36.New Hampshire
38.North Carolina
41.South Dakota
44.West Virginia
45.New Jersey
46.South Carolina
47.New York
48.Rhode Island


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Margaret Dougherty 27 July 2015 at 12:30 pm

I want to live in Florida I want to find a place there that I can live cheap and safe

Abel Montero 30 March 2015 at 8:25 am

I've always been fascinated with this state for years but I wanna make sure it's got my type of work which is handy man services (all remodeling homes)

Jeff 17 August 2014 at 2:22 am

Libby, you kind of made a blanket statement by condeming "Colorado" WHERE in Colorado do YOU live?

Taffy 12 August 2014 at 1:33 am

Okay, here's why these rankings are meaningless. What the poll is really measuring is standard of living. In other words, where do you get the most bang for your buck and access to this and that. Example culture. Those standard of living rankings paint a much different picture than this list does.

Marian C. 1 July 2014 at 8:36 pm

Give generations born and raised in Connecticut !! Can't wait to get out!! Thanks Connecticut !!

Libby 8 April 2014 at 4:21 pm

I live in Colorado and there is no way this is correct. There are no jobs and plenty of people without them. $8 an hour is what most jobs pay to a max of around $9.50 anything higher is a more qualified job that the average person can't even get. Cost of living is ridiculous! There are over 1000 bums just in my city. It is not a good place to live unless you have a high paying career, you cannot make it here workingan average job. I was working an average job full time and was 400$ short every month and was only paying for utilities, rent and food didn't even have cable phone or any extras. We are relocating due to it.

Maia 4 April 2014 at 7:39 pm

Was in Washington. Didn't care for the dreary weather. Followed hubs to Montana. Kalispell precisely. Rents, food, utilities are all very high. Job wages low $8.50-9.00/hr even with skills. A flebotomist at the hospital makes $10/hr. Very long winters and you better hope you secured employment before winter sets in. A nice state to visit, but not to raise a family.

Jake Griffin 30 January 2014 at 7:05 am

I'm a texas resident. And texas should rank closer to the bottom. Avg. Wage is just above 30k a year. It is one of the worst states by far to live in.

Sean S 30 January 2014 at 12:29 am

I'm 18 and making $150,000 a year in North Dakota. North Dakota is almost up to 1,000,000 barrels of oil a day.

Mark S 28 December 2013 at 5:20 am

About florida. Well florida is treated like a 3rd world country. Low wages few benefits and business like to come and open here just for theses reasons. to pay low wages and can fire early so u lose your retirement money. (Its happened) thank you for reading. I spell florida. (Floriduh). Look on youtube for. (Most honest 3 minutes) it explains alot

Toni 6 November 2013 at 12:59 pm

For everyone who lives in DC and is wondering why it is not listed as one of the best or worst States its because it's not a State it is the Capital of the US with land that has been donated by both Virginia and Maryland. So that being said check out those states to see where you rank.

Alan 5 July 2013 at 12:06 am

I'm surprised Michigan and Ohio are ranked fairly high on this.

Tess 8 June 2013 at 11:19 am

Really, the nation's capital doesn't merit a listing? It's bad enough we get no representation in Congress, but at the least you could pretend the 700,000 who live here year-round are part of the U.S. in these surveys. We're that little spit of land wedged between Maryland (to the north) and Virginia (just below). It's called Washington, D.C. Ring a bell??

Josie 15 May 2013 at 10:58 pm

WOW! Washington State is #1~ I live here...I worked for 15 years as a State Worker as a Correctional Officer at a Male Prison. I married and moved to The Tri-Cities...and quit my job. THAT may have been my worst mistake! No one told me the Job Scene had changed so much since 15 years ago!! I got my Class B CDL and became a School Bus Driver and loved it...but it pays poorly and I am back to looking again. Hope my new job at Wal-Mart works out as I am 56 and things really suck all around. Can it get any worse? I have often said...If I am going to be HOMELESS anyway.. I want to be HOMELESS in Hawaii... where at least I can be warm while I die slowly from Greed and Need!

Elise Moore 15 April 2013 at 8:32 pm

And the District of Columbia where all those people from Virginia work - where does it fit in on this list for those 700,000 of us who choose to live here???

Joe R. 11 April 2013 at 8:52 pm

I was surprised to see that Nevada ranked #16 on this list with the given economic situation. I know that the deciding factors were Cost of living, State tax rates, and workplace environments, but how heavily weighted are each one?

kamal 7 April 2013 at 8:42 am

Never knew new york could be among the worst state to make your money. But it is a city that never sleeps.

Jim 7 April 2013 at 4:01 am

I <3 NY!!! Not! $1400 a month for a studio apartment

Great Dragon 4 April 2013 at 12:51 am

Unemployment rate in Pierce County (Tacoma) is 9.7. Washington is not a good place for jobs. Business is going to reduced hours so the Obama Care does not apply to the workers on part time employment. Business is not hiring. Microsoft out sourcing jobs to India, Mexico & Asia. Boeing no big hiring. Lots of foreclosure on homes. Homes under water, banks not helping owners.

KahunaHawaii 3 April 2013 at 8:54 pm

It is a shame that Hawaii.. with record tourism.. is the worst place to make a living.. and more of a shame that naitve Hawaiians are at the bottom of the ladder .. economic enslavement, welfare state, the money from tourism is not going to the people.. rather back to places on the mainland, Japan and Chinese now are buying up Hawaiian hotels, land but giving only jobs to those who speak Chinese.