Best and Worst States to Make A Living 2014 - All 50 States

Here are the rankings for all 50 states as they appear in's 2014 Best and Worst States to Make a Living study.
By MoneyRates Team |

So your state wasn't one of the Best States to Make a Living or Worst States to Make a Living? You can see how it fared below in the full 50-state rankings.

Again, these rankings are based on each state's Compensation and Quality Factor, a proprietary metric based on these factors in each area:

  • Average salary, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
  • Cost of living, based on data from C2ER.
  • Employment rate, based on BLS data.
  • Workplace conditions, based on the "Work Environment" component of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

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Here are all 50 U.S. states as ranked by their working conditions in the 2014 analysis:

6.North Dakota
25.North Carolina
26.South Dakota
30.New Hampshire
37.West Virginia
39.New Mexico
41.South Carolina
42.New Jersey
47.Rhode Island
49.New York
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jimmy 2 October 2014 at 1:59 pm

Living in NJ all my life is a double edged sword....I love the diversity the state offers however the property taxes are completely of control...when I tell people what I pay for my" little piece of heaven" they are flabbergasted! ....and there is NO relief in sight....something needs to be done! I'm surprised we are not higher on the list!

Ryan C 16 August 2014 at 8:20 pm

I don't understand why Idaho is 34th! Low crime rate, some of the nicest people in America, POTATOES, and last but not least%u2026the wonderful outdoors. Just beautiful.

GA 1 July 2014 at 5:41 pm

They should have included NC in the worst state to make a living.Here in NC, there are hardly any jobs and prices on everything from gas to renting a place to live makes it hard to live here.Even in the smaller towns here they are hurting too. There are no jobs here in NC for normal people. If you have a BA or MA, then you'll find a job but if you have a high school or even a GD education forget getting a job. The most a normal high school grad. or GED grad.makes here is around $9.00 to $10.00 an hour for a normal job not fast food joints( they make less there)

gin 1 July 2014 at 1:27 pm

Florida,you left this place off,it should be top.Retired people can only afford to live here,they get discounts freebies,drive school bus,can't afford to buy house,got laughed at when my son and I stopped to just look at new car the camaro,salesman laughed told me in front of son,that car cost more then you make in two years,it was embarrassing. But its even county pay is barely enough to keep us off food stamps and pay power bills. Go West or north,don't come here itself to visit beach,pay Hundred for a one night stay get sun burned,go hom. Thank you

king 1 July 2014 at 11:27 am

I live in GA and find this state to be much higher then other states when it come to education,food,clothing, medical and dental.

J.K.Risher 22 June 2014 at 11:12 am

I live in Atlanta,Ga area...since 1985 and have found cost of living here is higher and wages are low. This compaired to other southern metro areas. Ga income tax doesn't help either.

Crys 17 June 2014 at 12:12 am

The only reason ND is as high as it is, is because of the oil patch (that very few ND residents want anything to do with), and the fact that there are so many people here that do not have employment, but have exhausted all unemployment benefits so they're no longer counted in the unemployment numbers...thus skewing the unemployment rate. Families of 4 where both parents bust their butts every day and on paper pull $60k, still scrape every penny to barely put food on the table, clothes on their kids backs, and a roof over their heads. There are so many people looking for jobs here that for every 1 job opening, there are 300 applicants. It's an employers market and people are desperate. Single adults shouldn't have to work 1 full time job, and 1-2 part time jobs on top of that, just to live. And ND is #6 in the top 10 BEST states to work for?? I beg to differ...

AZ49 16 June 2014 at 10:53 pm

Well, we may be #18 for jobs, but if you want to give your kids the best-in-the-nation education, enjoy best-the-nation health care, and avoid getting gunned down by lunatics/criminals who buy their guns in a neighborhood convenience store, move here to Massachusetts!

GT 11 June 2014 at 2:11 pm

This list should have included the District of Columbia given the wealth of jobs in the area and the fact numerous MD/VA residents work there.

Lola Osborn 11 June 2014 at 11:02 am

I just recently moved to Nevada and I surprised at their ranking. Seems like jobs can be a little difficult to find here.

Robert Ackerman 10 June 2014 at 10:12 pm

State of Florida

Joseph M. Langdon 10 June 2014 at 6:50 pm

Hiway traffic unreal roads should be tolled at hiway exit ramps so major traffic back ups won,t occur. Mass transit must improve railroad yards reopened for local freight and use local truckers for area deliverys stop hiway congestion .You can,t run a bussiness if you can't get to the front door. Stop the greed and put property taxes at a reasonable rate and rental units and houses at prices young people can afford to stay in this state and raise a family.

Gary Hoover 10 June 2014 at 3:00 pm

Louisiana is better than the top ones up to the first .

Ernesto 10 June 2014 at 12:59 pm

Include us protectorates such as Puerto Rico and others.

Thomas 10 June 2014 at 10:28 am

In what working conditions is Ranked Puerto Rico for 2014?

JamesC 10 June 2014 at 12:48 am

Still when it comes to just about everything else...seasons, traditions, education, history, progressive thinking, real people, oh yeah American independence etc nowhere beats New EnglandBty new new englader by choice

Margaret 9 June 2014 at 8:38 pm

Yes I agree. I've lived here all my life and if not for family reasons would be gone. My husband and I work , raised two children and are no closer to enjoying retirement . I am laid off and could retire but we need the money . Taxes are too high. State and city. Utilities are too high. Property cost too much. We just keep pushing along .