Here is a ranking of the 10 least desirable states to reside and work in for 2023, with a noteworthy discovery at the very end
These are America’s 10 worst states to live and work in for 2023, and there’s a big surprise at the very bottom
Introduction to The Criteria
The quality of living varies greatly from state to state in America. This is due to a multitude of factors, ranging from average income, job opportunities, cost of living, education standards, healthcare systems to safety and more. Taking each of these elements into consideration, we’ve ranked the ten worst states to live in for 2023.
It’s important to note that the term ‘worst’ doesn’t mean that these states are entirely unlivable or lacking value. It simply means that, in comparison to other states, they have significant pain points that can make life and work challenging. These states often struggle with a poor economy, high crime rates, low-quality education, poor health care, and other issues.
Remember, this list does not aim to discourage anyone from living in these states. Instead, it serves as a pointer of areas that require significant improvement for a better standard of living. Let’s dive into which states made the list:
Consider Michigan, a lovely state known for its great lakes. But when components like the crime rates, unemployment rates, and public health come into play, it unfortunately falls short compared to others:
Unemployment rate sits at about 8.5%
Poverty level reaches up to 14%
High crime rate with over 450 violent crimes per 100,000 residents
Lackluster educational system, ranking 31st out of 50
The healthcare ranking is subpar, being number 34 in the country
Cost of living index above the national average making life expensive
The Economy plays a vital role in determining the quality of life a state can provide its residents. It impacts job opportunities, wage levels, and financial stability, among others.
An unfavorable business climate impedes economic growth. A slow-growing, static or declining economy results in fewer career opportunities, low wages, and high unemployment rates. These are restrictions that hinder one’s ability to achieve financial stability.
Furthermore, high poverty rates are prevalent in states with poor economies. These indicators often make living conditions challenging. Let’s look into how this reflects in some states:
Like Alaska, its economy has struggled due to falling oil prices leading to a rise in unemployment:
The unemployment rate is highest in the nation at 12%
Over 10% of residents live below the poverty line
Economy largely depends on natural resources extraction, which fluctuates drastically
High cost of basic commodities such as groceries and health care
Ranking 47th out of 50 for fiscal stability
Poor business environment stifling growth and innovation
Safety concerns significantly affect where people choose to work and live. States with high crime rates, particularly violent crime, often see a mass exodus of individuals seeking safer surrounds.
States failing to tackle these safety issues scare away potential employers, resulting in less economic activity and growth. Coupled with problems like poor housing infrastructure and high homelessness rates, these states genuinely struggle.
Here’s how unsafe neighborhoods have driven people away from states like Louisiana:
From recent reports, living in Louisiana does not guarantee safety due to its dangerously high crime rates:
Highest murder rate in the country at 11.4 murders per 100,000 residents
Violent crime rate is more than double the national average
Poverty drives higher rates of property crime
A significant number live below poverty line
Ranked among the worst states for infrastructure
High unemployment and homelessness rates
Education plays a pivotal role in determining the economic future of a state. A strong educational system is indicative of well-prepared, skilled and knowledgeable workers that could lead to strong economies.
States that fail to invest adequately in their education systems often produce less qualified workforce. This inadequacy subsequently leads to fewer job opportunities, brain drain and low wage prospects.
West Virginia’s educational system illustrates how low ranking education affects living standards:
Unfortunately, West Virginia stands last regarding the quality of education offered:
Low financial investment per student
Poorly rated public schools, with many falling below national standards
High drop-out rates
61% of adults lack post-secondary education
Fewer competitive universitiesLow standardized test scores among students
Quality of Healthcare
Good healthcare systems are central to the wellbeing and productivity of residents. Poor health outcomes and inaccessible or unaffordable healthcare make life difficult and could drive away potential inhabitants.
States with inadequate infrastructure, high healthcare costs, and limited access to services tend to have lower health scores. These gaps contribute to poor life expectancy, high infant mortality, and generally poor health outcomes.
To visualize this, consider Mississippi, a state severely lacking in healthcare access and quality:
Healthcare in Mississippi illustrates the pressing need for improvement:
Low healthcare accessibility ranking
High infant mortality rates – the highest in the country
Large percentage of uninsured residents
Poor health outcomes such as high obesity and diabetes rates
Inadequate funding for public health
One of the most expensive states for health insurance
Cost of Living
The cost of living is essential to consider when evaluating a state’s livability. High costs of housing, groceries, utilities and transportation can make otherwise attractive places out of reach for many people.
States with a high cost of living often also have higher poverty rates, as earning an average wage may not be enough to meet everyday expenses. Sometimes, even though wages may be high, they do not match up with the exceedingly high prices of goods and services.
In this regard, Hawaii is an attractive yet costly place to live, especially for middle-class families:
Living in Hawaii seems like a dream until you check the cost of living:
The highest cost of living index in the country
Exorbitant housing prices
Many families struggle due to low median household income
High energy costs, almost double the national average
Groceries cost around 60 percent more than the national average
Ranked 49th in affordability by US News & World Report
Good infrastructure – from roads, bridges, airports to public services like water supply and electricity – plays a significant role in attracting citizens and businesses. It significantly impacts daily living experience.
States where the infrastructure is falling apart tend to discourage settlement and investment. A lack of adequate planning or investment in this area can hold back economic potential.
Poor infrastructure in Rhode Island provides a glimpse into the problems residents face:
Rhode Island’s ageing infrastructure poses various challenges to its citizens:
Low-quality road networks with many rated poor or mediocre
A significant percentage of bridges deemed structurally deficient
Energy infrastructure needs serious upgrading
Water systems are old with high risk of lead contamination
Poor public transportation system
Inadequate broadband access in rural areas
A state’s financial stability directly affects the ability to invest in vital areas like education, healthcare, and infrastructure. It’s essential for offering tax breaks, attracting businesses, improving housing, and stimulating overall economic activity.
States ridden with debt, budget deficits, and low cash reserves struggle to provide basic services to their residents. These states often have no choice but to raise taxes or cut down services, both of which make life difficult for occupants.
New Mexico is one such state struggling with fiscal stability:
The situation in New Mexico highlights the issue of fiscal instability:
Largest budget deficit among all states
Poorest fiscal stability ranking on US News & World Report
Local governments carrying heavy pension liability
Low reserves mean less responsiveness during financial downturns
High tax burdens on residents due to lack of commercial activity
Frequent budget cuts affecting essential services like healthcare and education
Quality of Life
The overall quality of life entails a state’s capacity to provide not just the basic needs but also elements that impact happiness, satisfaction and opportunity for growth. The environment, recreational facilities, culture, affordability, safety and community involvement play into the quality of life one experiences.
States with high pollution levels, limited cultural events, poor environmental policies or low community involvement often score poorly in terms of quality of life.
Oklahoma falls short in terms of overall quality of life:
Despite efforts to make improvements, Oklahoma still struggles with certain elements that directly impact its quality of life:
Poor air and water quality
Lack of recreational and outdoor activities
Low satisfaction among residents
Ranked 48th in the nation for quality of life by U.S. News & World Report
High obesity rates
Low community involvement
The Big Surprise at The End: New York
New York, home to bustling cities, greater job opportunities and worldwide known landmarks, surprisingly finds itself at the bottom of the list. Unknown to many, living and working in New York presents significant challenges despite its popularity.
Surely, with all the opportunities available, it might seem shocking, but when cost of living, infrastructure quality, traffic congestion, taxes and other issues come into play, the balance tilts unfavorably.
Despite its allure, New York has crucial issues to address:
Living and working in New York is not as easy as it sounds:
The highest taxes in the entire nation
One of the most expensive states to live in
Poor infrastructure, especially roads and public transportation
Traffic congestion making commuting a nightmare
High crime rates in certain areas
An education system that struggles with disparities