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When searching for places to live, quality of life is a significant factor for you and other consumers. This metric may be subjective, but looking at education and health care rankings is essential for deciding where to live your life and raise a family. Here’s a guide on the states with the best quality of life.
How Do You Determine Quality of Life?
Quality of life can include numerous statistics and rankings, but we’ve narrowed it down to these four considerations:
- Health care: Nowadays, having access to health care is critical for maintaining a high quality of life. For this list, we’ll use scores from the Commonwealth Fund to determine each state’s health care system.
- Infrastructure: Americans need functioning bridges and roads to get to work and school. In 2023, broadband access has become essential as a public utility. Infrastructure rankings will come from a 2022 study by Smart Asset.
- Education: Kids and adults need a robust education system with low drop-out rates, high graduation rates and superb test scores. We’ll use U.S. News and World Report rankings for education.
- Crime: You want to feel safe in your home during the day and at night. We’ll use U.S. News and World Report again, with their composite ranking for public safety and correction outcomes.
What States Have the Best Quality of Life?
There are bright spots in all 50 states and territories, but these five separate themselves with the best quality of life in the country.
Massachusetts is one of the oldest states in the union, ratifying the U.S. Constitution in early 1788. To this day, it remains one of the best states to live in.
The Bay State excels in numerous statistics, standing out in health care, education and crime. Since 2006, Massachusetts has extended health insurance coverage to most residents, improving access. Crime is another sticking point for Massachusetts residents because they don’t see much of it. For example, Franklin sees two crimes per square mile — a far cry from the national average of 30.
Out west, the Beehive State is on the rise with its strong economy and infrastructure. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says Utah’s 2.4% unemployment rate is eighth nationally, helping residents across the state get jobs.
Salt Lake City is an excellent option if you’re looking for a big city feel that’s still affordable. The city’s cost of living is below the national average, allowing residents to afford housing and utility bills better. Salt Lake City is ideal for outdoor activities like skiing and snowboarding. Utah also has proximity to numerous national parks, such as Canyonlands, Zion and Arches.
Utah is in the top 20 for all four metrics, separating itself in education and infrastructure. The state has nearly 80% of its roads in good condition, and over 90% of residents have broadband access.
If health is a priority, Minnesota is another terrific option. The Land of 10,000 Lakes has recreational opportunities galore, especially in the summer when temperatures are warm. Winters can be brutal here, but the health care and crime rankings put Minnesota in the top five for each category.
The Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul, are hubs for organizations in numerous industries. For example, Target, General Mills, Best Buy, 3M and the Mayo Clinic are all based in the city and its suburbs. The business opportunities attract young professionals, but the city is still affordable. The cost of living in the Twin Cities is about 10% lower than the national average, helping you save money for other priorities.
Health care: 11
If health is a priority, Minnesota is another terrific option to live in. The Land of 10,000 Lakes has recreational opportunities galore, especially in the summer when temperatures are warm. Winters can be brutal here, but the health care and crime rankings put Minnesota in the top five for each category.
The Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul, are hubs for organizations in numerous industries. For example, Target, General Mills, Best Buy, 3M and the Mayo Clinic are all based in the city and its suburbs. The business opportunities attract young professionals, but the city is still affordable to live in. The cost of living in the Twin Cities is about 10% lower than the national average, helping you save money for other priorities.
The last state on the list is Wisconsin — Minnesota’s eastern neighbor. The home of the Green Bay Packers is a hub for manufacturing and agriculture with a strong economy. Wisconsin has a well-deserved reputation for its cheese production, considering it produced over 3.5 billion pounds in 2022 alone — more than tripling Idaho in third place.
Wisconsin shines with its top-10 rankings for education and infrastructure. Bad roads are hardly a worry, with over 83% of streets in good condition.
The Badger State boasts a 90% high school graduation rate — four percentage points above the national average. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is an excellent place to send your kids to college, with its 28th-place ranking among all colleges and universities in the country. Worldwide, UW-Madison ranks a solid 102.
Creating a Bright Future
You can find bright spots in every state if you search long enough. However, some states go above and beyond to provide residents with excellent infrastructure, health care, education and public safety. These five states separate themselves as the best places to live in 2023.