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Quality of life is a challenging metric to measure. Basically, it refers to how happy people are with their lives. Because different people care about different things, the best state for one person may be different from the best state for another.
For example, if you hate snow, nothing will entice you to live in the northern half of the U.S. – even if a northern state meets all your other requirements. With that said, there are several reliable metrics we can use to define which states have the best quality of life. Here are five of the best U.S. states according to affordability, opportunity and beautiful natural environment.
# 1: New Hampshire
New Hampshire is home to beautiful small towns and gorgeous state parks. Although property taxes are expensive, the state has no state income or sales tax. New Hampshire ranks high in educational opportunities, and has low crime and poverty rates.
If you dislike snowy winters, New Hampshire isn’t the place for you. On the other hand, some residents may feel that the state’s cold winters are one of its best features. The unemployment rate was 3.2% as of 2021 and the average value of a home was $272,300.
On USA Today’s 2019 list of the best states in the U.S., the writer ranked Massachusetts as #1. This news source measured life expectancy, poverty and education level to score states. They also measured population change to see how many people were leaving and moving into the state. Massachusetts ranked very high for both education and healthcare.
Massachusetts residents on average earn high incomes, which balances out the high cost of living. The state has a strong economy and residents enjoy a long life expectancy. The state experiences all four seasons and has beautiful natural features, including the Berkshires and rugged coastline. There’s also a lot of history to explore in this New England state.
This state is affordable and has a strong economy based on agriculture and manufacturing. It’s a wonderful place to raise a family. Much of the state consists of farmland, which is not much of a surprise since Wisconsin is well known for its cheese. In addition to rural areas, the state is also home to several lovely cities. The capital, Madison, is considered one of the best college towns in the country.
Wisconsin also ranks high in the nation for healthcare, job opportunities and a natural environment. Unemployment and poverty are low in the state. Although it gets quite cold in the winter, the warm summer months more than make up for it. Wisconsin is a great place for active people, as there are plenty of ways to enjoy the great outdoors all year round.
Minnesota has excellent infrastructure and offers residents many opportunities. This state also has a beautiful natural environment and a strong economy. Their health care is excellent and crime is low compared to other states. As of 2021, only 8.3% of the population lived below the poverty line.
The people in Minnesota are incredibly friendly and there’s a lot to do outside during the warm summer months. The state is full of beautiful lakes and parks and agriculture is one of the state’s biggest industries. However, income taxes are high and the winters are freezing cold – the average temperature in January is usually around 13.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’re interested in living farther west, consider Idaho. Over the last few years, thousands of people have moved to this state for its low cost of living and beautiful scenery. Many businesses are also making this move, creating new job opportunities for residents. The state ranks low in crime and has good healthcare compared to many other states.
In 2021, the poverty rate in Idaho was only 10.1%. With an average income of $58,915 per household, the state is affordable for college graduates, families and retirees – as long as you live outside of Boise. Idaho offers close proximity to many beautiful parks, including Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. This state combines the best of a small-town feel with big-city opportunities.
Land of the Free
Many Americans love the states they live in, but some are more affordable and offer a higher quality of life. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Idaho offer residents a strong economy, many job opportunities, beautiful outdoor scenery and excellent educational opportunities.
If you’re thinking about moving across the country, these states should definitely be on your list. Moving away from a depressed or expensive area could completely transform your life. But remember – every state has its challenges regardless of where you end up.