Here Is The Best And Worst Thing About Every State In The US

24/7 Wall Street reviewed many data sets and state facts to identify the best and worst features of every state.
Harriet King October 11th 2019 Lifestyle
The truth is that every single state has things to be proud of, but there are also some things that they could be doing better. In this article, we've put together the best and worst thing about every single state. Read on, and see if you agree with our assessment!
It goes without saying that almost every American citizen is proud of their country. The USA is one of the most patriotic nations in the world; a land where children salute the flag every morning before the start of the school day. People born American consider themselves to be lucky.
Underneath all that national pride, though, there's also a lot of regional competition. You'll very rarely meet someone who doesn't believe the state they call home isn't the finest of all fifty states that the United States of America has to offer. Sometimes, those inter-state rivalries can become very competitive.
Alabama
According to our statistics, Alabama leads the way in college sports. Seventeen national football championships have gone to the University of Alabama, and there's no sign of that dominance ending any time soon.
That sporting success is quite surprising when you find out that Alabamans don't get enough exercise. Only 1.2% of all the people who live in the state walk to work every morning. That's the lowest percentage in the whole country, and less than half the national average!
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Alaska
If you're looking for a lot of space, you'll find it in Alaska. You don't need to worry about your neighbors peering in through your windows here; there's barely over one person per square mile in the state on average. The national average is 87 people per square mile. We hope Alaskans don't get lonely!
The flipside of having so much open space is that job opportunities are limited. There's more unemployment here than anywhere else in the country, with 7.2% of the population currently without work.
Arizona
You don't even have to be an American to know what the best thing about Arizona is. It's the Grand Canyon, which attracts millions of tourists to the state every single year. The whole state is beautiful, but that mile-deep geological wonder is truly special.
The only issue you'll find when you're visiting the Grand Canyon - or the state in general - is that it's almost too hot to think. Phoenix is the hottest city in the country, and on a summer's day, the temperature rockets up to 100 degrees.
Arkansas
We're staying with the geological theme when we look at Arkansas. Of everything there is to look at in the state, the Ozark Mountains attract the eye more than most. We have the French to thank for their unusual name; it's a phonetic spelling of 'aux arcs,' which is how early French explorers described the bend of the river they sit upon.
If you're reading this in Arkansas right now, we're quite surprised. Over 25% of the natives don't have a broadband internet connection at all, making it America's least-connected state.
California
The sunshine state is a place of diversity and equality. In California, women are significantly more likely to be paid the same as their male colleagues for doing the same job than they are anywhere else. On average, a Californian woman earns 89 cents for each dollar made by a man.
On the other hand, the dollar value of the jobs they're doing might not be great. Californians are the country's lowest educational achievers. One in six of them never finished any form of schooling at all.
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Colorado
Companies who sell dieting solutions probably avoid Colorado. There isn't much call for their services there. Only one in five Coloradans are considered to be obese. That still sounds high, but the national average is well over one in four.
It's probably just as well Coloradans are comparatively healthy, because otherwise, they might struggle to breathe. The air in the state is very thin because the state is a massive 7,000 feet above the level of the sea. Denver has 17% less oxygen in the air than your average American city.
Connecticut
The best thing to boast about if you're from Connecticut is the college sports scene. Both the men and the women excel in the field of basketball. The University of Connecticut has won fifteen national championships, incorporating a 36-game winning streak by the women's team that ended in 2018.
Maybe everyone plays sports outdoors because the power is off at home. Keeping a home running in Connecticut is expensive; at 20 cents for a kilowatt hour of electricity, it's the highest price on the mainland.
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Delaware
If you want to make the most of your money, go to Delaware. The state is considered to be America's tax haven. With such attractive rates on offer, over half of all the Fortune 500 companies in America have stationed their headquarters there.
Despite all the business going on, though, it's a little bit anonymous. You'd be hard-pressed to name a single notable city in Delaware. Glamorous Philadelphia and Washington D.C. seem to put Delaware in their shadow.
Florida
Everywhere else in the USA has to spend millions of dollars maintaining and repairing bridges, roads, and buildings. Florida doesn't. The builders here must be incredible, because Florida is said to have the most secure infrastructure in the USA.
We don't know who taught those builders or how, because it's unlikely they learned their craft through reading. Florida is somewhat deprived of libraries; it has America's lowest number of reading establishments per person. Books presumably come at a premium.
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Georgia
Georgia is a place that's proud of its history, and with good reason. This is the state in which the civil rights movement was born. That probably goes hand in hand with the fact that it was also the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Now that they've successfully campaigned for civil rights, Georgians may want to consider campaigning for better roads. The traffic is notoriously bad, and Spaghetti Junction in Atlanta is considered to be the worst in the land for drivers.
Hawaii
Nobody wants to live forever, but we'd all like to see a ripe old age. Hawaii is the best place to live if you want to see your grandchildren grow up. On average, the islanders make it through to 81. Nowhere else in America is that figure higher than 80.
With that in mind, perhaps we're all being lied to about needing eight hours of sleep per night to stay healthy. 44% of Hawaiians don't even get seven hours, and it seems to have no effect on them.
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Idaho
Yes, it's a cliché, but you've never really eaten a potato until you've eaten a potato that came from Idaho. There's something special about the soil in this state, and it produces the finest potatoes known to America - and possibly the whole human race.
With so much vegetation around, though, wildfires are a constant hazard. Over 10% of the land in Idaho caught fire between 2008 and 2018; that's ten times the national average. The fire service is busy.
Illinois
You don't have to be a genius to live in Illinois - but it helps. You'll be more likely to relate with the natives. There isn't a state in America that's smarter than Illinois, which boasts several of the best-ranking public schools in the USA.
Bearing in mind how clever everyone in the state is, we're surprised nobody's come up with a way to deal with the rats. Chicago is full of them, with the 50,000 reported rat infestations soaring far above the average.
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Indiana
You can't say 'Indianapolis 500' without saying 'Indiana.' People from all over the planet pay attention when that race is on, which strengthens the case for saying that this is the most famous state for motorsports in the world.
One thing that the locals in Indiana don't race toward is retirement, because they'll struggle when they get there. Only two states in the USA have an average retirement income below $20,000, and Indiana is the worst of them.
Iowa
When people in Iowa turn on the news and hear about a recession on the horizon, they probably laugh. They know it won't affect them. Unemployment here has been the lowest in the USA since 2008, and it didn't even shoot up during the housing crisis.
It's a good job so many people in the state work, because it means they can buy cars. Riding a bike can be a lethal hobby in Iowa - five of the most dangerous cities in the country for bike accidents are within its borders.
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Kansas
People who like road trips love Kansas. The roads there are in impeccable condition. Fewer than one percent of all the roads in the whole state are considered to be unfit for purpose, which is below the next-best figure by a large margin.
Perhaps the roads are so steady and safe because they're so flat. Sorry, Kansas, but you're the least interesting state in the USA to look at. There are no peaks and troughs, and one end of the state looks exactly like the other.
Kentucky
While it's tempting to put 'fried chicken' here, we think that would be disrespectful to all the people who work with horses. As the home of the Kentucky Derby, this state takes equine matters very seriously. The natural bluegrass makes the perfect meal for our large four-legged friends.
For reasons nobody can work out so far, people in Kentucky are more likely to suffer from cancer than anywhere else in the USA, and those cancers are more likely to be terminal. Both diagnosis and mortality rates are America's highest.
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Louisiana
If you're forever telling the people in your home to turn their electrical gadgets off because of all the money you're spending on bills, perhaps you should just move to Louisiana. It has America's cheapest power supply.
What's less electrifying about Louisiana is the gender pay gap. Women only make 69 cents there for every dollar earned by a man, which is by far and away the worst deal for women in the country. The battle of the sexes is still raging hard there.
Maine
We all want to feel safe when we're out walking the streets. The people of Maine enjoy that feeling more than any of their American brothers and sisters. Only 124 violent crimes occur there for every 100,000 people. The national average is three times that figure.
Where it's succeeding at fighting crime, Maine is failing at diversity. It's overwhelmingly white, with barely 5% of the population coming from any other ethnic background. In the modern age, that's not something to be proud of.
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Maryland
If you were asked where the richest people in America lived, how many of you would have given Maryland as the answer? You should have done, because it's true. The average income in Maryland is $80,776 per household. That's a whole $20K above the national average.
With so much money washing through the state, more should be spent on serious crime prevention. Baltimore is the murder capital of the USA, with 50 violent deaths per 100,000 population.
Massachusetts
When you get sick, the last thing you want to worry about is whether you have sufficient insurance in place to cover the treatment you require. People in Massachusetts never concern themselves with that; over 97% of them are covered, which is a nationwide-best.
It's hard to pick anything to dislike about Massachusetts, but if push comes to shove, we'll go with the sports fans who come from Boston. There's such a thing as being a bad winner, and Red Sox fans are pretty much insufferable when their team has won.
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Michigan
Let's get back to talking about America's great geological features, because Michigan knows all about them. Two of the Great Lakes border Michigan, and it's always great to have nature on your doorstep. Does it have the most beautiful shoreline in the USA? We think so.
Unfortunately for Michigan, it also contains Detroit. What's happened to that once-great city is tragic, but in terms of crime, education, and economy, it's the worst city in the country. Flint isn't doing much better, either.
Minnesota
There's a difference between having the highest life expectancy, and having the best rate when it comes to premature mortality. Hawaiians may live the longest on average within the USA, but more Minnesotans make it past 75 than in any other American state.
All of those senior Minnesotans must be hardy souls, because winter in the state is difficult to live through. The average temperature in Minnesota is lower than it is anywhere else in the USA all year, every year.
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Mississippi
You can point at many parts of the United States and say that they were where a certain type of music got started, but how many of those styles owe their roots to the blues? The answer is 'almost all of them,' which is our eyes makes Mississippi the birthplace of American music.
The blues come from a sorrowful place in the soul. Perhaps residents of Mississippi sing them because they have so much to be sad about; a fifth of the entire population lives below the poverty line.
Missouri
You've probably heard Texans claim they have the best barbecue in the United States. Next time you do, tell them they're wrong. The best barbecues in the United States happen in St. Louis, and Kansas City. Both of them are in Missouri.
As great as the food is, we have to question why anyone decided to build a population center so close to the Mississippi River in the first place. It's America's most deadly, and has caused some of the worst floods the country has ever seen.
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Montana
Montana is a land of high achievers. We don't know where people go on to college after they've finished their education in Montana, but we can tell you they have the best high school attainment rate among adults in the United States of America.
Once again, though, we see a dissonance between educational achievement, and logistical problems. Montana's roads are death traps. The state has the highest rate of fatal car accidents in the land - possibly because of all those deep, dark country roads.
Nebraska
We're about to get a little high-brow here, because Nebraska's biggest claim to fame is a political one. This state is the home of America's only unicameral chamber. To translate that into plain English, it means that the legislation that gets passed here is nonpartisan. Everyone works together, and things move faster.
Such effective political cohesion should make Nebraska something of a nirvana, but it isn't. It spends less per child on pre-kindergarten programs than any other state.
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Nevada
No, we're not going to say 'Las Vegas.' Las Vegas is fantastic, but it's not for everybody. Instead, let's ask how a place with so much sunshine can have so few skin cancer sufferers? It's baking hot in the middle of the summer, but skin cancer is almost unheard of.
We hope Nebraskans really do have thick skin, because they're not going to like this. They officially live in America's dumbest state. Reading comprehension and educational attainment in Nebraska is the worst in the country.
New Hampshire
A long life doesn't necessarily mean a happy or healthy one - unless you happen to live in New Hampshire. Senior citizens are always likely to be less healthy than their children and grandchildren, but over 83% of New Hampshire's seniors have a clean bill of health.
State officials in New Hampshire are delighted with the health of their older population, because they'll be around to collect property taxes from for longer. Nowhere in the country will you pay more.
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New Jersey
For every dollar that Nebraska fails to spend on pre-kindergarten programs, New Jersey spends at least five. Expenditure on such programs exceeds $12,000 for every single child enrolled in one. That's over $2,000 higher than anywhere else.
We think New Jersey may be putting so much into youth education in the hope that the kids will grow up and work out what to do with all the waste in the state. There are 114 waste sites designated as 'hazardous.' That's a record high.
New Mexico
Running a home in New Mexico is cheaper than it is anywhere else in the country. In fact, living there in general comes cheaply. As an example, the average New Mexican spent $76 on power bills each month last year.
Parents in the state might want to take some of the money they're saving and spend it on better schooling for their children. Only 67% of the children who go through the state's schools complete their courses successfully.
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New York
If you have a passion for educating the next generation of Americans, New York is the place to do it. The state is home to the country's best-paid teachers, who receive an average salary of $79,152 for their valuable work.
Those teachers have to travel for their money, though, as does every other worker in the state. With an average daily commute of 34 minutes, getting to work takes longer in New York than it does anywhere else.
North Carolina
History is everywhere you look in North Carolina. This is where America's first colony was founded. It's also the place from where America's first manned flight rose into the sky. Both places are within the beautiful Outer Banks, which are North Carolina's best features.
It's best not to get too proud of your home in North Carolina. You might not be there for very long. Rates of eviction in the state are frighteningly high, which indicates that the people there struggle to stay on top of their bills.
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North Dakota
The best and worst things about North Dakota are linked. The oil boom was the best thing that's happened there for years. Between 2011 and 2016, development at the Bakken shale oil formation pushed the state's GDP up by a massive 25%.
Just as oil gives, though, oil takes away. In more recent years, the price of oil has stagnated, and the economy is sliding back down again. The 5% drop last year was the worst performance of any American state.
Ohio
We said earlier on that a long life isn't always a healthy one. Many senior citizens develop Alzheimer's as they enter their twilight years, and it isn't a pleasant experience. The people of Ohio are at the lowest risk of that happening according to official statistics.
Everyone's brain might be in full working order in Ohio, but the same can't be said about their lungs. The air pollution in the state is a major problem, with the concentration of particle pollution being the USA's absolute worst.
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Oklahoma
We're always happy to see a state that invests heavily in the future of children, and Oklahoma does that better than almost anybody. Only three states in the whole country make pre-kindergarten programs compulsory for children, and Oklahoma is one of them. Everyone gets enrolled at the age of four.
As medical care improves, life expectancy is getting better all over the USA - apart from Oklahoma. In fact, the average Oklahoman life is only 3.8% longer now than it was in 1980, which badly bucks the national trend.
Oregon
Although people might disagree on how much climate change can be attributed to human activity, we can all agree it's happening. Green is the future, and Oregon knows that. It's the most environmentally-friendly state in the USA.
Being environmentally-friendly is all about being kind to the great outdoors, but too many residents of Oregon are living in them. Rent has gone through the roof in recent years, leading to a doubling of the rate of homelessness in some counties.
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Pennsylvania
Sometimes, the obvious answer is also the correct one. The best thing about Pennsylvania is the cheese steak sandwich. Philadelphia gets to call itself the master of the cuisine, but it's such a fine invention that it's popular everywhere.
There might be a lot of cheesesteak going around, but Pennsylvanians should also be cheesed off about the amount they're paying for gas. Tax on gas is 58.7 cents for every gallon, which is the country's highest rate.
Rhode Island
Rhode Island might be a little compact, but it's packing a lot of wealth into its small surface area. Many of the country's richest and most famous people live full or part-time in Rhode Island. You can practically taste the money in the air at the Breakers when you visit Newport.
The mansions and estates might be well looked after, but nothing else is. During the last major American infrastructure survey, it was revealed that the bridges and roads of Rhode Island are literally falling apart.
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South Carolina
Forget Florida and California; if tourists are serious about getting a real picture of American life, they should be heading straight for South Carolina. Where else would they find any city like Charleston? A number of travel magazines and websites consider it to be the most attractive city in the country.
Those looks don't come cheaply, though. Energy bills in South Carolina are more than double the figure paid in some other states, averaging $146 per household per month.
South Dakota
There's nothing better than a good night's sleep when you really, really need one. If you're struggling to catch forty winks, book yourself a stay in South Dakota, where nearly 75% of the whole population claim to get a full 8 hours sleep each night.
Sleep is great, but the teachers in the state need to wake up to the terrible deal they're getting. On average, teachers in South Dakota are paid $42,025. That's a miserable figure, and much lower than you'll find elsewhere.
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Tennessee
What else could we possibly say is the best thing about Tennessee apart from the music? OK, possibly the whiskey, but we're going to go with the music anyway. Nashville alone would be enough to shout about, but Tennessee also has Memphis - the home of Elvis Presley himself.
It might be a nice idea if a Tennessee-based musician could write a nice, peaceful lullaby to calm everybody down. The violent crime rate in the state is worryingly high, and Memphis in particular has the third highest crime rate in America.
Texas
They say everything's bigger in Texas, and they're usually right. They're definitely right about the levels of energy production, at the very least. 30% of the whole country's oil refining happens in Texas. It's the nation's powerhouse.
Considering working with oil can be a dangerous job, you'd expect Texans to be big on healthcare. They're not, though. Only 82.7% of Texans have any form of cover, which is an ethical nightmare for doctors. It's almost 10% lower than the national average rate.
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Utah
Smoking is on the way out. It's been a national pastime for years, but everybody knows how unhealthy it is now, and so people are giving up. Utah is way ahead of the crowd with that idea; only 8.8% of its residents have a cigarette habit.
It's perhaps a cruel irony based on the above fact that the state has a cancer problem. It's skin cancer which is the issue, with both men and women developing the condition more frequently than they do anywhere else in the USA.
Vermont
Nobody wants to get ill, but if it's going to happen to you, try to make sure it happens in Vermont. There are 112 qualified doctors per capita there, meaning professional help should be available around every corner.
We don't want to say the doctors should be keeping a closer eye on where their drugs are stored or how secure they are, but Vermont's opioid crisis is so bad that a statewide emergency on the issue was declared in 2014.
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Virginia
What better claim to fame could there be for an American state than to have produced the most presidents in history? That honor goes to Virginia, where the full roll call is Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Harrison, Tyler, Taylor, and Wilson.
If only Virginia was as great at producing athletes as it was at producing politicians and leaders. Even though it's densely populated, Virginia doesn't host one single professional sports team in the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, or MLB.
Washington
We could say one of many things about what's good in Washington, but it speaks for itself in terms of its GDP growth performance. This is a state that's on the up and up. Last year its GDP grew by 4%, outperforming the rest of the country in the process.
Given that the weather outside is so dreadful, it's no surprise that people decide to stay indoors and work harder. Seattle's rainy weather is legendary, with the clouds soaking the residents 152 days per year on average.
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West Virginia
You'll never hear us say that the occasional alcoholic drink can't be fun, but everyone ought to know their limit. West Virginians do. Excessive drinking can lead to a variety of social issues, but only 12% of people living in West Virginia believe they've done so within the past year.
Just because the citizens aren't drinking doesn't mean they don't have other vices, however. The bars might be empty, but only because everyone's smoking outside. An astonishing one in four West Virginian adults identify as smokers.
Wisconsin
There's a lot to be said about the simple pleasures in life. A nice piece of cheese qualifies as such a pleasure, and you won't find it made better than in Wisconsin. In celebration of its status as America's cheese capital, over 4400 pounds of cheese were placed on a cheeseboard in Madison in 2018, setting a world record.
We don't know if cheese soaks up alcohol, but we hope it does. Otherwise, we have no idea how the one in four Wisconsin adults who regularly drink to excess deal with their hangovers.
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Wyoming
It might one day explode and destroy half the planet, but right now, Yellowstone National Park is one of America's most beautiful places. To get the best experience possible at the park, you need to get to Wyoming's northwest.
It's to be hoped that before the dormant volcano erupts, Wyoming will have done something about its female representation problem. Only one in ten of the people sitting either in senate or legislature seats in Wyoming are women, which is clearly uneven, and well below the norm.

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