Published On: Apr 10 2012 12:16:31 PM EDTUpdated On: Jun 10 2014 09:15:14 AM EDT
Financial site Money-rates.com used cost of living, average salary, unemployment rates and workplace conditions to rank the best and worst states to make a living. Here are the top and bottom 10:
10. South Carolina -- Wages are too low to be justified by the low cost of living. Also, workplace conditions here scored below the norm.
9. New Jersey -- High wages are undermined by a very high cost of living. The state's unemployment rate is also fairly high, and workplace conditions are rated below average.
8. Arkansas -- Like many Southern states, it suffers from the problem of low wages and high unemployment negating the benefit of a low cost of living.
7. Alabama -- Again, low wages and high unemployment make a low cost of living less of a benefit than it would be otherwise. Workplace conditions are also rated very low.
6. Alaska -- Despite having no state income tax, Alaska's workers are effectively taxed by a high cost of living. Unemployment is also above average, according to Money-rate.com.
5. Connecticut -- Here again, high incomes are not enough to make up for a high cost of living. Also, unemployment remains above average.
4. Rhode Island -- In Rhode Island, a high cost of living more than neutralizes the benefits of a high average income and a low state income tax burden.
3. Mississippi -- Here, the problem is that wages are very low even when measured against the state's low cost of living. On top of that, unemployment is high.
2. New York -- Incomes in this state may be above average, but when you factor in a high cost of living and a high state income tax, New Yorkers come out behind the typical worker.
1. Hawaii -- This state's primary problem is a cost of living more than 50 percent higher than the norm, which makes it very difficult to make a decent living. Wages in the state are not nearly high enough to compensate.
10. Nebraska -- Nebraska earned high honors again, thanks primarily to one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. The cost of living is also very reasonable.
9. Oklahoma -- Oklahoma's virtues include a low cost of living, low unemployment and excellent workplace conditions.
8. Nevada -- Nevada's unemployment rate, though still a problem, has fallen by more than 5 percent over the past four years, and employees give the state's workplace conditions high marks.
7. Virginia -- Virginia benefits from high incomes, a moderate cost of living and low unemployment. However, the typical tax burden is heavier than average.
6. North Dakota -- North Dakota benefits tremendously from the nation's lowest unemployment rate, and employees gave the state's workplace conditions the highest rating of any state. Income levels are below par though.
5. Utah -- Cost of living and unemployment in the state are very low, and workplace conditions are above average.
4. Colorado -- The greatest strength Colorado has going for it is a high average income level in a state where the cost of living is about average. Workplace conditions are considered decent, and unemployment is about average.
3. Minnesota -- This state moved up three slots from last year, largely on very low unemployment and excellent workplace conditions. Taxes and cost-of-living are higher than average, but income levels make up for it.
2. Texas -- While the typical income in Texas is only about average, the state benefits from a cost of living and unemployment rate that are both lower than average.
1. Washington -- Washington's strengths include one of the highest average incomes in the nation, no state income tax and workplace conditions that ranked in the top 10 in the Gallup-Healthways survey, according to Money-rates.com.