The 10 BEST States of 2020

Here’s our list of 2020’s 10 best states based on the cost of living, economics, and overall quality of life.

10. North Carolina

Fall colors on the Linville River, NC

Despite the beautiful surrounding nature of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Great Smoky Mountains, Outer Banks, Emerald Isle, and the extensive forests, rivers and waterfalls that run through most of the state, the rural areas are actually the only thing holding North Carolina back. Many of these less populated areas have poor education, excessive crime, and mediocre health care, but the Raleigh-Durham area makes up for it.

There are amazing job opportunities in the cities where the median household income is over $75,000 thanks to the thriving economy. Even statewide wages have increased by 4.7% this past year, which makes the median home value of $204,000 even more affordable. Sure the K-12 public schools aren’t great, but at least there are excellent universities like Duke, UNC, and Wake Forest.

9. Iowa

A farm and silo in IA

Yes, there are a lot of corn and soy farms here, but Iowa isn’t as boring as you might think. Statistically, it’s one of the best places to live. It is the most affordable state in the U.S. with one of the fastest growing economies. Wages increased by 5% in the last year alone, adding up to a median household income of nearly $69,000. This would be good anywhere, but it’s especially good in Iowa where the median home price is just $154,000.

Unfortunately, the disparaging gap between the rural and urban communities prevents the Hawkeye state from being higher on the list. That being said, at least 15-20 different Iowan Cities could still easily meet the criteria as one of the 10 Best Cities to Live in the country. The top-notch schools, low crime, and extremely friendly residents make Iowa one of the best places to settle down and raise a family.

8. Idaho

Saddleback Lake, Sawtooth Mountains, ID

People are finally finding out what a gem the gem state really is because this is the fastes growing state in the nation. The capital, Boise, is one of the best cities to live in the country, but Idaho overall is one of the safest states with an incredibly high quality of life. From Coeur D’Alene to the Snake River Canyons, Idaho is brimming with natural beauty. You didn’t hear it from us, but the Sawtooth Mountains are honestly one of the best kept secrets in this country.

Aside from having the most land dedicated to National Forests of any state, Idaho also has the 6th fastest growing economy and the third highest job growth rate at 2.80%! Although the median household income of $60,000 is still slightly below the U.S. average, wages are have grown by nearly 6% just this past year. Although it might not be as cheap as it used to be with so many Californians moving here, Idaho is still really affordable with median home price of just 295,000$

7. Vermont

Molly’s Falls Pond, VT

Vermont may be the 2nd smallest state with only around 630,000, but it’s also the 2nd safest state. Between the stellar health care, amazing public schools, and excellent economic opportunity, the few people that actually DO move here each year usually end up staying for the rest of their lives.

And who wouldn’t want to spend their time exploring the surrounding mountains, lakes, and forests? It’s no wonder Vermont is the healthiest state in the country, or maybe that’s because it has the 2nd lowest rate of uninsured residents at just 4.5%. Vermont also has the lowest unemployment rate of any state at just 2.4% and, with a median household income of $70,000, the 256,000$ median home value is pretty affordable.

The only negative thing here is the temperature in the Winter… Literally, it stays well below 0 for 3 months a year.

6. Colorado

Hanging Lake, Glenwood Canyon, CO

Another mountain state! Except even the “ flat plains” of Denver have an elevation almost 1,000 feet higher than the highest point in Vermont! And that isn’t the only way Colorado is the highest state. Besides being the first to fully legalize weed, The Centennial State also has fifty-eight 14,000 foot peaks, more than any other state by far. With all the outdoors to explore, it’s no surprise Colorado has the lowest obesity rate and one of the highest qualities of life in the nation

The Centennial State also boasts the 4th highest GDP growth rate of 2019 and the highest wage growth rate, with the median household income increasing by 6.4% to a whopping $73,000! Add in the fact that the schools are among the best in the west and there’s immense fiscal stability and you’ve got one of the best states to live for practically any lifestyle!

5. Minnesota

Minnehaha Falls Minneapolis MN

If you’re looking for a cheap waterfront property, Minnesota’s probably your best bet because the 11,842 lakes technically means there’s even MORE shoreline than California! The land of 10,000 Lakes is also the 3rd safest state in the country, has excellent public education, and offers amazing economic opportunities.

Between the affordable cost of living with a median home value of just $259,000 and all the great jobs at the numerous fortune 500 companies offering a median household income of $72,000, Minnesota has the 4th lowest poverty rate in the nation at just 9.9%. And it’s also one of the cleanest, greenest and most bike-friendly states!

4. Utah

Snow Covered Mountains UT

There’s a reason Utah has been one of the fastest growing states since 2010. This incredibly beautiful state is not only a nature lover’s paradise with 5 national parks and 43 state parks, it also has one of the nation’s strongest job markets.

The economy here is thriving as the 2nd fastest growing economy of 2019 with a 3.8% GDP growth rate and a 3.1% job growth rate! Between all the amazing jobs in tech, mining, health care, energy, and finance, the median household income grew by 6% last year to a whopping $77,000. And the unemployment rate was just 2.5%.

If above-average schools, excellent healthcare, extremely low crime, and one of the highest qualities of life in the U.S. sounds good to you, then it’s time to move to Utah!

3. Massachusetts

There are many beautiful ponds and wooded areas in MA

Statistically, Massachusetts should be the number 1 state. It’s the 4th safest state, the 2nd healthiest state, has the 2nd highest minimum wage at $12.75 and the lowest uninsured rate of just 3%, while also having some of the world’s best healthcare and hospitals. It also consistently ranks as having the best schools in the nation for both K-12 and higher education!

Considering all those universities, it makes sense the Bay State has the most highly educated workforce, with over 50% of residents possessing at least a bachelor’s degree. There are a lot of extremely high paying jobs that require those degrees here as well, which is why Massachusetts’s median household income of $86,345 is the highest of any state.

So… why isn’t Massachusetts number 1? Taxachusetts isn’t exactly the most affordable place to live with a median home cost of $427,000, and upwards of $650,000 in the Boston area… and let’s not forget the terrible traffic.

2. New Hampshire

Garwin Falls, Wilton, NH

New Hampshire is one of the best places to raise a family with great public schools, the lowest poverty rate in the nation, and the lowest crime rate. It’s no wonder The Granite State offers the 2nd highest quality of life in the US, especially since it’s the least polluted state and the number one state for economic opportunity!

The unemployment rate was just 2.4% pre-crash, and the median household income of over $81,000 makes the $295,000 median home price VERY affordable. Not to mention, New Hampshire is filled with incredible scenery in every direction. There honestly just isn’t much wrong with this place. There isn’t even any state income or sales tax!

1. Washington

Ross Lake, WA

First of all, the scenery here is just breathtaking! From the snow-capped Cascade Mountains, to the gorgeous San Juan Islands, to the pristine coastline, to the Hoh rainforest, to the Palouse Hills and otherworldly deserts, this state has nearly every environment you could imagine,

Add in amazing schools, healthcare, infrastructure, and a THRIVING economy, and you’ve got the highest quality of life in America! Despite the economy already having grown so much over the past decade, the GDP here still grew by 3.8% in 2019 and wages grew by 5.7%, totalling a median household income of nearly $80,000 a year!

Washington really checks all the boxes and that’s why it’s the Best State to live in 2020.

If your state didn’t make the cut, it doesn’t mean it sucks… Well, unless it made the 10 Worst States List.

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