Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Best States to Live in

Here's an interesting site I came across today, it's called ''. I was thinking about the Best Cities for Retirees, a post a wrote a few days ago, and it got me thinking about weather and geography and economy and other factors that make for a good place to live. A lot of my time I focus on places to retire so that's obviously a big consideration but let's face it anywhere that ranks high as a place to live will be looking at different factors and statistics. That's another reason for this blog - to try and bring out some of those differences - some of those things you need to compare and contrast relative to your stage of life and your lifestyle. As we've discussed numerous times, a retiree is likely not that worried about employment or wages. In fact those places that rank low on the scale turn out to be the top places for retirees because low wages mean a lower cost of living. That's the reason many latin and south American countries come out on top as the best and cheapest places to live in retirement. But what about those of us who are still working? That's a different story altogether. Likely employment prospects and good wages rank higher than cost of living for example. After all if you need work and have none than even the cheapest place to live is still too expensive. That brings us round to opportunity and like it or not the good old United States of America is still top of the list when it comes to that. Despite economic downturns and crisis the U.S. is still the leading economy on the world and best able to weather the storm. Give you're setting your sights on living and working in the states knowing the best states to live in is a good place to start. And that brings me right back to

The Best States for Lifestyle

StateMaster has their own idea of what statistics combine to measure 'lifestyle'. It's an interesting list to say he least and I'm not sure if or where the science is behind it. Here's what they say about their statistical analysis,

We have compiled information from various primary sources such as the US Census Bureau, the FBI, and the National Center for Educational Statistics.

OK that sounds good. But they also say,

We have stats on everything from toothless residents to percentage of carpoolers.

Now I'm not so sure what, "toothless residents' have to do with lifestyle but, heck I'l go with it. Here are some of the other 'lifestyle statistics' they gather and use to determine 'the best states to live in' -

  • Amusement Parks - they collect data in six different categories for Amusements Parks. Things like number of steel roller coasters.
  • Shopping Malls - here they collect data from ten different angles. From new shopping malls added to estimated sales per mall. I guess that kind of makes sense. If a state is adding new shopping and the sales are high than the economy is probably pretty good there.
  • Walmart Stores - eight categories for Walmart. Other brands measured include: Starbucks and White Castle Restaurants. What it doesn't tell us is how the data is used to determine which contribute and which detract from being on the 'best of' list. Does having more Starbucks and less White Castle push you up the list? Or is more of any the idea?
Now there are some other stats that do seem very relevant to lifestyle. Some one might not have ven considered but I thunk say a lot about a state like:
  • Percentage of Children aged 0-5 who are read to every day, and
  • Children who live in supportive neighbourhoods (not sure how they measure that though)
Altogether StateMaster collects data on 44 factors to come up with their 'Livability Index'. They rank all states in the index but I'm just going to give you the Top Ten Best States to Live in -
  1. New Hampshire
  2. Minnesota
  3. Vermont
  4. Wyoming
  5. Virginia
  6. Iowa
  7. Massachusetts
  8. New Jersey
  9. South Dakota
  10. Nebraska
Now, looking at this list you can see the validity in my opening comments about the Best Places to Live in Retirement. I don't think any of these states would qualify do you? What do you think is the best state to live in? I would love you get your feedback in the comments.

Editors Note - Be sure to check out our latest series (November 2011) on the Best US States to Live. We took this topic and went much deeper looking first at the entire country and then breaking it down by regions to discover the best states within each of the four corners of America. Let us know what you think!

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