Home > Travel > 20 Best States to Live in the United States

20 Best States to Live in the United States

By Brian Pho


Updated on

Best States to Live in the United States
New York Skyline / Photo by Thomas Habr / unsplash.com

America, the country of all possibilities, where everyone who works hard enough can achieve amazing things, where optimism is a lifestyle, and where opportunity arises every step of the way.

With nearly 200 nationalities currently living here, the USA is a nation that has learned to appreciate and cherish heterogeneity. Most towns have a real sense of community, so you shouldn’t be startled if your neighbors and strangers greet you on the street.

Like the archetypal “melting pot” society, the United States was built on the belief that everyone can become everything they put their minds to, so it is par for the course that most of its citizens lack self-doubt or hopelessness. 

Nevertheless, it is not unforeseen that there will be significant regional disparities in a country that spans 3,800,000 square miles. Flying from Washington to Georgia will make you question whether you are still in the same nation. In Oregon, cannabis is completely legal, whereas it is totally banned in Louisiana.

Nearly 90% of Mississippians believe religion is crucial in their lives, while less than half of Vermonters have the same opinion. In Miami, the lowest temperature is milder than the hottest month in North Dakota. You get the point.

Therefore, relocating might be an intimidating thought, even when the change is wholly deliberate. When you’re up against a deadline, such as your first day at a new job or the beginning of the school year, the pressure is amplified.

The truth is that few endeavors necessitate as many split-second choices or attract as many cold feet, as pondering where to reside for the next decade, or if an employment contract across the nation is worth disrupting your life.

Some factors, such as cost and career prospects, are clear and nearly applicable everywhere. Others, such as food selection and the environment, may appear less essential in comparison to money-related concerns, means of transportation, or education. However, they can still have a significant influence on your long-term standard of living.

Obviously, listening to your gut might be the right course of action, and we are sure you will just feel it when the right choice comes along. Nonetheless, we are fully aware that relocating is not an easy task, even if we are talking about intra-city migrations. Crossing state boundaries, much less international borders, is a genuinely courageous feat.

And because it serves as the basis for the future, deciding where to move is one of the most important aspects of this process. If you can narrow down some or all of the pertinent considerations before loading your first container, you will have significantly less to worry about when the pressure is on.

The Best States to Live In:

Therefore, without further ado, continue reading to see which are the top 20 states in the United States that are considered to be the best places to live. Get yourself a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, or a beer, since we are about to delve deeply into the United States and all that it has to offer to anyone pondering a relocation.

20. Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee / Photo by Tanner Boriack / unsplash.com

Two words: Tennessee whiskey. Tennessee-made whiskey has a particular smooth character and flavor because it is distilled from several grains and then matured in hardwood barrels. Jack Daniel’s is one of the most prominent whiskey brands in the region, but George Dickel, Nelson’s, Clayton James, and Uncle Nearest are high-quality labels as well.

At the same time, you’ve surely heard of Tennessee’s excellent climate, vibrant cities, and countless destinations that have attracted generations of tourists. On their journey back home, many frequently considered relocating to Tennessee permanently.

This awe-inspiring state, known for its diverse economy and culture, country music, Memphis-style barbecue, and picturesque beauty, is home to several world-famous cities, including the state capital, Nashville, which attracts thousands of new inhabitants each year.

19. Nebraska

Rural Nebraska
by David Mark / pixabay.com

No, Nebraska is not all bland and lifeless. Even though it might be true that the state has more cattle than people, the area’s past is rooted in farming, and it boasts one of the most spectacular landscapes in the nation.

The Cornhusker State is now one of the greatest regions to live in the United States, with first-rate incomes, decreased house prices, an excellent job market, and a good standard of living altogether. In terms of top-quality education, the state ranks 9th in the nation.

Moreover, Nebraska is not just 5th in respect of affordable living costs but also tops in the pursuit of financial prospects.

18. Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Photo by Oleksandr Dibrova / stock.adobe.com

In addition to being rich with history, personality, and audacity, Pennsylvania is known as the “Keystone State” for economic and geographical reasons.

We will not dig too far into these topics because we are sure cartography was never the most intriguing course of study. But, you should know that Pennsylvania serves as a sort of link between the Northeastern states, the South, the Atlantic coastline, and the Midwest.

Nevertheless, the thing that impresses us the most about this one-of-a-kind state is the number of “firsts” that have occurred there: the first computer, the first daily newspaper, the first piano in America, the first car repair station, the first zoo garden, the first radio broadcast, the first American flag, and the list continues to expand indefinitely in this manner.

Still and all, Pennsylvania has a low cost of living and an extremely low-income tax. The state’s rent prices are approximately 50% less than those of its close neighbor, New York City, and its housing prices are 70% less. That’s a notable dissimilarity.

Moreover, the closeness to New York City is one of the reasons why many people enjoy living here. Being able to travel to the Big Apple and stay overnight or for a weekend without having to continually deal with the negative aspects of big cities is a second-to-none perk.

17. Kansas

Kansas sunflower state
Blooming sunflowers in Kansas / Photo by Scott Evers / stock.adobe.com

Kansas, with its rough cowboy ethos, has always been an inviting slice of genuine America, steeped in heritage and proud of its magnificent background. The Sunflower State’s economy is mostly based on farming, and it is one of the top states for growing corn, wheat, soybeans, and cattle meat.

The incredibly low cost of living in Kansas is what draws most individuals to the state. In rural Kansas, the cost of living is 21% cheaper than the national average, yet the median family household makes approximately $55,000 annually.

Now you can understand how affordable residing in Kansas is. But do not assume that only rural Kansas is inexpensive. Even in large towns, housing is very reasonable.

Notwithstanding that, when asked what is unique about Kansas, the response is barbecue. Yes, you did read that right. In terms of cooking fashion, Kansas-style barbecue is typically covered with tomato and molasses-bedded sauce after being slowly smoked over various woods.

Therefore, it is nearly impossible to find a terrible restaurant in Kansas, especially if you want to sample the outstanding barbecue.

Fun fact, did you know that Kansas City is both in Kansas and Missouri, but most of it is actually in Missouri?

16. Iowa

Iowa farm
Iowa farm / Photo by David Mark / pixabay.com

If you want to settle in a state with an excess of locally sourced fruits and where small communities and city life coexist, you should go to Iowa.

Iowa is one of the most highly desired areas in the United States thanks to its outstanding landscapes, interesting people, minor crime rates, low cost of housing, and provincial feel. Listening to Johnny Cougar’s music will give you a sense of what is meant by the American heartland.

Whether you are a twentysomething, a young family, a senior, or a student, you will find a comfortable home and a proper lifestyle in Hawkeye State because the cost of living is far below the national average.

Des Moines is roughly 10% below the national average, and minor towns are substantially lower. Also, Forbes ranked Davenport-Bettendorf as the nation’s most economically vibrant metropolitan area in 2010.

For example, in 2021, the median cost for a single home in Iowa was $171,251, almost 50% lower than the national average. Moreover, compared to the country’s norms, there are 20% fewer violent crimes and under 10% of property crimes in Iowa, making it one of the least aggrieved places to reside.

15. Virginia

Albemarle County, Virginia
Albemarle County, Virginia / Photo by Bram / stock.adobe.com

Virginia is not only a wonderful area to reside in, but it is also conveniently located on the East Coast, which means there is something to appreciate for both history aficionados and wildlife enthusiasts. Drenched in southern friendliness, the state is proud of its high-quality education, rich culture, and vibrant economy.

Dwelling in Virginia is more expensive than in other states, and the cost of living and taxes are higher than the national average. Nevertheless, because the real estate market is so broad, it is feasible to find an accessible home to live in, particularly in rural areas. For example, Covington was ranked first for affordability.

Virginia is also renowned for its highly-skilled workforce and robust job market, as well as for the fact that its population is expanding and diversifying. These make it an appealing state to relocate to.

14. Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois / Photo by David Mark / pixabay.com

No one will be surprised by your plan to migrate to Illinois, as the state has a history of being among the top locations to live in the United States. The state is most noted for Chicago, the third-most populated city in the U.S., but it is much more than that. 

Illinois is one of the economic drivers of the nation and it boasts the fifth-largest GDP in the country, making it one of the world’s most stable economies. Here you will earn a higher wage due to the abundance of employment opportunities, and since the state has several businesses and production facilities, you don’t need to worry about the pay stub either.

Besides Chicago, Illinois has several further claims to be proud of. For starters, it was the first state to stop slavery, and Abraham Lincoln resided here for several decades. Furthermore, Illinois is the original and current home of the first McDonald’s.

13. Vermont

Fall in Vermont
Fall in Vermont / Photo by Venti Views / unsplash.com

Vermont, based in New England, is one of the most enticing states in America. Its title translates to “Green Mountain State”, yet since summer turns to fall and winter to spring, there is a veritable spectrum of shades year-round.

Dwelling in Vermont will provide you with the best of everything, including enough freedom to move, clean air to breathe, and nice friends around. Nonetheless, if you have a metropolitan appetite, you can be in Montreal, Boston, or New York within a few hours.

We all know that crime rates are lower in a small towns, so most surveys rank Vermont as the safest state in the nation. Although this makes Vermont a charming and peaceful state, it does not lack its own special atmosphere, with confined friendliness ubiquitous at every turn.

All things considered, Vermont may be the acme of perfection for someone in search of a calm lifestyle away from the rush of metropolitan life, but still close enough if you wish to make an exception from time to time.

12. Wisconsin

Milwakee, Wisconsin
Milwakee, Wisconsin / By f11photo / stock.adobe.com

It takes a special type of individual to thrive in Wisconsin, but once you get accustomed to it, you’ll question why you didn’t come here sooner. But it’s fair to say that newcomers may feel a little disoriented when they first arrive.

Wisconsin’s cost of living is 10% lower than the national average, primarily due to the state’s affordable real estate. The median home price here is $230,000, compared to $374,000 nationwide. According to the data, the median rental price is around $900 per month, compared to the $1,300 national average.

Moreover, if you are head over heels for cheese, Wisconsin is your nirvana, with three million pounds of cheese produced annually in 600 types. This Midwestern state, popularly called America’s Dairyland, is also the place of residence for the third most accomplished football team in the country, making it a football enthusiast’s paradise.

11. Texas

Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas / Photo by MJ Tangonan / unsplash.com

When someone mentions Texas, pictures of cowboy boots, high-rise ranches and farms, outsized barbeques, and expansive towns like Dallas come to mind. But the truth is that big describes practically anything in the Lone Star State. Everything in Texas is larger, from the highways to the portion sizes to the retail malls and homes.

Likely, the lack of a state income tax in Texas is one of the most alluring aspects of the area. Nevertheless, as in other tax-free jurisdictions, property taxes are above average.

The reasonable home prices in Texas, which allow one to live large on a fairly modest wage, are a further allure of the state. If you move from California, you will find that housing costs are 59.1% less expensive here. That might be one of the reasons everyone seems to love Austin now. 

10. Idaho

Boise, Idaho
Boise, Idaho / Photo by Pinpals / pixabay.com

Idaho’s moniker is the Gem State, and once you’ve visited it, you’ll understand how accurate that term is. There are jewels and other environmental assets in Idaho, but many Idahoans would argue that the state’s landscape is its true treasure.

However, even if you are not a wildlife enthusiast, the state’s financial potential will appeal to you. Idaho has a robust and diverse economy with myriad career opportunities and an average cost of living.

Be mindful, though, that housing prices and income taxes are above average. Lastly, the alcohol laws are somewhat out of date, and there is a lack of religious, cultural, or ethnic variety. Nevertheless, we believe you can find a few nice companions if you make the effort.

9. Utah

Arches National Park, Utah
Arches National Park, Utah / Photo by SoloTravelGoals / unsplash.com

Considering a relocation to Utah? We understand. The state is distinguished for its exceptional standard of living, low crime rate, and picturesque scenery. Utah is less expensive than adjacent Colorado yet offers comparable weather and exposure to breathtaking peaks.

Utah’s job market is healthy, and its citizens generally enjoy a high standard of life. Salt Lake City and Provo are consistently ranked among the cities with the most robust job markets.

If you are going to Utah in search of a vibrant social atmosphere, you will be quite astonished by Salt Lake City. The Sundance Film Festival annually stimulates the economy of the state by attracting a rich crowd with lots of money to spend and invest in the area. If you enjoy watching movies or spotting celebrities, this is the place for you.

8. Michigan

Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan / Photo by Peter Mol / pixabay.com

We’ll be honest with you: winters are bitterly cold and summers unbearably humid here. Apart from that, Michigan is a terrific state in which to reside for a variety of strong reasons.

Simply put, it is a state that has it all: top-rate cultural assets, postcard-worthy natural features, thriving cities, and recreational activities, all of which are paired with the chance for growth. And let’s not forget about the reasonable cost of living.

Here you can drive about and be amazed by the great cities filled with art and culture; wide farms; little lakes; and large woodland regions. All in all, Michigan is a state that can give someone a fresh new outlook on life.

7. New York

New York skyline at sunset
New York skyline at sunset / Photo By susanne2688 / stock.adobe.com

There is so much more to the state of New York than the metropolitan area that comprises New York City. It is a big state with an extensive heritage and countless charming spots and is one of the best places to reside if you enjoy music performances, art, and culture.

Moreover, the northernmost areas of the state are recognized as a mecca for hikers and nature lovers, as they include a magnificent part of the famous Appalachian Trail.

According to FBI data, New York state has a dramatically lower crime rate than the remainder of other states. Yes, we recall the time when New York City’s criminality brought the entire state a terrible reputation, but all of that has vanished.

Looking for a budget-friendly home? Do not presume that all housing prices in the state of New York are as expensive as those in NYC. A typical home in New York state is around $371,880.

6. Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota / Photo by Nicole Geri / unsplash.com

Minnesota is the 22nd most inhabited state in the United States with 5.7 million residents, and at 87,014 square miles, it is also one of the largest states. With five national parks, 76 state parks, and more than 10,000 lakes, it’s easy to see that Minnesota’s beautiful outdoors is one of the best reasons to move there.

However, everything here is focused on the fascinating couple of the Twin Cities: Minneapolis and St. Paul, which are less than 9 miles apart. They’re so close they could almost be the same city, but they couldn’t be more dissimilar.

The good news is that the Twin Cities are one of the most crowded places for Fortune 500 corporations in the world, but, consequently, they come with a hefty price tag. An apartment in Minneapolis, for instance, will cost approximately $1,500 per month. And, even though this is considerably less expensive than, say, New York City, it is still not a trivial matter.

5. Massachusetts

Autumn in New England
Autumn in New England / Photo by Mark Lotterhand / stock.adobe.com

If you can find a means to survive the brutal winters of Massachusetts, you will be rewarded with some of the nation’s most beautiful summers. But, in addition to its pleasant summers, the state is renowned for its picture-perfect and vibrant autumn scenery. If you don’t trust us, Google “Fall in Massachusetts” immediately and you will realize what we are talking about.

Thanks to its first-rate schools (it’s enough to just mention Harvard), Massachusetts is a compelling place to live because of its rich culture, forward-thinking citizens, and awe-inspiring environment. Love seafood? The state is known for its specialties, notably shellfish, so there will be plenty of dishes to suit your tastes.

The economy of the area is doing well because it has a strong high-tech sector, a skilled labor force, and strong core industries like farming, business, and fishing.

4. New Hampshire

Nashua, New Hampshire
Nashua, New Hampshire / Photo by Thomas / stock.adobe.com

New Hampshire, commonly nicknamed the Granite State, is located near the border with Canada and is home to around 1.36 million people. It is a small state with a tremendous character, from wide, pristine forests and towering mountains to vibrant, thriving cities.

As one of the founding 13 provinces, the state’s stunning scenery is dotted with historic towns and villages. Moreover, there are myriad governmental arrangements in New Hampshire that are uncommon in most other U.S. jurisdictions. There is no state tax on individual income, nor does it have a goods and services tax.

New Hampshire is a fresh state, rich in beauty and replete with locations to seek quiet. If you dislike being literally bombarded by others, living here can be a coveted breath of fresh air.

3. North Dakota

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota / Photo By Bram / stock.adobe.com

North Dakota is one of the most desirable states in the United States due to its breathtaking landscapes, exceptional wildlife, and kind residents.

If you would like to dwell in a tranquil grassland paradise with minimal crime rates, accessible real estate, shorter commute times, and low living costs, North Dakota is an excellent option, even though it is not for everyone.

North Dakota has one of the nation’s lowest unemployment levels, with abundant job prospects and an excellent educational system. The state’s major businesses are oil, natural gas, and agriculture, but industry and technology have recently emerged as major players.

Moreover, the cost of living here is reasonable as residents don’t have to bear an unacceptable fiscal burden. Combine all these traits and everyone should be able to achieve success on personal, professional, and financial levels.

2. New Jersey

Jersey City skyline
Jersey City skyline / Photo By bluebeat76 / stock.adobe.com

If New Jersey doesn’t already have your attention, it should. This East Coast jewel tends to captivate people from all over the world in search of exceptional schools and hospitals, engaging recreational activities, diversified landscapes, and more.

The state is close to urban areas in all directions, including a brief rail journey to New York City or Philadelphia, and is a vibrant combination of rustic and metropolitan, elegance and history. For a small state, New Jersey offers everything.

It usually ranks among the nation’s top suppliers of fruits and vegetables and is a great spot to reside if you enjoy farm-to-table quality. Furthermore, it is not challenging to find work in New Jersey due to the sheer number of corporations with offices or bases in the state, making 4.5 million people safely have a job.

1. Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington / Photo by Stephen Plopper / unsplash.com

The gorgeous state of Washington is nestled in the upper left region of the nation, surrounded by forests of pine boughs, majestic mountains, and broad valleys. So, there’s no question that the stunning beauty of the Pacific Northwest is a major draw for most people who want to move there.

Here, you will have unlimited alternatives for outdoor leisure, an abundance of employment prospects, a vibrant small business culture, and a variety of housing choices. And let’s not forget about the lack of an income tax, which is definitely a perk of Washington living.

It comes as no surprise that the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area is the economic engine fueling the state’s booming job sector, given the prominence of Microsoft and Amazon, the expanding Google footprint, and aviation behemoth Boeing.

Seattle is also the headquarters for Alaska Airlines and Starbucks, as well as one of the greatest agricultural manufacturers in the U.S. However, without equivocation, the cost of living in Washington is high. For instance, the median rent in Seattle is $2,100 for a two-bedroom apartment. If you are curious, that is an astounding 80% higher than the national average.


Relocating is a matter that should be taken seriously, which is why we have compiled this comprehensive guide about the best 20 states to live in the United States.

We hope it will assist you in deciding if moving is the next step in your life and give you some insight into the greatest places to call home.

Avatar photo
About Brian Pho

Brian is a freelance writer and journalist with a passion for technology, gadgets and home innovations, a love for travel and a keen interest in anything that moves, whether it's cars, planes or yachts. Learn more about Luxatic's Editorial Process.

Leave a Comment