Have you been looking into moving to another state and are wondering which states to move to and maybe which ones to avoid? We have seen massive movement between states since 2020 with some states booming with incoming residents. That movement has been mainly driven by the ability to work remotely and some affordability factors.
CNBC’s annual list of top states for Business has focused particularly on quality of life this year. They looked into factors like crime rate, environmental quality and health care to come up with this ranking. For the first time, they also factored in the availability of childcare and inclusiveness of state laws that are more attractive to potential employees. Research has found many millennial and Gen Z workers will turn down jobs that don’t match their values.
And these are the 10 states they consider as the worst states to live in.
The state of Nevada is actually one of the states that drew in thousands of residents that moved out of California. That is due to affordability and the fact that the biggest city, Las Vegas, is within a few hours of driving distance. What landed Nevada on this list is the shortage of childcare centers and poor air quality. For a state of more than 3 million residents, Nevada only has about 400 licensed childcare centers. That makes it difficult for employees looking to start a family or rejoin the workforce after caring for a child.
Southern Nevada also has poor air quality due to the desert air. Residents of Clark County, the most populous county in Nevada, face more than three weeks of high ozone days per year. On the flip side, Nevada has strong voting rights in inclusiveness laws that might be attractive to those who value those factors. Las Vegas has also been expanding rapidly in the last few years and attracting sporting teams. Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, is also one of the most diverse counties in the country. The Black population in Nevada has grown from 8% in 2010 to 10% in 2020.
Tennessee, and particularly Nashville, has been having a renaissance in the last decade. The state has enjoyed some economic growth and attracted lots of new residents. So what landed Tennessee on this worst list? The state has passed some laws that would be considered not inclusive, specifically to the LGBTQ community. Unlike Nevada, both childcare and air quality are Tennessee’s strengths. On the other hand, the state scores low when it comes to inclusiveness and crime.
African Americans make up the second largest racial group in Tennessee with a population of about one million. The Black population growth has remained flat from 2010 to 2020.
According to Child Care Aware of America, the state of Indiana is one of the worst states in the nation for access to licensed child care. Another reason why Indiana is on this list is that the state spends very little on public health, making access to healthcare challenging. What Indiana has going for it is that the crime rate for the whole state is lower than the national average.
The Black population of Indiana, which is around 650,000, makes up the second biggest racial group and makes up almost 10% of the state. India is also one of the least diverse states in America.
7. New Mexico
The biggest drag on the state of New Mexico is the exceptionally high crime rate the state deals with. New Mexico has the second highest violent crime rate in the nation according to FBI statistics. Bad air quality, poor access to healthcare, and high crime rates make New Mexico one of the worst states to live in. On the positive side, voting rights are pretty strong in New Mexico.
New Mexico is only 2% Black and the number of that Black population has stayed pretty study for years.
No surprise here as Louisiana often appears on worst lists mainly due to the state being one of the unhealthiest states in America. The state has the third highest cholesterol level and the fourth highest rate of premature deaths. The crime rate is also one of the highest in the nation. Ironically, one of Louisiana’s strengths is the availability of health resources, although the effectiveness of those resources are clearly questionable. A third of Louisiana’s population is Black.
If you’re all about voting rights, then moving to Missouri might not be a good idea. This midwestern state passed a law that banned most mail-in voting and added a controversial voter ID provision last year. On the other hand, if childcare is important to you, Missouri has sufficient licensed childcare providers.
Almost 700,000 Black Americans call Missouri home, which makes up 12% of the state’s population. Missouri has seen a small dip in the Black population starting in 2018.
4. South Carolina
What you will find in South Carolina is great air quality that will have you breathing easy. What you won’t find so easily in this state is great health resources. South Carolina has 2.19 hospital beds per 1,000 residents, which ranks the state as one of the worst states to live in. But that’s not all. Weak voting rights and high crime rates make the palmetto state not so desirable.
About 26% of South Carolina is Black and the number of that population has remained steady. One interesting note on this state; while America in general has grown more racially and ethnically diverse, South Carolina has not followed that trend. In 2010, the state was 64.2% White. In 2019, the population was 63.7% white.
Oklahoma is another state with terrible stats when it comes to health. According to data from United Health Foundation, Oklahomans are among the least likely to exercise or eat healthy. If you don’t have pretty good health insurance, moving here will not be a good idea as the state is considered one of the worst for adults without health insurance. The state is also pretty bad when it comes to childhood vaccination rates. Add to that the fact that inclusiveness and voting rights are not what they should be in Oklahoma and you have one of the worst states in America to live in. About 7% of Oklahoma’s population is Black.
Texas will easily be the most controversial state to have on a worst to live in list. It has been a hot destination for both residents and companies to flock to well before 2020 and cities like Austin have been super popular for years. Texas ranks as the number 3 state for net migration of college educated workers behind Florida and Washington according to Census data. So what exactly makes Texas the number 2 worst state to live in?
Texas has limited childcare options and a healthcare system that has been stressed for years. The state also has the highest rate of residents without health insurance. Voting rights have also come under some restrictions in recent years in Texas.
Texas has one of the highest Black populations by numbers at 3.4 million Black residents as of 2020, which has consistently gone up since 2010. That puts the Black population in Texas at 13%.
1. For the number one worst state in America, we have Arizona
This is another controversial pick as Arizona is named the worst state to live in in America by CNBC for several reasons. For one, there are a lot of people that love the hot climate and move to the South West specifically for the warmer climate. Arizona is also a hot retirement destination and offers beautiful scenery along with relatively affordable rent and home prices.
What makes Arizona the number one worst state to live in is the combination of bad air quality and a poor healthcare system that is short on hospital beds and staff. The state only spends $79 per person on public health, which is among the nation’s lowest. Arizona also has higher than average crime rates for the nation. About 5% of the Arizona population is Black, which has seen a significant increase every year since 2017.
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