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What Is The Best Place To Live In America? Pros And Cons For All 50 States

September 1st, 2012

Michael Snyder: If you could live in any state in America, where would you go?  During troubled times like these, what is the best place in the United States to live?  A lot of people are asking these kinds of questions these days.  Our economy is on the verge of collapse, natural disasters are becoming more frequent and more intense, the U.S. population is becoming angrier and more frustrated by the day, our government has become incredibly oppressive and controlling, war could break out at any time and evidence that society is breaking down is all around us.  As our world becomes increasingly unstable, many families are considering moving somewhere else.  But what areas are best and what areas should be avoided?  Is there really a “best place to live” in America?  Well, the truth is that each family is facing a different set of circumstances.  If you have a great support system where you live, it can be really tough to pick up and move 3000 miles away from that support system.  If you have a great job where you live now, it can be really tough to move some place where there may be no job at all for you.  But without a doubt there are some areas of the country that will be far better off than others in the event of a major economic collapse.  This article will take a look at each of the 50 U.S. states and will list some of the pros and cons for moving to each one.

Not all of the factors listed below will be important to you, and a few have even been thrown in for humor.  But if you are thinking of moving in the near future hopefully this list will give you some food for thought.

A few years ago when my wife and I were living near Washington D.C. we knew that we wanted a change and we went through this kind of a process.  We literally evaluated areas from coast to coast.  In the end, we found a place that is absolutely perfect for us.  But different things are important to different people.

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And if I gave your particular state a low rating, please don’t think that I am trashing the entire state or all of the people who live there.

For example, there are some absolutely wonderful people that live in the state of California, and there are some areas of California that I would not mind visiting at all.  But for the times that are coming I am convinced that it is going to be a really bad place to live.

Not that I have all the answers either.  Hopefully this article can get some debates started, and hopefully those debates will help people that are thinking of moving to another state to be more informed.

The following are some pros and cons for all 50 states….

Alabama

Pros: warm weather, southern hospitality, relatively low population density

Cons: hurricanes, tornadoes, crime, not enough jobs, multiple nuclear power plants, rampant poverty

Overall Rating: C+

Alaska

Pros: great fishing, lots of empty space, low population density, great for rugged individualists

Cons: very high cost of living, earthquakes, volcanoes, extremely cold, short growing season, too much snow, potentially cut off from supplies from the lower 48 states during an emergency situation

Overall Rating: B

Arizona

Pros: warm weather

Cons: illegal immigration, wildfires, return of dust bowl conditions, not enough jobs, not enough rain, multiple nuclear power plants, crime, gang violence, Phoenix

Overall Rating: D+

Arkansas

Pros: southern hospitality, warm weather, Ozark National Forest

Cons: tornadoes, Clintons, New Madrid fault zone, multiple nuclear power plants, crime, rampant poverty

Overall Rating: C

California

Pros: Disneyland, warm weather, Malibu

Cons: high taxes, Jerry Brown, earthquakes, mudslides, wildfires, gang violence, crime, traffic, rampant poverty, insane politicians, ridiculous regulations, bad schools, political correctness, illegal immigration, not enough jobs, air pollution, multiple nuclear power plants, possible tsunami threat along the coast, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Stockton, Sacramento, huge drug problem, high population density, the state government is broke, many more reasons to leave California right here

Overall Rating: F

Colorado

Pros: Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs

Cons: wildfires, illegal immigration, short growing season, not enough rain, too much snow, huge drug problem

Overall Rating: B

Connecticut

Pros: beautiful homes

Cons: high taxes, insane politicians, ridiculous regulations, political correctness, short growing season, multiple nuclear power plants, high population density

Overall Rating: C-

Delaware

Pros: good fishing

Cons: Joe Biden, political correctness, ridiculous regulations, insane politicians, crime, high population density

Overall Rating: D

Florida

Pros: University of Florida Gators, oranges, low taxes, southern hospitality, Disneyworld, Gainesville, warm weather, beautiful beaches, Daytona

Cons: hurricanes, most of the state is barely above sea level, high population density, not enough jobs, multiple nuclear power plants, crime, gang violence, illegal immigration

Overall Rating: C

Georgia

Pros: peaches, southern hospitality, warm weather

Cons: not enough jobs, multiple nuclear power plants, crime, gang violence, flesh eating disease, Atlanta

Overall Rating: B-

Hawaii

Pros: awesome beaches, warm weather, great vacation destination

Cons: vulnerable to tsunamis, very high cost of living, volcanoes, traffic, high population density, high taxes

Overall Rating: C-

Idaho

Pros: awesome people live there, great potatoes, low population density, high concentration of liberty-minded individuals, low crime, Sandpoint, Coeur d’Alene, north Idaho has plenty of water compared to the rest of the interior West, beautiful scenery

Cons: cold in the winter, wildfires, short growing season, not enough jobs

Overall Rating: A

Illinois

Pros: once you get away from Chicago things are not quite so bad

Cons: Barack Obama, drought, New Madrid fault zone, high population density, political correctness, ridiculous regulations, insane politicians, crime, gang violence, Chicago, East St. Louis, not enough jobs, multiple nuclear power plants, mob robberies, the state government is drowning in debt

Overall Rating: D-

Indiana

Pros: it is in better shape than Illinois, good farming, high Amish population

Cons: drought, tornadoes, the city of Gary, relatively high population density, near the New Madrid fault zone, a “rust belt” state

Overall Rating: C-

Iowa

Pros: low population density, low crime, good farming

Cons: drought, tornadoes, cold in the winter, multiple nuclear power plants, too much snow, very flat

Overall Rating: B-

Kansas

Pros: low population density, low crime, good farming

Cons: drought, tornadoes, return of dust bowl conditions, very flat

Overall Rating: B

Kentucky

Pros: southern hospitality, great horses, Lexington

Cons: New Madrid fault zone, not enough jobs, rampant poverty, Louisville

Overall Rating: C

Louisiana

Pros: southern hospitality, warm weather

Cons: hurricanes, New Orleans, not enough jobs, tornadoes, multiple nuclear power plants, oil spills, crime, gang violence, rampant poverty

Overall Rating: D

Maine

Pros: low population density, low crime, polite people

Cons: extremely cold, short growing season, political correctness, ridiculous regulations, insane politicians, too much snow

Overall Rating: B-

Maryland

Pros: the Washington Redskins play there

Cons: Baltimore, borders Washington D.C., high population density, really bad traffic, political correctness, ridiculous regulations, insane politicians, multiple nuclear power plants, crime, gang violence

Overall Rating: C-

Massachusetts

Pros: beautiful homes

Cons: high taxes, political correctness, ridiculous regulations, insane politicians, high population density, short growing season, almost everything is illegal in Massachusetts

Overall Rating: D+

Michigan

Pros: once you get away from Detroit and Flint things get better

Cons: Detroit, Flint, Dearborn, extremely cold, short growing season, political correctness, ridiculous regulations, insane politicians, not enough jobs, multiple nuclear power plants, too much snow, a “rust belt” state

Overall Rating: D-

Minnesota

Pros: land of 10,000 lakes

Cons: extremely cold, short growing season, multiple nuclear power plants, too much snow, high taxes

Overall Rating: C

Mississippi

Pros: southern hospitality, relatively low population density, warm weather

Cons: hurricanes, tornadoes, not enough jobs, rampant poverty, crime

Overall Rating: C+

Missouri

Pros: good farming, Branson

Cons: drought, tornadoes, New Madrid fault zone, not enough jobs, crime

Overall Rating: C

Montana

Pros: low population density, low taxes, high concentration of liberty-minded individuals, Missoula, Kalispell

Cons: extremely cold in the winter, wildfires, short growing season, not enough rain, near Yellowstone super volcano, rampant poverty, too much snow

Overall Rating: B+

Nebraska

Pros: low population density, good farming

Cons: tornadoes, drought, multiple nuclear power plants, cold in the winter, very flat

Overall Rating: B

Nevada

Pros: low population density, lots of empty space, low taxes, warm weather

Cons: Harry Reid, Las Vegas, Reno, not enough water, not enough rain, wildfires, hard to grow food, not enough jobs, crime, gang violence, huge drug problem, Yucca Mountain

Overall Rating: D+

New Hampshire

Pros: low crime, beautiful homes

Cons: extremely cold, short growing season, political correctness, ridiculous regulations, insane politicians, too much snow

Overall Rating: C

New Jersey

Pros: anyone got something?

Cons: high population density, Camden, Newark, not enough jobs, multiple nuclear power plants, Atlantic City, crime, gang violence

Overall Rating: D-

New Mexico

Pros: low population density, warm weather

Cons: illegal immigration, wildfires, return of dust bowl conditions, not enough jobs, not enough rain, crime, gang violence, huge drug problem

Overall Rating: C-

New York

Pros: the entire state is not like New York City

Cons: New York City, Mayor Bloomberg, high taxes, cold in the winter, high population density, political correctness, ridiculous regulations, insane politicians, not enough jobs, multiple nuclear power plants, the “too big to fail” banks

Overall Rating: D

North Carolina

Pros: southern hospitality, warm weather, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Cons: hurricanes, not enough jobs, multiple nuclear power plants

Overall Rating: B

North Dakota

Pros: low crime, lots of oil-related jobs, low population density

Cons: extremely cold, short growing season, too much snow

Overall Rating: B

Ohio

Pros: the Cincinnati Reds, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, high Amish population

Cons: not enough jobs, cold in the winter, multiple nuclear power plants, high population density, Toledo, Cleveland, a “rust belt” state

Overall Rating: C

Oklahoma

Pros: warm weather, good farming

Cons: drought, tornadoes, wildfires, return of dust bowl conditions, not enough rain, crime, Oklahoma City, rampant poverty

Overall Rating: C

Oregon

Pros: tremendous natural beauty

Cons: high taxes, Portland, political correctness, ridiculous regulations, insane politicians, not enough jobs, huge drug problem, possible tsunami threat along the coast

Overall Rating: C-

Pennsylvania

Pros: high Amish population

Cons: high population density, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, not enough jobs, multiple nuclear power plants, a “rust belt” state

Overall Rating: C

Rhode Island

Pros: so small that most people don’t notice their problems

Cons: the state is flat broke, short growing season, political correctness, ridiculous regulations, insane politicians, not enough jobs, high population density

Overall Rating: D+

South Carolina

Pros: southern hospitality, warm weather, Myrtle Beach

Cons: hurricanes, not enough jobs, multiple nuclear power plants, crime, gang violence, rampant poverty

Overall Rating: B

South Dakota

Pros: low population density, fun tourist traps, the Badlands, Mount Rushmore

Cons: extremely cold, short growing season, very flat, too much snow

Overall Rating: B

Tennessee

Pros: Nashville, Michael W. Smith, southern hospitality, warm weather, Gatlinburg

Cons: Memphis, New Madrid fault zone, multiple nuclear power plants, crime, gang violence, rampant poverty

Overall Rating: B-

Texas

Pros: low taxes, warm weather, Austin

Cons: drought, illegal immigration, tornadoes, wildfires, West Nile Virus, the Dallas Cowboys, return of dust bowl conditions, speed traps, not enough rain, multiple nuclear power plants, George W. Bush, crime

Overall Rating: B-

Utah

Pros: beautiful mountains, low crime, low population density

Cons: cold in the winter, wildfires, Salt Lake City, short growing season, not enough rain, illegal to collect rain

Overall Rating: B-

Vermont

Pros: low crime, beautiful homes

Cons: cold in the winter, insane politicians, ridiculous regulations, short growing season, political correctness, not enough jobs, too much snow

Overall Rating: C

Virginia

Pros: the University of Virginia, southern hospitality, Charlottesville

Cons: borders Washington D.C., high population density, multiple nuclear power plants, Richmond, really bad traffic in northern Virginia

Overall Rating: B-

Washington

Pros: the eastern half of the state is quite nice and much different from the coast

Cons: way too much rain along the coast, volcanoes, wildfires, insane politicians, ridiculous regulations, political correctness, not enough jobs, possible tsunami threat along the coast, Seattle

Overall Rating: C

West Virginia

Pros: beautiful mountains

Cons: not enough jobs, rampant poverty

Overall Rating: B

Wisconsin

Pros: cheese, the Green Bay Packers

Cons: extremely cold, short growing season, multiple nuclear power plants, too much snow,

Overall Rating: B-

Wyoming

Pros: low population density, lots of empty space, low taxes

Cons: extremely cold, too windy, too flat, wildfires, short growing season, not enough rain, Yellowstone super volcano

Overall Rating: B-

What do you think of these rankings?

What do you think is the best place to live in America?

Do you have any additional pros and cons that should be added to this list?

Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….

Written By Michael Snyder

Michael has an undergraduate degree in Commerce from the University of Virginia and a law degree from the University of Florida law school.   He also has an LLM from the University of Florida law school. Michael has worked for some of the largest law firms in Washington D.C., but now is mostly focus on trying to make a difference in the world.


Economy, Education



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Comments



  1. September 9th, 2012 at 12:14 | #1

    I lived in N.J. for 44yrs. Except when i lived in charlottesville V.A. yes went to Uva. it was a wonderful small city. N.j. does have the best fishing around! which is why you see it in field and stream all the time! also we are the garden state!we also have some of the best wrestling in the country!! yes all the cons are true and then some! and then even more! but for the most part the people are good people. enjoyed your article thanks.

  2. Harlan
    September 7th, 2012 at 20:39 | #2

    Michael – There is an outstanding book called “Strategic Relocation” (North American Guide to Safe Places) 3rd edition written by Joel Skousen and his son Andrew. It is a monumental work that took him 30 years to complete. Each state and the Provinces of Canada are rated by 17 categories as well as a 2 page write up with other pertinent information. An expensive book but worth every penny. I notices you gave the Eastern states a higher score overall while he gave the Western states a higher score. You can find him at his web site Joel@SurvivalCache.com. You both agreed on several states.

  3. Swabbie Robbie
    September 7th, 2012 at 16:01 | #3

    Wisconsin still has a lot of family farming, a lot of organic farming – dairy and market vegetable gardening. It has abundant forest lands that would provide lumber and firewood. The is abundant deer and small game and lots of fishing. All things important in a collapse scenario.

    The cons include the high population centers of Milwaukee and up the Lake Michigan coast, the People’s Republic of Madison home of the insane politicians, political correctness and regulation. And the Twin cities of Minnesota. In a collapse all of these population centers would pour refugees through-out the state as nowhere is really beyond a full tank of gas or two.

    Some negatives you generally place for states can really be a Pro. In Wisconsin we do get a lot of snow and very cold winters (last winter being atypical). There has always been a saying: “30 below sends the riff-raff south”.

    No matter where you live, I think a key to survival is family and support network in community.

  4. michael c
    September 7th, 2012 at 14:26 | #4

    I noticed that “cold in the winter” is stated for many northern states but none of the southern have “hot in the summer”. I guess air conditioning won’t be hurt by lack of electricity. Everyone can garden in 100 degree heat.

  5. Kev
    September 6th, 2012 at 16:27 | #5

    Yaaaaa noooo… the person who did this most likely has not visited all 50 stats and this is the most poorly written critique i have ever seen… its fucking retarded how you think you can grade each state and have the time to do so… many things are just copied… all in all just a stupid fucking topic from an obviously stupid fucking person who thinks they are a know-it-all.

  6. lee
    September 6th, 2012 at 16:01 | #6

    kentucky largest cave system in the world.
    most river and creeks in the u.s.
    most distilers of hard liquer in the u.s.
    low population.
    largest elk heard east of mississippi.
    low ax rate.
    yes, everyone has a gun.
    ALLWAYS A RED STATE.

  7. STW
    September 6th, 2012 at 15:08 | #7

    I find it amusing that the Yellowstone super volcano is cited as a negative for only a couple of states when, in truth, if it blows as it has in the past almost every state down wind will be impacted to some degree, many severely. Also glossed over is the fact that it has blown only three times in the last 2 million years. I acknowledge that the average is every 640,000 years and it has been about 640,000 years since the last one. However a miss by even 0.5% gives us a 3200 year window. Large enough to not be a component in my planning. Even a 0.05% shift means my great grand children will never have to worry about their great grand children being impacted.

  8. D
    September 6th, 2012 at 14:45 | #8

    Washington state has presence of shipbuilding and nuclear powered sub fleet which will necessitate it being an obvious target in the event of nuclear strike.

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