- No state is perfect – no matter how much you love it.
- For example, Iowa may have been ranked the overall best state by US News, but it’s not without problems. It isn’t the most innovative state, and has the fewest environmentally-friendly buildings per capita in the US.
- While the flaws range from minor (too many hipsters) to major (a high rate of drug overdoses), every state has something they can work on.
State pride is important. Almost everyone feels some sort of attachment towards their home, but the truth is that every place – yes, even your favourite – has at least one compromising quality that makes it sort of the worst.
From the outrageously miserable winters in Minnesota to crumbling streets in Vermont, keep reading to discover the worst thing about living in each state.
ALABAMA: It’s home to “the worst poverty in the developed world.”
Per Advance Local, U.N. Rapporteur Philip Alston was specifically concerned with an outbreak of hookworm in Alabama in 2017, a disease that tends to only be found in nations with substandard sanitary conditions.”I think it’s very uncommon in the First World,” he said.
ALASKA: Alcohol misuse is rampant.
According to a 2018 article in the Alaska Epidemiology Bulletin,almost half of the Alaska children in “out of home placements” or foster care were from homes with reported parental or guardian alcohol abuse.
Additionally, 47,427 alcohol-attributable criminal justice convictions occurred in Alaska between 2006 and 2016, and of those convictions, 85% were for intoxicated driving.
ARIZONA: Teacher turnover rates are high.
WalletHub placed Arizona dead last in its annual rankings for the best and worst states in which to be a teacher, citing the state’s low public-school spending per student, the high pupil-to-teacher ratio, and high teacher turnover rates.
ARKANSAS: A low percentage of residents hold graduate degrees.
Per Forbes, Arkansas has the lowest percentage of graduate degree holders in 2018, compared to any other state.
CALIFORNIA: The air and water quality are low.
According to a 2018 study conducted by U.S. News, Californians’ “quality of life” is worse than any other states’. The study judged states on a variety of factors, including infrastructure, air quality, voter participation, drinking water quality, social support, and more.
COLORADO: Altitude sickness is a doozy.
Not only is Colorado a high altitude state, it’s dry, too, which means that anyone who’s sensitive to the elevation and thin air is in for a world of headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and more while in The Centennial State.
CONNECTICUT: Income inequality is alive and thriving.
According to a 2017 report from global charity Oxfam, approximately 82% of the wealth generated in the world in 2016 went to the richest 1% of people on the planet; however, this disparity also afflicts America.
Zippa looked at data from the American Community Survey to determine which states in the US showcased the highest level of income inequality, and Connecticut topped the list, coming in second only to New York.
DELAWARE: Seeing a movie is a bit of a chore.
A 2018 Wallethub report – which ranked the most and least fun states in America by looking at factors such as number of attractions, cost of beer and wine, access to national parks, and more – not only ranked Delaware the worst state in the country for nightlife, but also the state with the least movie theatres per capita. Cinephiles, steer clear.
FLORIDA: Drug overdoses are common.
According to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, opioid overdoses claim the lives of 15 Floridians a day. Bondi announced in May 2018 that she was suing the largest opioid drugmakers and distributors in the nation as a result.
In 2016, nearly 1,700 people died of opioid overdoses in South Florida alone.
GEORGIA: Traffic can be a nightmare.
According to a study from the American Transportation Research Institute, the country’s worst traffic bottleneck for trucks is in Atlanta, Georgia. Formally called Tom Moreland Interchange, the infamous interchange is commonly referred to as “Spaghetti Junction,” because the average vehicle moves at less than 20 mph during the peak of afternoon rush hour.
HAWAII: Taxpayer returns on investments are terrible.
According to a WalletHub study released in April 2018,Hawaii ranked 50th out of 50 for taxpayer return on investment in 2018. The study took 25 metrics into account, and considered the quality of services residents in each of the 50 states received within five categories – education, health, safety, economy, and infrastructure & pollution – to construct their rankings.
IDAHO: Working mums have it rough.
After factoring in 15 separate metrics, a 2018 Wallethub study designated Idaho as the worst state in the country for working mums.
“Idaho has not evolved as many other states have in terms of supporting women in the workforce. If you look at our businesses, if you look at our legislature, if you look at a lot of industries that are prevalent in Idaho, there are a lot of men,” Beth Oppenheimer, the Executive Director of Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children, told KTVB.
ILLINOIS: Residents have the highest tax burden.
Illinois has the highest overall tax burden in the US, according to a 2018 report by Wallethub, which stated that the average household in Illinois pays $US8,162 in state and local taxes annually.
INDIANA: There’s a shortage of mental health professionals.
Per Mental Health America, Indiana consistently ranks as one of the “most miserable” states in the US – which could partially be the result of the shortage of mental health professionals in the state to help citizens gain access to mental healthcare.
IOWA: Innovation isn’t Iowa’s strong suit.
According to a Forbes ranking of the states, Iowa placed number 44 of 50 in terms of innovation, due to a low share of science and engineering grads, average annual federal small business funding, and share of tech companies.
Additionally, its LEED-certified buildings are few and far between, as the state has the lowest number of LEED-certified buildings per capita in the US.
KANSAS: The scenery is pretty bland.
A 2013 poll conducted by Business Insider and SurveyMonkey Audience demonstrated that Americans think that Kansas’ scenery is the ugliest out of all 50 states.
KENTUCKY: Retirement isn’t so sweet.
In their 2018 study, Wallethub designated Kentucky as the worst state in the nation in which to retire, based on a variety of factors such as cost of in-home services, taxpayer rankings, percentage of workforce aged 65 or over, and more.
LOUISIANA: The foodscape isn’t the healthiest.
Of all the 50 states, Louisiana is the one with the worst diet, according to a 2018 report released by 24/7 Wall Street.
Their research demonstrates that only 69% of Louisiana adults reported eating vegetables at least once a day, which is well below the national share of 77.9%; additionally, the state leads the nation in obesity ratings of 36.2%.
MAINE: It’s an expensive place to live.
According to a 2018 report by MoneyRates.com, Maine has the fourth-largest tax burden of all 50 states, and a cost of living that is nearly 14% above the national average.
MARYLAND: Driving is an ordeal.
A 2018 report released by WalletHub dubbed Maryland the third-worst state to drive in, due to a variety of factors such as average gas prices, share of rush-hour traffic congestion, and overall road quality.
MASSACHUSETTS: Happy hour specials are illegal.
Back in 1984, Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to ban “happy hour” in a bid to reduce drunk driving incidents; now, the state is known for its assortment of laws in place to prevent you from capitalising on alcohol promotions.
You can’t order more than two drinks at once, either (so no buying your group of friends a round), and some liquor stores only accept Massachusetts IDs when selling alcohol.
MICHIGAN: The state’s integrity score is low.
The Center for Public Integrity gave Michigan an “F” rating on state integrity in 2015, based on Michigan’s low rankings for transparency and accountability in regards to the laws and systems it has in place in order to deter corruption.
MINNESOTA: The winters are devastating.
Minnesota is known for its horrific winters – the Twin Cities even have a “Winter Misery Index,” presumably so that residents can determine whether their current winter-misery outstrips the woes of awful winters past – which is perhaps why Thrillist announced their belief that Minnesota has the worst winter in the entire US.
MISSISSIPPI: Many adults forgo having health care.
The U.S. News and World Report ranked Mississippi the worst state for health care in its annual review of the best states in the country in 2018. According to the data, 19% of Mississippi adults go without health care specifically due to cost.
MISSOURI: Tornadoes are a frequent occurrence.
US Tornadoes reports that Missouri is one of the top 10 states with the highest frequency of tornadoes. It’s part of Tornado Alley, a term for the area of the US that’s famous for the amount of tornadoes it sees.
Weather.com tracked the amount of violent tornadoes that each state has had since 1950, and Missouri came in at number six, with 41 violent tornadoes in the past 70 years.
MONTANA: Driving is basically an extreme sport.
24/7 Wall Street released a study that revealed that Montana is the most unsafe state to drive in. The state has 22.6 road deaths per 100,000 deaths, which is unusually high.
Montana also has a significantly lower usage rate of seat belts – the national rate is 87%, while Montana’s is just 74%.
NEBRASKA: Drunk driving is relatively common.
CBS News reports that Nebraska has the fourth-highest prevalence of drunk drivers, with 832 out of 1,000 residents admitting to driving while intoxicated.
NEVADA: The divorce rate is through the roof.
Nevada is known for quickie marriages and elopements (specifically Las Vegas), so it shouldn’t come as a shock that divorces are quite common as well.
According to 24/7 Wall Street, Nevada has the third-highest divorce rate, with 21.3 per 1,000 married people getting divorced.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Students graduate with a large amount of debt.
New Hampshire students had the highest amount of debt after graduating college according to US News’ rankings of best states for higher education.
Not surprisingly, it was at the bottom of the list for affordable tuition and fees.
NEW JERSEY: The state is fiscally unstable.
The Mercatus Center at George Mason University ranked all 50 states on how financially sound they were – and put the Garden State in dead last.
While the state is doing relatively well in the short-term, the state’s finances in the long run are described as “dire.”
NEW MEXICO: It’s the worst place to raise kids.
A 2018 study done by Wallethub reported that New Mexico is the worst place to raise a family in the US. The study took different factors into account, such as “Family fun,” “Health and safety,” and “Education and child care.”
New Mexico was ranked last overall, as well as in “Education and child care,” and 49th in “Socioeconomic status.”
NEW YORK: The homeless population is growing.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development released a yearly estimation of the homeless population in every state, where New York state ranked the second-highest, with 399 homeless people per 100,000. New York City itself has the highest homeless population of any city in the entire country.
While the homeless population across the country is trending downward, in New York City it’s the opposite. In 2017, the homeless population increased by 4%.
NORTH CAROLINA: Food insecurity is high.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a state in which “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.”
North Carolina was ranked fifth in food insecurity by US News
NORTH DAKOTA: There’s nowhere to get your car fixed.
According to a 2018 Wallethub study, North Dakota has the fourth-lowest amount of auto-repair shops per capita in the US.
OHIO: It’s the worst state for allergies.
A study done by the Natural Resources Defence Council in 2015 put Ohio at the top of the list of the worst states for allergies and asthma. Seven of the top 35 cities for worst allergies and asthma were in Ohio, more than any other state.
In 2018, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranked the worst cities in the Midwest for allergy sufferers – four out of the top five were located in Ohio. The study used three parameters to measure the amount of people with allergies: pollen score, medication use, and the amount of board-certified allergists per patient.
OKLAHOMA: Public health isn’t the biggest priority.
Oklahoma comes in at number five for worst quality of public health, according to US News. It’s in the bottom 10 for infant mortality, overall mortality, obesity, suicide, and mental health. In fact, the only category in which it’s not in the bottom 10 for its smoking rate (it’s 14th).
OREGON: Serial killers abound.
While you might think of Oregon (or Portland, specifically) as a hipster paradise, which it is, the state has a darker reputation among the true crime community.
According to a study done by 24/7 Wall Street, Oregon has the sixth highest incidence of serial killers per capita. For every one million people, 7.36 are killed by a serial murderer, and there have been 162 serial killings in total.
PENNSYLVANIA: Hitting deer is common.
According to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, the odds of a Pennsylvania resident hitting a deer are 1/70 – and the state had the second most deer-related vehicle accidents in the country.
A report done by State Farm said the odds are actually worse than that – a one in 63 chance. They also reported that the cost of fixing a vehicle after the collision increased from 2016 to 2017 by almost $US200.
RHODE ISLAND: Public transportation is a nightmare.
The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority has a dismal two stars on Yelp. And apparently it’s not without reason – Rhode Island is ranked the single worst state for transportation by US News. It ranked bottom for both bridge and road quality, and in the bottom half for commute time.
SOUTH CAROLINA: The elderly aren’t protected from abuse.
South Carolina was almost rock bottom in a WalletHub study regarding each state’s elder abuse laws. It was number 50 of 51 (the study included DC).
While the state’s protection ranked at number seven, it ranked near the bottom for prevalence and resources.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines elder abuse as “an intentional act, or failure to act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult (someone 60 or older).”
SOUTH DAKOTA: Jail is never fun, but it’s especially terrible here.
According to a US News ranking, South Dakota is second-to-last in terms of quality of corrections facilities.
TENNESSEE: It’s difficult to make a dentist appointment.
Tennessee has the lowest amount of dentists per capita,and one of the highest percentages of elderly residents with no natural teeth, according to a 2018 Wallethub study. It’s near the bottom of the list for overall dental health.
TEXAS: The “American Dream” is probably going to stay a dream.
A study by US News ranked the possibility of achieving the American Dream in each state. Texas ranked 47th, based on ranking economic opportunity, equality, and affordability. In both economic opportunity and equality, Texas came in towards the bottom, and was right in the middle regarding affordability.
Merriam Webster defines the American Dream as “a happy way of living that is thought of by many Americans as something that can be achieved by anyone in the US especially by working hard and becoming successful.”
UTAH: It has the highest incidence of skin cancer.
Even though Utah is completely landlocked, it has the highest incidence of melanoma (skin cancer) in the US – 42.3 of of every 100,000 people are diagnosed.
VERMONT: The infrastructure is crumbling.
The American Society of Civil Engineers ranks every state based on their infrastructure, and gives them a letter grade. Vermont received the barely-passing grade of C overall.
The state’s highest grade was a C+ for how it handles solid waste, it received two Cs for bridge and dam quality respectively, two C- for both drinking water and road quality, and finally a D for waste-water.
VIRGINIA: There’s a high number of hate groups.
Virginia was ranked sixth on a 2018 list of states with the most hate groups, which was compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center. For every one million people, there are 4.4 hate groups, and a total of 37 hate groups.
WASHINGTON: Cars are a hot commodity — to steal.
According to a Wallethub study, Washington ranked the fourth-highest in car theft. Even worse, the problem doesn’t seem to be slowing down. FBI crime statistics reported that from 2015 to 2016, car thefts rose by 20%.
WEST VIRGINIA: There’s nothing to *do*
West Virginia earned the unfortunate title of the least fun state to visit in the United States, according to a 2018 report by WalletHub, which considered factors such as weather, fitness centres per capita, arcades per capita, beach quality, number of state fairs and events per capita.
WISCONSIN: There aren’t many new jobs being created.
Wisconsin tied for last in the amount of jobs created in 10 Midwestern states. According to Politifact, the popular statement of many different Wisconsin politicians that Wisconsin is “dead last” in the Midwest in terms of job growth is “mostly true.”
WYOMING: The vaccination rate is low.
24/7 Wall Street reported that the state of Wyoming had the lowest vaccination rate for DTaP (diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus) in infants with 72.8%.
- Read more:
- The best place to live in every US statelink
- The best thing about living in each state
- Here’s the best small town in every state
- The most boring place to live in every state
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