10 Best/Worst States For Making a Good Living in 2017

I ran across an interesting article back in June that ranked the 10 best and worst US states to live in for making a good living. I just haven’t had an opening to write about it until now, so here goes.

The survey was conducted by MoneyRates.com and factored in state median salaries, state income tax rates, cost of living and state unemployment rates — based on data from the Labor Department and the Tax Foundation, a non-profit think tank.

Here are the Top 10 states for making a good living as reported in the survey. You may be surprised to learn that eight of the Top 10 states are located in the middle of the country and do not touch the Atlantic or the Pacific oceans

Here are the 10 best states for making a good living, according to the survey, in reverse order.

10. Kansas
Median Annual Income: $34,460
State Income Tax Rate: 3.07%

9. Michigan
Median Annual Income: $36,030
State Income Tax Rate: 3.78%

8. Ohio
Median Annual Income: $35,760
State Income Tax Rate: 1.91%

7. Virginia
Median Annual Income: $39,070
State Income Tax Rate: 4.51%

6. Wyoming
Median Annual Income: $38,710
State Income Tax Rate: 0%

5. Colorado
Median Annual Income: $39,710
State Income Tax Rate: 4.63%

4. Texas
Median Annual Income: $35,480
State Income Tax Rate: 0%

3. Illinois
Median Annual Income: $38,270
State Income Tax Rate: 3.54%

2. Minnesota
Median Annual Income: $40,100
State Income Tax Rate: 4.15%

1. Washington
Median Annual Income: $43,400
State Income Tax Rate: 0%

Obviously, some states in the Top 10 ranking have higher or lower median annual income averages, and some states have higher or lower income tax rates. But when you combine all the factors taken into consideration, as noted above, these are the top states you might want to live in if earning a good living is your top priorty.

As for Texas, my home state, it’s the fourth-best state to make a good living in, according to this survey. Although its 4.6% unemployment rate isn’t spectacular, its cost of living is 9% lower than the national average, and it has no state income tax. No wonder throngs of people are relocating to Texas each month.

Austin, my hometown, has attracted a huge swath of people who moved from other states and cities in recent years. Austin’s population has exploded to over 2.1 million at the end of last year, almost tripling over the last decade from just over 730,000 in 2006. City traffic congestion is among the worst in the country as a result, unfortunately.

I can’t say I am enamored with all the growth in Austin in recent years. Some of the development has been good. But even though we live about 20 miles outside of Austin on beautiful Lake Travis, the traffic on our route to the office has been steadily increasing and is now irritating. But it’s still worth it… so far.

And now let’s take a look at the 10 worst states for making a good living according to the survey, again in reverse order. Hawaii took home the lowest ranking, largely because its cost of living is more than double what the average American pays. It also has the second-highest state income tax, behind only Oregon. California is the second-worst state to make a living in, primarily due to its high cost of living. I’ll spare you the details.

10. Mississippi

9. New York

8. Maine

7. South Carolina

6. Oregon

5. Vermont

4. West Virginia

3. Montana

2. California

1. Hawaii

I suspect that most of my readers are not considering relocating to another state, but I thought you might find this information interesting, as I did. You might want to pass it along to relatives or friends that might be considering making a move.

For those who are considering moving to another state, this information should be very helpful. Feel free to forward this to anyone you think might benefit from it.

As always, I appreciate your comments and suggestions for topics to be covered/addressed in my weekly Blog. I’m always looking for topics to write about that I think will interest you. So please feel free to let me know if something is on your mind. I’ll do my best to look into it and address it, if appropriate. Thanks in advance for your input.

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