Top 10 Best & Worst States In America To Make A Living In 2015

by Banks.com Contributor

While you are responsible for making smart money choices wherever you go, location can still play a major role when it comes to your finances.

The mainstream media often discusses the economy on a national scale – but America is more like a collection of 50 mini-economies, with conditions that vary from state to state. Some states have stronger job markets, while others have higher average incomes. When you account for taxes and the cost of living, you realize that a dollar earned here is different from a dollar earned there.

MoneyRates.com conducted a study to determine which states have the best (and worst) environments for workers. The study focuses on 5 major factors: average wages, state tax rates, cost of living*, unemployment rates, and instances of workplace injuries/illness.

Texas tops the list of best states to make a living in 2015. In Texas, average wages are slightly above the national average, the cost of living is low, and there is no state income tax. Furthermore, Texas ranks 2nd for states with the fewest instances of workplace injuries/illness.

Hawaii comes in last, ranking at #50 as the worst state to make a living in 2015. This is mainly because Hawaii has the highest cost of living in the country, and yet wages are only average. Hawaii also has one of the highest state income tax rates. When you consider the cost of living and taxes, workers in Hawaii only get to keep about $0.55 out of every dollar they earn.

Here are more results from the study:

10 Best States To Make A Living

1. Texas
Average income – $45,330
State income tax – None
Cost of living – Below average (92.4*)
Unemployment rate – 4.2%
Work incidents – 2.7 per 100 workers

2. Washington
Average income – $52,540
State income tax – None
Cost of living – Slightly above average (104.1*)
Unemployment rate – 5.5%
Work incidents – 4.9 per 100 workers

3. Wyoming
Average income – $44,930
State income tax – None
Cost of living – Below average (92.7*)
Unemployment rate – 4.1%
Work incidents – 3.5 per 100 workers

4. Virginia
Average income – $50,750
State tax on average income – $2,660.63 (rates range 2% to 5.75%)
Cost of living – Average (99.7*)
Unemployment rate – 4.8%
Work incidents – 2.9 per 100 workers

5. Illinois
Average income – $48,780
State tax on average income – $1,749.56 (3.75% tax rate)
Cost of living – Slightly below average (96.3*)
Unemployment rate – 6.0%
Work incidents – 3.5 per 100 workers

6. Michigan
Average income – $45,140
State tax on average income – $1,918.45 (4.25% tax rate)
Cost of living – Below average (90.9*)
Unemployment rate – 5.4%
Work incidents – 3.8 per 100 workers

7. Colorado
Average income – $49,860
State tax on average income – $2,308.52 (4.63% tax rate)
Cost of living – Slightly above average (102.2*)
Unemployment rate – 4.2%
Work incidents – 3.7 per 100 workers

8. Delaware
Average income – $49,520
State tax on average income – $2,361.86 (rates range 2.2% to 6.6%)
Cost of living – Slightly above average (103.1*)
Unemployment rate – 4.5%
Work incidents – 3.0 per 100 workers

9. Ohio
Average income – $43,900
State tax on average income – $1,072.57 (rates range 0.53% to 5.33%)
Cost of living – Below average (93.0*)
Unemployment rate – 5.2%
Work incidents – 3.0 per 100 workers

10. Utah
Average income – $43,550
State tax on average income – $2,177.50 (5% tax rate)
Cost of living – Below average (91.2*)
Unemployment rate – 3.4%
Work incidents – 3.4 per 100 workers


RELATED: Top 10 Best & Worst Cities To Start Your Career In 2015


10 Worst States To Make A Living

1. Hawaii
Average income – $46,230
State tax on average income – $3,073.77 (rates range 1.4% to 11%)
Cost of living – Above average (170.8*)
Unemployment rate – 4.1%
Work incidents – 3.8 per 100 workers

2. Oregon
Average income – $46,850
State tax on average income – $3,981.50 (rates range 5% to 9.9%)
Cost of living – Above average (128.5*)
Unemployment rate – 5.2%
Work incidents – 4.1 per 100 workers

3. Maine
Average income – $42,140
State tax on average income – $2,709.16 (rates range 6.5% to 7.95%)
Cost of living – Above average (115.8*)
Unemployment rate – 4.7%
Work incidents – 5.3 per 100 workers

4. West Virginia
Average income – $37,880
State tax on average income – $1,479.60 (rates range 3% to 6.5%)
Cost of living – Slightly above average (104.8*)
Unemployment rate – 7.0%
Work incidents – 3.8 per 100 workers

5. Vermont
Average income – $44,540
State tax on average income – $1,829.47 (rates range 3.55% to 8.95%)
Cost of living – Above average (123.6*)
Unemployment rate – 3.6%
Work incidents – 5.3 per 100 workers

6. California
Average income – $53,890
State tax on average income – $2,523.00 (rates range 1% to 13.3%)
Cost of living – Above average (138.2*)
Unemployment rate – 6.3%
Work incidents – 4.0 per 100 workers

7. Montana
Average income – $39,880
State tax on average income – $2,208.72 (rates range 1% to 6.9%)
Cost of living – Slightly above average (102.1*)
Unemployment rate – 4.0%
Work incidents – 4.8 per 100 workers

8. South Dakota
Average income – $37,300
State income tax – None
Cost of living – Slightly above average (101.3*)
Unemployment rate – 3.6%
Work incidents – 3.7 per 100 workers

9. Rhode Island
Average income – $49,570
State tax on average income – $1,858.88 (rates range 3.75% to 5.99%)
Cost of living – Above average (123.3*)
Unemployment rate – 6.1%
Work incidents – 3.7 per 100 workers

10. Connecticut
Average income – $55,060
State tax on average income – $2,578.30 (rates range 3% to 6.7%)
Cost of living – Above average (134.7*)
Unemployment rate – 6.3%
Work incidents – 4.1 per 100 workers

 

* Based on the “Cost of Living Index” from the Council for Community and Economic Research. The nationwide average equals 100, and each index is read as a percentage of the national average. The index compares prices at a single point in time – it does not measure inflation.

 

SOURCE: MoneyRates.com