The 20 Worst States to Live in America (2023)

The 20 Worst States to Live in America (1)

The U.S. ranks at position 20 internationally in quality-of-life measures. However, policies and programs contribute to significantly different experiences across the states in the U.S. every year.

World Reports and U.S. News release the best state rankings to indicate how each state performs on measures that affect the quality of life. The metrics used include; education, healthcare, infrastructure, financial stability, crime rates, opportunity, and natural environment.

The worst states offer the worst quality of life for their residents. So, which are the worst states in 2022? Here is an exclusive review of the 20 worst states to live in in 2022.

The 20 Worst States to Live in America (2)

Table of Contents show

20. Indiana – Healthcare, Climate

Despite the low percentage of poverty, Indiana is one of the worst states to live in the U.S., as suggested by other factors. The state ranks 48th in public healthcare spending per capita, with each individual granted just $55 per year.

Indiana is also among the top ten states in the U.S. regarding high smoking rates and obesity, with many adults reporting that they take little to no exercise.

This has undoubtedly attributed to lower life expectancy (77.1 years) than the national average of 79.2 years. The extreme temperatures here also influenced its worst ranking. Indiana experiences hot and humid summers and damp, chilly winters with a significant cloud cover.

The 20 Worst States to Live in America (3)

19. Tennessee – Crime Rate, Healthcare

Tennessee is famous for its iconic smoky mountains, delicious chicken, and country music. However, the state has a wrong side that makes it a bad state to live in.

It has among the worst crime rates in the U.S., ranking third highest in robbery, rape, severe assault, and murder. Regarding health metrics, Tennessee has the 6th lowest life expectancy in the country at 76.2 years.

Its general population health is also low, with the state having among the highest smoking, obesity, and low exercise levels. The state has a poverty level of 15.3%, one of the highest in the nation.

The 20 Worst States to Live in America (4)

(Video) Top 10 WORST STATES to Live in America for 2022

18. Texas – Voting Rights, Inclusiveness

Texas is highly popular for its massive strength as a perfect place for business. However, the state frequently tries to outdo itself with exclusive regulations and laws.

It’s among the few states with no laws that protect against discrimination in public accommodations. The democrats in Texas successfully turned down a bill that would restrict voting further while it’s already one of the problematic states to vote.

The governor and legislators are advancing a special session to enact the registration. The Democratic lawmakers went out of the state to hold the process down and attract national attention.

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17. Delaware – Health Resources

Recent statistics reveal that Delaware citizens are more likely to be unhealthy than in other states. According to U.S. News, the state has an average life expectancy of 78.6 years which is several months lesser than the national average.

More so, with a poverty level of 12.5%, lower than the national figure, a relative number of Delaware residents are not financially secure.

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16. Pennsylvania – Healthcare, Education

Pennsylvania is another state that ranks poorly in terms of education and health. Only 31.8% of residents in Pennsylvania have a bachelor’s degree, with the national average being 32.6%.

Also, the average life expectancy at birth in Pennsylvania is 78.2 years which is a year less than the country’s average of 79.1 years. Adults with a degree are highly likely to lead healthier lifestyles and have better health outcomes.

The state’s lower education attainment might be linked to the lower-than-average life expectancy. In terms of population growth, Pennsylvania experienced a 1.6% population increase over the last ten years, significantly lower than the 6.6% nationwide population increase.

The slow population growth shows that the state is a less desirable place to live compared to its neighboring states.

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15. Florida – Unemployment, Education

Compared to average Americans, Floridians have less probability of having a college education. They are also more likely to go through severe financial difficulties. Just 30.4% of residents in Florida have a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to the national average of 32.6%.

The state has a poverty level of 13.6%, which is higher than the country average of 13.1%. These are some of the factors that make Florida among the worst states.

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14. Idaho – Education, Health

Idaho gets to the list of the worst states to live in, mainly for its low education levels. The state has the lowest bachelor’s degree completion rates nationwide at only 27.7%, compared to a country average of 32.6%.

(Video) Top 10 Worst States to Live in America in 2022.

Lower education levels are typically associated with an unhealthy lifestyle and low earnings. But despite the low bachelor’s degree attainment rate, Idaho has a poverty percentage of 11.8, which is relatively lower than the average 13.6 % throughout the country.

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13. South Carolina – Crime, Education Level

Next on the list is South Carolina, highly attributed to its shortcoming in education and high crime rates. The state’s school is lower than the Country’s high school graduation rates and K-12 performance measures (81% to 85%).

It is also said to have the worst poverty gap, increasing the difference in education quality between wealthy and poor students.

South Carolina ranks among the highest in violent crimes, with the country’s 5tth highest homicide rate and a 10% higher juvenile incarceration than the national average. The assaults and murder rates have been increasing steadily since 2016.

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12. Maine – Health, Education Level

Maine ranks the lowest among the states in the New England region. It’s the only state in New England with a lower bachelor’s degree attainment rate than the country’s average.

Only 31.5% of Maine’s residents have completed college, which is lower than the national average of 32.6%. The lower education levels have also been attributed to the higher unhealthy lifestyle and lower life expectancy than any other state in New England.

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11. Louisiana – Food Insecurity, Crime, Education

Louisiana has been one of the worst states in the U.S. since 2017. it has low performances across all measurement statistics, particularly education and crime. Education and employment opportunities in Louisiana are among the worst in the country.

According to World Population Review, Louisiana has a 19% poverty level, contributing to the highest food insecurity. Additionally, criminal justice and crime rates are severe concerns in Louisiana.

The state ranks top in the country for homicide, with a rate of 15.8 murders per 100,000 people, with Missouri coming second at 11.8 homicides per 100,000. Louisiana also has the highest incarceration rate, with 680 incarcerated individuals per 100,000.

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10. New Mexico – Education, Health, Poverty Level

New Mexico is among the worst states in the U.S., mainly attributed to opportunity and education metrics. The state’s education system ranks last in the country.

According to EdWeek Research Center, the state’s public schools rank worst in the nation. Only less than 75% of the New Mexican students graduate from high school, which is relatively lower than the national average of 85.8%.

New Mexico has a high poverty level of 17%, which gives it one of the lowest opportunity metrics. More so, about 26% of kids live below the poverty line, which is the highest level in the country.

(Video) Top 10 WORST CITIES To Live In America For 2023

The 20 Worst States to Live in America (13)

9. Alaska – Crime, Economy, Unemployment

Alaska has fallen further into the rankings, slightly worse in 2022 than in the previous years. The state’s economy is 50th in the country, from 46th in 2019.

This is partly attributed to the Corona pandemic, which hurt the state’s heavy dependence on tourism and oil. According to statistics by the Alaskan Department of Labor, the state is behind the national average in unemployment, job creation, and wage growth. Alaska also led the country in violent crime rates.

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8. Arkansas – Crime, Healthcare

Next on our list of the worst states to live in 2022 is Arkansas, mainly due to crime rates and healthcare concerns. The state’s healthcare access, particularly dental care, is ranked among the worst in the U.S. Residents have one of the lowest rates of dental visits, with a significant percent avoiding healthcare because of high cost.

This state also has the second highest rates of cardiovascular disease and tobacco use. with high rates of economic hardship and low education levels. According to The Sentencing Project, it’s no surprise that Arkansas has the fourth highest violent crime and incarceration rate.

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7. Nevada – Poor Healthcare, Low Education Levels

Lower education is often associated with lower life quality. Only a quarter of the population in Nevada has attained a bachelor’s degree.

However, lower education cannot make Nevada the worst state to live in on its own. Its public health spending and allocation of hospital resources have contributed to its inclusion on the list. Nevada ranks worst in primary care doctors per capita and spends the lowest inhabitant’s health per person per year at $50.

11.2% of the state’s residents don’t have health insurance, resulting in a lower life expectancy. Nevada has had among the highest unemployment rates in the nation for years. However, at 12.9%, the poverty rate is relatively lower than in several states.

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6. Arizona – Air Quality, Crime

Arizona is a beautiful state for outdoor enthusiasts to settle. It features several natural wonders like the Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon, and Monument Valley.

However, appearances can sometimes be deceiving, and Arizona is among the worst locations to live in 2022. While we can’t overlook the natural sceneries, overcrowded cities such as Phoenix leads to one of the worst air qualities compared to other states.

This, combined with insufficient public health funding, is the worst news for people with respiratory issues. Arizona also has an above-average poverty rate of 14%.

During the summer, using an air conditioner becomes a necessity, resulting in a massive energy bill that many people cannot afford. Some residents living in poverty enter into crime to pay the expenses. This puts the state in the 10th ranking on the worst violent crime rate in the nation.

The 20 Worst States to Live in America (17)

(Video) 12 worst states to live in America

5. West Virginia – Infrastructure, Economy, Healthcare

West Virginia is another low-ranking, worse state to live in, which is significantly contributed by its poor economy, infrastructure, and healthcare statistics.

The state has one of the worst unfractured systems in the country, with about a third of the roads in poor condition. The rates West Virginia with a grade of D, showing that the state systems are at risk, with most elements reaching the edge of their service life.

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4. Oklahoma – Health Resources, Poverty

Analyzing the general health of a state’s population can help you decide if it’s an excellent place to live or not. Unluckily, these statistics indicate that Oklahoma is one of the worst states in the U.S. to live in.

According to, around 14.2% of Oklahomans have no insurance, making the state to have one of the lowest inurement rates in the country. This, together with the poverty level of 5.6%, makes the state one of the worst. It’s not surprising that life expectancy is one of the lowest.

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3. Kentucky – Healthcare, Financial Instability

While Kentucky performs well in terms of infrastructure, low crime rate, and opportunity metrics, its healthcare concerns and fiscal instability overshadow some of these strengths.

Kentucky performs poorly in various health metrics, including high levels of preventable hospitalization, low childhood immunization rate, and people’s habits. The state is second in a high rate of sleep deprivation and smoking while ranking last in exercising and consuming vegetables and fruit.

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2. Mississippi – Childcare, Health, Unemployment, Food Insecurity

Mississippi has maintained its spot as the second worst state in the U.S. since 2017 due to its poor performance across numerous metrics. Mississippi ranks last on the Economic Hardship Index.

About 19% of Mississippi residents live on or below the poverty line. The state has a per capita income of $25,300, the lowest in the country.

The food insecurity and unemployment levels in the state are also the worst. Regarding healthcare, Mississippi ranks the worst with the highest rate of obesity, cesarean delivery, infant mortality, preterm birth, and low birth weight.

About a fifth of Mississippi residents have no health insurance, with fifteen percent claiming to avoid going for healthcare because of financial issues.

The 20 Worst States to Live in America (21)

1. Alabama – Healthcare, Education, Inclusiveness

Alabama is the worst in 2022, with poverty rates at around 16.8%. According to the agency, most households earn less than $50,000 annually, below the $62,000 national average annual earning.

The poverty levels also account for low education standards, with just 25.5% of Alabama having attained a bachelor’s degree or more. Low income and lack of education mean more probability of poor lifestyle choices such as unhealthy food.

(Video) Top 10 WORST STATES to Live in America for 2021

The state has a life expectancy of 71.4, about four years less than the national average. More so, Alabama is among the few states without legal protection against discrimination for non-disabled citizens, which makes life much more challenging for minorities.

You can also read:

  • The 10 Worst U.S. States to Retire In
  • The 10 Worst States for Allergies in the U.S.


What is the hardest state to live in financially? ›

Hawaii ranks as the worst of all states for making a living. Why? Cost of living is the main issue. Hawaii has the highest cost of living of any state.

What is the #1 best state to live in? ›

▲ Overall RankStateOpportunities
3South Dakota2
4New Hampshire13
40 more rows
Jan 12, 2023

What is the lamest state to live in? ›

What are the 10 worst states to live in 2022?
  • Oklahoma. USAT.
  • South Carolina. USAT. ...
  • Missouri. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) ...
  • Louisiana. USAT. ...
  • New Mexico. USAT. ...
  • Indiana. USAT. ...
  • Tennessee. USAT. ...
  • Nevada. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. Life, Health Exclusion Score: 110 out of 325 points, Grade: F.
Sep 22, 2022

What is the least desirable state to live in? ›

America's least popular states

The two lowest-rated states were Alabama (38%) and Mississippi (38%), which often rank low in other assessments of income and health care access.

What is the best state to make a living? ›

This statistic shows the best states to make living in the United States in 2019. In 2019, Wyoming was ranked as the best state to make a living in the United States, with the cost of living index at 90.5 value and the median income of 40,240 U.S. dollars.

Which state has best value of money? ›

This includes the cost of living, which varies widely from one to another and also regionally.
  • Ohio. #1 in Affordability. ...
  • Oklahoma. #2 in Affordability. ...
  • Michigan. #3 in Affordability. ...
  • Iowa. #4 in Affordability. ...
  • Missouri. ...
  • Indiana. ...
  • Arkansas. ...
  • West Virginia.

What is the most stressful state to live in? ›

(FOX5) - A new report found that Nevada ranks as the most stressful state in the country.
Nevada ranked as #1 most stressful state, study says
  • Nevada.
  • Mississippi.
  • West Virginia.
  • Louisiana.
  • North Carolina.
  • Oklahoma.
  • Arkansas.
  • Alabama.
Feb 20, 2023

What is the kindest state? ›

Minnesota takes top spot, thanks to its extraordinarily friendly residents. It's called 'Minnesota Nice' for a reason – the atmosphere in the Twin Cities and beyond is hard to match, with a homey feel and locals who go the extra mile to welcome tourists.

What is the unhappiest state? ›

These are the five unhappiest states, according to the ranking:
  • Alabama.
  • Louisiana.
  • Kentucky.
  • Mississippi.
  • Arkansas.
  • West Virginia.
Oct 15, 2022

Which states do people not want to live in? ›

The States American Want To Live In The Least (And The Most)
RankStatePopulation Change Percentage
2West Virginia-0.76%
4New York-0.45%
47 more rows
Aug 24, 2022

What is the least stressful state to live in? ›

Top 10 least stressful states
  • South Dakota.
  • Wisconsin.
  • New Hampshire.
  • Hawaii.
  • North Dakota.
  • Massachusetts.
  • Nebraska.
  • New Jersey.
Mar 29, 2022

What is a cheap good state to live? ›

13 Cheapest States to Live in for 2023
  • Mississippi.
  • Oklahoma.
  • Kansas.
  • Alabama.
  • Georgia.
  • Ohio.
  • Iowa.
  • West Virginia.
Feb 2, 2023

Where are people not moving to? ›

The 10 least popular states to move to in 2022:

New York. Connecticut. Utah. Maryland.

What is the least friendly state in the US? ›

What to Know
  • New York is the least friendly state in the entire country, according to an annual ranking from a global travel website released Monday.
  • New Jersey didn't fare much better (46) and actually appeared to get a harsher critique than its dead-last counterpart across the river.
  • Minnesota ranked first overall.
Aug 19, 2019

What is the easiest state to get rich in? ›

Some states make it easier to build and protect wealth than others.
10 best states for being rich in 2019.
StateOverall Rank
New Hampshire2
46 more rows
Jul 27, 2022

Which state has the happiest residents? ›

WalletHub this week released its "Happiest States in America" list for 2022, ranking Hawaii as No. 1.

What state has most job opportunities? ›

1. Alaska
  • Average job openings rate: 9.00%
  • Average hire rate: 6.17%
  • Average monthly job openings: 31,000.
  • Average monthly hires: 19,333.
  • Average monthly employment: 313,514.
Jan 3, 2023

What is the 2 cheapest state to live in? ›

2. Kansas. The great state of Kansas is the second cheapest state to live in with a score of 86.5. Housing is particularly affordable, coming in as the third-cheapest housing costs in the nation with the median cost of a single-family home at around $176,898.

Which state has the cheapest housing? ›

No. 1 cheapest state to buy a house in 2022: Iowa

Iowa came in at the top of the list with the lowest average median household income it takes to be able to afford a house. The largest housing markets in the Midwestern state include Des Moines, Iowa City, and Cedar Rapids.

What are the most stressful states in the US? ›

Most Stressed States 2023. There are 9 states that are the most stressed: Alabama, California, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New York and West Virginia.

What is the number 1 stressed out state? ›

Most Stressed States
Overall Rank*StateTotal Score
3New Mexico58.85
4West Virginia57.84
46 more rows
Mar 28, 2022

What age is the most stressed? ›

What age is stress most common? According to the American Psychological Association (APA), people in the 18-33 age group suffer the highest levels of stress in the U.S.

What is the snobbiest state? ›


Who loves their state most? ›

People who live in Montana and Alaska have the most state pride, according to a poll by Gallup.

What is America's friendliest City? ›

1. Savannah, Georgia. Earning the top spot among the friendliest cities in the U.S., Savannah made quite an impression on travelers this past year. It's hard to say what exactly makes the locals here so happy.

Which state are most people leaving? ›

10 States People Are Leaving
  • 1. California. 2021 saw a net loss of over 101 thousand households in California despite a mostly pleasant climate and robust tech industry. ...
  • New York. Moving out of New York has become trendy, it would seem. ...
  • Illinois. ...
  • Pennsylvania. ...
  • Massachusetts. ...
  • Washington. ...
  • Colorado. ...
  • Indiana.
Jan 23, 2023

What state has the least crime? ›

Maine has the lowest number of assaults per capita of any state in the US, as well as the lowest overall violent crime rate and the fourth-lowest property crime rate. Like New Hampshire and Vermont, Maine's homicide rate is maong the lowest in the country.

What is the #1 most miserable city in America? ›

Based on the data, the U.S. city with the most depression is Billings, Montana. CEUFast says about 31% of residents out of a population of 181,000 have been told they're depressed by a professional.

What state has the healthiest people? ›

Top 5 Healthiest States
  1. Hawaii. Hawaii's score: 0 out of 100. ...
  2. Utah. Utah's score: 0.60 out of 100. ...
  3. Minnesota. Minnesota's score: 1.11 out of 100. ...
  4. 4. California. California's score: 3.02 out of 100. ...
  5. Massachusetts. Massachusetts' score: 4.52 out of 100.
Jan 17, 2023

What is the happiest place in America? ›

Happiest Cities in the U.S.
Overall RankCityTotal Score
1Fremont, CA76.10
2San Jose, CA70.35
3Madison, WI69.72
4Overland Park, KS68.93
61 more rows
Feb 28, 2023

Which states are people leaving? ›

California, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, and New York were at the top of the list of states people are leaving.

What state is everyone moving to? ›

More people moved to Florida than any other state in the country in 2022, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors. The Sunshine State saw the highest net domestic migration gains last year, with its population growing by 1.9 percent.

What is the easiest state to live in financially? ›

1. Mississippi. Mississippi is the cheapest place to live in the United States, with a cost of living 15.6% lower than the national average.

What state makes the least money? ›

Two states, Georgia and Wyoming, have a minimum wage below $7.25 per hour. Both Georgia and Wyoming's minimum wage is $5.15 per hour.

What state has lowest average income? ›

The states with the highest median household income are Maryland, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. The states with the lowest median household income are Mississippi, West Virginia, and Arkansas.

What state is the cheapest to buy a house? ›

1. Iowa. Iowa came in at the top of our list of the most affordable homes in America. It takes a mere 10.6 percent of the median household income to afford a home in the Hawkeye State.

What state has no income tax? ›

Eight states have no personal income tax, including Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. The states with the highest total sales taxes include Tennessee 9.55%, Louisiana 9.52%, Arkansas 9.51%, Washington 9.23%, and Alabama 9.22%.

What is the most broke state in the US? ›

In 2020, the federal state of California had about 519.54 billion U.S. dollars of debt outstanding, the most out of any state.
StateDebt in billion U.S. dollars
New York368.28
9 more rows
Oct 21, 2022

What are the most problematic states? ›

Most Sinful States in the U.S.
Overall Rank*StateGreed
35 more rows
Feb 14, 2023

What countries do we owe the most to? ›

Top Foreign Owners of US National Debt
  • Japan. $1,082.2. 14.88%
  • China. $870. 11.96%
  • United Kingdom. $645.8. 8.88%
  • Belgium. $332.9. 4.58%
  • Luxembourg. $312.9. 4.3%

What are the top 10 poorest states? ›

These states and territories have the highest percentages of poverty in the country: Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arkansas, West Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, the District of Columbia, South Carolina, and Oklahoma.

What is the lowest pay per hour? ›

The federal minimum wage for covered nonexempt employees is $7.25 per hour. Many states also have minimum wage laws. In cases where an employee is subject to both the state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher of the two minimum wages.

What state has the highest hourly wage? ›

Washington, D.C. boasts the nation's highest minimum wage at $16.10 an hour, according to the Department of Labor. But if we're getting technical, the northwest state of Washington has the highest consolidated state minimum wage in the U.S. at $14.49 an hour.

Which state is not poor? ›

Thus, we can say that Kerala in India has the lowest poverty ratio. NVS TGT 3rd Language Teacher & North-Eastern Results Out on 23rd Jan 2023. NVS TGT Result & Interview Schedule Out! NVS TGT Answer Key was released for the exam held from 28th November to 30th November 2022.

Which state pays the most? ›

Massachusetts has the highest average salary in the country.


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