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Phoenix, AZ

Revealed: The 10 worst states to live in right now

Guess who scored terribly for crime, inclusiveness and health?

James Wong
Written by
James Wong

Let's be real: The last few years have left Americans feeling particularly stressed out. Covid cases are rising, human rights are compromised, and salaries just aren’t keeping up with inflation. 

And the struggle is extra real for a handful of states deemed the worst places to live in the US according to a study conducted by CNBC which takes into account factors such as environmental quality, crime rates, health care and inclusiveness of state laws in areas like protections against discrimination and voting rights.

Top of the list of worst states to live in is Arizona. Yes, Scottsdale is gorgeous, but when considering the rest of The Grand Canyon State, things are a bit of an... um... tumbleweed. Arizona has the worst air quality in America (according to the American Lung Association), and Phoenix experiences a dangerous 39 high ozone days per year. This is heightened by the fact that the state has the lowest budget for public health, meaning a dire health care system short on hospital beds and staff.

Runner up on the list is Texas. The state that proudly boasts that "everything is bigger" is correct in some dire instances—Texas ranks high for discrimination and big on lack of voting rights. Texas' health care system, a high rate of uninsured people and limited childcare also makes it a terrible place to live.

Oklahoma rounds off the top three. It’s among the unhealthiest states in the nation, with little regard for exercise, fruit or vegetables (according to the United Health Foundation), health insurance or vaccines. Perhaps all that energy is busy being directed at stripping women of rights instead: Oklahoma was the first state to successfully ban abortion since Roe v. Wade.

Numbers four, five and six were South Carolina, Missouri and Louisiana. New Mexico came in at seven with the second highest violent crime rate in America, according to the FBI; and Tennessee made it into number nine (despite having Dollywood) thanks to a series of laws discriminating against the LGBTQ+ community.

Here’s the complete list of top ten worst states to live in:

  1. Arizona
  2. Texas
  3. Oklahoma
  4. South Carolina
  5. Missouri
  6. Louisiana
  7. New Mexico
  8. Indiana
  9. Tennessee
  10. Nevada

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