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Salem, Massachusetts
Photograph: Shutterstock Salem, Massachusetts

These are officially the best states to live in for 2023

Here's where you'll find affordability and a better quality of life.

Erika Mailman
Written by
Erika Mailman

Are you getting restless and looking for a new place to live? 2024 could be the year of a big change. After all, there are 50 states to choose from, with such variety that sometimes you might even feel like you’ve relocated to another country. Each year, WalletHub analyzes the states across various metrics corresponding to liveability—the things we want to access and enjoy where we live. Those 51 metrics fell under the categories of affordability, economy, education & health, quality of life and safety.

For instance, under affordability, there were five submetrics including things like median annual property taxes and median annual household income. Whoops, sorry, you caught me yawning. Let’s find some more fun metrics. How about miles of trails for biking and walking per total state land area? Or the number of bars per capita? You may be surprised by some thoughtful data points like the wealth gap (the difference between the highest and lowest quintiles of mean household income—hold on while I look up quintile), the share of live births with low birthweight, and the percentage of physically inactive adults. All very interesting! You will want to consult each of your five quintiles on this.

Before we get to the list, which is really why you’re’re probably scanning past this paragraph right now to find out if your state is in the top 10...let’s instead talk about a few key takeaways. The state with the highest rate of home ownership? That’s West Virginia (the lowest is Rhode Island). Housing costs are lowest in Iowa and highest in Florida. North Dakota came in first under the economy category. California is the least affordable in general, while Alabama is the most affordable. #1 for safety was New Jersey.

We’ve stalled long enough. Drum roll, please. The best state in the whole entire United States starts with an M…




Massachusetts! It won last year, too. It is first this year for education and health and ranked high on all other categories except for affordability where it is #44. Its overall score was 61.67, whereas the score for the second state, New Jersey, was a very close 61.48. Massachusetts is beloved for its sports culture, impressive education offerings (teachers here are paid quite well as compared to other states, as reported by, a beautiful seashore at Cape Cod—and of course the accompanying seafood—and being a state with a lot of historical interest sites.

Last year, New York came in third, but this year that honor goes to another “new” state, New Hampshire (overall score of 59.32), while New York slips to fourth place (59.31). Wyoming is in fifth place (59.16). Last year, Idaho and Virginia were fourth and fifth respectively. Take this all with that proverbial grain of salt: wherever you live is the best state. But just in case you want to be validated, here’s the full list:

1. Massachusetts

2. New Jersey

3. New Hampshire

4. New York

5. Wyoming

6. Florida

7. Virginia

8. Idaho

9. Wisconsin

10. Minnesota

11. Iowa

12. Maine

13. Illinois

14. Pennsylvania

15. Utah

16. North Dakota

17. Vermont

18. Colorado

19. Montana

20. Kansas

21. South Dakota

22. Indiana

23. Nebraska

24. California

25. Michigan

26. Connecticut

27. Maryland

28. Washington

29. Rhode Island

30. Georgia

31. North Carolina

32. Delaware

33. Ohio

34. Missouri

35. Hawai’i

36. Tennessee

37. Texas
38. Oregon
39. Arizona

40. Nevada

41. West Virginia

42. Kentucky

43. Alabama

44. South Carolina

45. Arkansas

46. Oklahoma

47. Mississippi

48. Louisiana

49. Alaska

50. New Mexico

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