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slides: New England’s Best States To Make A Living

Thursday, April 04, 2013


How easy it is to make a good living might depend on where you live, and a new ranking from MoneyRates.com reveals which states are the easiest--and toughest--for making a living. Unfortunately, Rhode Island has ended up in the bottom 10 for 2013.

In fact, Rhode Island scored #3 on the 10 Worst States to Make a Living, outdone by only Mississippi (#2 worst) and Hawaii (#1 worst for 3 years in a row). 

Compiling the ranking

Using average wage and unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cost of living figures from C2ER (formerly ACCRA) and state tax information from Tax-Rates.org, MoneyRates.com calculated an average income figure for each state that included adjustments for taxes, inflation and the chances of finding a job in that state. Finally, those figures were furthered adjusted according to each state's Workplace Environment rankings from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index poll.

"Employees in Rhode Island ranked their state dead last for quality of work environment," wrote Richard Barrington of RI's ranking. "Besides getting low marks qualitatively, Rhode Island struggles with two key quantitative issues: a high cost of living and a stubbornly high unemployment rate. At the end of 2012 that unemployment rate was 9.9 percent, the highest of any state."

The Best 10

None of the 10 Best States to Make a Living in 2013 were in New England. Washington led the pack this year at #1, followed by Virginia at #2, Colorado at #3, Texas at #4, and Wyoming at #5. Rounding out the Top 10 were Minnesota (#6), Nebraska, (#7), Utah (#8), Kansas (#9), and Oklahoma (#10).

To see more about the Best and Worst, as well as how all of New England's states did, see below.

Sources: Unemployment rates for February, 2013 from Bureau of Labor Statistics, Median household income 2011 from US Census; Average income tax rates from http://www.tax-rates.org, Work environment rank from Gallup Well-Being Index 2012.

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#6 Rhode Island

National rank: 48

Unemployment rate: 9.4%

Median household income: $53,636

Avg. income tax rate: 4.83%

Work environment rank: 50

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#5 Vermont

National rank: 43

Unemployment rate: 4.4%

Median household income: $52,776

Avg. income tax rate: 7.18%

Work environment rank: 27

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#4 Maine

National rank: 40

Unemployment rate: 7.3%

Median household income: $46,033

Avg. income tax rate: 5.5%

Work environment rank: 7

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#3 Connecticut

National rank: 37

Unemployment rate: 8.0%

Median household income: $65,753

Avg. income tax rate: 4.83%

Work environment rank: 29

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#2 New Hampshire

National rank: 36

Unemployment rate: 5.8%

Median household income: $62,647

Avg. income tax rate: 5%

Work environment rank: 20

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#1 Massachusetts

National rank: 13

Unemployment rate: 6.5%

Median household income: $62,859

Avg. income tax rate: 5.3%
Work environment rank: 22

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Another RI milestone, no leadership, no plan, no way out of this hole.

Comment #1 by Gary Arnold on 2013 04 04

As Gomer Pyle used to say..."Surprise, Surprise, Suprise"

Fellow Rhode Islanders we have another reason NOT to be proud and another reason to use our votes wisely on the next election to rid the S.S. Rhode Island of those pols who take pleasure in trying to throw us back to Feudalism and social servitude.

Comment #2 by Robert Anthony on 2013 04 05

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