Taking a look at household incomes now.  Maryland is #1 with $70,000 for median household. Not surprising, a wealth of politicians and lawyers, MD surrounds DC on 3 sides.  Alaska number 2.  Arkansas and Kentucky came in at the bottom at 40/41,000 so they they are out.  But they are not that much worse off than say #38 Florida at 44,500.

Michigan, one of the only states to have continued decline in population.  Real house hold incomes have dropped $13,000 over the past 13 years.  I think that trend is turning around and Michigan will turn up soon for better times, but for now it’s out.  It’s being renovated as young artists move in for the cheap urban options, as a state I see a lot of potential, but their political leadership is still lacking. Wisconsin is out too, the weather is not ideal, incomes are falling quick.  It is not doing well in any metric and holds middle of the pack.

This is a neat paper that shows jobs added/lost from end of financial crisis to 2014.  North Dakota’s bombing oil business #1.  I’ve already eliminated the bottom 9 on this list.  Ohio and Florida are #41 an #40 and would be next.  The interesting thing from this list is only 17 of 50 states have positive job growth since 2007-14.

North Dakota, Texas, Utah, Colorado are leading in job creation (Alaska and West Virginia too, but previously eliminated)  The great job growth numbers comes primarily from the high energy prices post-recession, these are shale states with oil or coal extraction too.  As oil prices plummet in 2015 the stellar trend in job creation is unlikely to continue with the same vigor.

30 states left and there is no more low hanging fruit.  Hard choices to make.  North Dakota is out.  I have a lot of respect for this state, they have the only publicly owned bank in the country, they led the way out of the recession and saw a 28% increase in employment when the national average was .2% and the next closest state was ~15%.  But it’s just too cold, too barren, geographically uninteresting.

Other states eliminated for having not a single warm spot: Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming. However, I like the freedom and resiliency of all 4 of these states.  North Dakota’s motto, “Liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable.”  I think socially and politically I would get along with these people the most.  Beautiful parks and forest land are abundant.  Wyoming has one of the lowest percents of people using 30% of their income on housing, means affordable housing.  They’ve experiences the smallest shrink in the middle class that has effected every part of the country. (Cool Graph) Wyoming has a growing wind power generation field, several large distributors are moving there for the cheap costs of energy and the cool summer temperatures bringing data storage facilities and data centers.

The weather isn’t the only factor, low population is a problem here, it is nice to meet people build relationships and if you have kids they would need to have friends.  The biggest town in Wyoming is 62,000 people.  The city I live in now has 3.4 million people and to put that in perspective, the sum total of the populations of Montana, ND, SD, and Wyoming is 3.2 million.

Really and truly I think these 4 are great states, and they are undervalued because of their climate.  But their fundamentals a great.  They are the only states to see inflation adjusted median incomes RISE when the rest of the country is falling. Even Texas, and the California tech bubble have declining inflation adjusted wages 2000-2013.  If I ever had to move to a cabin in the woods, or if I ever have a divorce and decided I wanted to live alone, or start raising bison, or drill for oil this is where you would find me.

If temperature wasn’t important, I would move here quick, but I want to potentially have a garden.

I was having trouble finding a state break down of violent crime (murder, burglary, rape).  I guess city to city is a more precise method.  I think a whole state analysis gives you and idea of how common crime is, the attitude toward crime, etc.  I used data from 2012 and 2013.  The national violent crime average was 380 per 100,000 people.  Only two states that scored 50% higher than the national average Nevada and Tennessee.   Nevada I’m happy to see go, but Tennessee is a low cost of living state with a lot of beauty and potential.  Louisiana and South Caroline have high numbers too, South Carolina’s crime spiked a lot in 2012, and in 2013 it declined 10% to a more reasonable number, but Louisiana’s trend line is going up.  Louisiana is out, also because of flood worries, + hurricanes.

States with the lowest crime are in order from lowest: Virginia, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Minnesota.   Alabama and South Carolina are not looking so good…

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I’m starting to understand that every state provides different benefits, so what appeals to everyone is different. I really think if I was living alone I would try to end up in the northern midwest, there is a lot of opportunity and potential there.  If global warming keeps continues these are going to be nice places to live, that will attract more people and with them better transportation and connectivity.


Revisited the top 10 worst states for Taxes, I’ve eliminated all of them except Minnesota…hmmmmm.  Alabama and South Carolina had a bit of a crime problem and a poverty problem.  Alabama more so, consider it removed.

Found a Human Development score that went by states.  Old data but it is covers a lot of areas like education, life span, healthcare, earnings.  A quote from the report really made me understand some of the hardships in the poorest states.

“Residents of Mississippi have life spans and earnings on par with those of the typical American in the late 1980s.”

I really want to get rid of Idaho but I can’t, Boise has an acceptable climate and the state itself is pretty good.

19 states left.  I’m actually not sure how to refine my criteria at this point.  I’ve eliminated low wage states, states with high poverty, states that need large amounts of government aid, states that overly restrict 2nd amendment rights, states that are too cold, states that are too hot, isolated states, states with high crime, states with poor post recession job growth, states with poor human development scores.

Within states laws, and growth, taxes vary city to city as well.  But this gives me a good outline of states I would not be completely happy with.