You probably know that there are plenty of challenges to making a living in today’s economy. What you may not know is how significantly the place you live can impact some of those challenges.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average wages range from a low of $33,930 in Mississippi to a high of $53,700 in Massachusetts. Unemployment rates range from a low of 3.3 percent in North Dakota, to a high of 12.6 percent in Nevada. Tax rates and cost of living also vary greatly by state. So are some states really better for making a living than others?
For the second year in a row, MoneyRates.com has calculated a list of the best and worst states to make a living. See the report here. The process factors in each state’s average income, state tax rate, cost of living and unemployment rate to create an adjusted average income figure that serves as the basis for these rankings.
In a separate article, you can find the 10 best states to make a living in 2012. MoneyRates.com’s 10 worst states to make a living for 2012 include Maine at No. 2, just behind Hawaii:
2. Maine (Average income: $29,703)
Another repeater in its position from last year, Maine suffers from a combination of below-average incomes with above-average cost of living. It also doesn’t help that it has one of the highest state tax rates. Maine also ranked eighth among the 10 worst states in which to retire, according to MoneyRates.
One of the harshest climates in the nation, along with a low life expectancy for seniors, were leading factors in putting Maine on this list, despite the fact that the state does have a very low overall crime rate, MoneyRates stated.
3. Vermont (Average income: $30,433)
This state slipped a bit, from fifth-worst last year, despite improving its adjusted average income figure. The problem is, some of the states around it in the rankings improved their performance even more significantly.
6. Rhode Island (Average income: $31,353)
Not all New England states fared badly—Massachusetts actually made the list of 10 best states to make a living for the second year in a row—but Rhode Island joins Maine and Vermont on the worst list. High levels of unemployment and cost of living are the chief problems here.
Massachusetts, where Mitt Romney served as governor, made the Top 10 for Best States to Make a Living. Average income in Massachusetts is $38,793.