10 Best and Worst States to Make a Living

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Budget Savvy Diva loves not only to give you the best deal news AND freebies but also what is happening in your store that can affect YOU!

The job market is finally picking up some steam, providing hope to long-suffering job seekers everywhere. I know many of my readers who have lost their job with this recession — coupons have really been a lifesaver đŸ™‚
But where is the country is the best place to work — and be able to keep the money you earn ( this is the most important) – So Budget Savvy Diva has put together the 10 best places to be living right now and the 10 worst places to make a living – please comment on what you think or your experiences?
Where are the best and worst places to make a living?1. Illinois: The adjusted average income is $41,987, thanks to reasonably high average wages, relatively low state income taxes and a reasonable cost of living.
2. Washington (state): The cost of living is higher than average, but so is the average wage and the state imposes no income tax. Adjusted average income: $41,456.
3. Texas: Also benefits from no state income tax. Adjusted average income: $41,427
4. Virginia: $41,120
5. Delaware: $39,105
6. Massachusetts: $38,665
7. Georgia: $38,228
8. Tennessee: $38,038
9. Colorado: $38,020
10. Minnesota: $37,721

Where are the worst states to make a living?

1. Hawaii: $22,108
2. Maine: $29,159
3. Montana: $29,496
4. California: $29,772
5. Vermont: $29,986
6. Oregon: $30,343
7. Rhode Island: $30,612
8. Mississippi: $30,953
9. West Virginia: 31,357
10. South Carolina: $31,636

Thanks! Yahoo News for the Stats


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  • RB

    I would tend to think that a list of the best states to live in is not necessarily accurate, because it is based on averages and generally speaking the cost of living/employment situation in larger cities tends to be drastically different from the rest of the state. For example, in Illinois (which is at the top of this list), there is a pretty big disparity between Chicago and some of the smaller cities and rural towns. Incomes in Chicago tend to be a bit higher than average, but the cost of living is also quite high, and the cost of good is REALLY high. I am speaking as someone who lived in Chicago for many years, and now lives in New York City, and yes, I think in some categories the cost of living in Chicago is higher than Brooklyn, NY, with the notable exceptions of rental rates and health insurance. Same thing with the whole NYC metro area- salaries tend to be much higher than the rest of the state, but the cost of living is off the charts. I think in order to really evaluate how good a particular state or city is in terms of how it is to make a living you need to evaluate it taking into account other basic costs, such as housing, food prices, cost of health insurance, costs of transportation/fuel, unemployment rates etc. Based on my experiences living in an urban part of Illinois, as well as other cities in other states, I would say that Illinois comes out average in terms of salary vs. cost of living. It’s ok, but it isn’t amazing.

    • Sarina F.

      Illinois cannot POSSIBLY be the best. I live there and you’ll be lucky to find a job the job market is so bad. I’m trying to get out of this state since I know I’ll never find a job once I get my degree; just finding an hourly was hard! Don’t even get me started on the state aid…

  • joy

    SC can’t be the worst – cost of living is very nice here – right now we have the cheapest gas in the nation. yes, income is a little lower than some states, but so are the prices of stuff. Much cheaper here than a lot of places. Have read a lot of recent studies saying SC is good place to live, cheap to live, etc etc.

  • malia k.

    I’m not exactly sure how accurate this poll is. We are currently moving to Illinois from the state of Utah and I’d have to say that cost of living is NOT reasonable in that Illinois. The study didn’t show the insane property taxes that they collect each year – – you are talking upwards of $10k – $25k PER YEAR for property taxes alone. Insane. I’ve lived in Hawaii and California where the cost of living is supposed to be higher, and even with the raised real estate prices, Illinois is still killing the competition with the crazy property taxes. Think about it – – that bill, alone, is enough to double or triple your mortgage each month. You need a seriously good job in Illinois if you’re going to survive the crazy monthly bills!

  • Shandy

    Kinda surprised North Dakota wasn’t on the list for good place to make a living, seeing as how there is an extreme demand for high paying jobs and it has the lowest unemployment rate in the whole United States, because of the oil boom. I guess the high cost of living and the housing shortage probably effected it.

  • Amanda G.

    I live in Austin Texas and the job market is GREAT out here, cost of living is great for the most part. Downtown runs the same prices as Manhattan and there are a few hot spots and places to defiantly avoid but its way better than anywhere else I’ve been. I see everyone out here hiring like crazy, huge computer market out here. The only thing we miss out here is double couponing. Randall’s is the only place in Austin (and its VERY select for doubling) and the nearest Kmart, Kroger and Albertsons is two hours away. Austin is the only place worth living in Texas.

  • Katherine

    lol…I live in WA and maybe this is opinion only…but most people I know either can’t find work, can’t pay their bills, can’t afford gas (among highest in lower 48) or food…half of people I know who can find work can’t find more then part time at min. wage. Yeah, so we pay 9.04 an hour min. wage…if you’re lucky to get 20 hours a week…and with heavy competition. I’m going back to school to try and get a better chance at finding work personally. I’m guessing it’s easier to scrape survival by here but I’m also guessing it’s more expensive to live in this state then most people think.

    • Tina

      I agree with Katherine as I’m one of the ones who can’t find work. The also don’t take into account that there are actually two Washington states – one on the east side of the mountains and one on the west. Not only are the climates extremely different, so are the costs of living, unemployment rates, etc. You can’t average our state and be accurate.

      So no, WA should not be second.

  • Anon

    Wow, where did you get your info from?! I’ve lived in 3 of the states you added to your list, and I gotta tell ya, your WAY off! Illinois, I ALWAYS had to pay state taxes there/ Chicagoland to Rockford is expensive & crime/unemployment is always rising. Washington, I don’t know how one can afford to live there!? 1 hour away from Seattle & you still pay $850-975 for a 1 bedroom apt that includes nothing. Plus, as already mentioned, you CAN’T find a job unless your in the Computer world. S.Carolina, never had to pay in state taxes, while attending college I always could find a job & right outta school found one without a problem. Plus, the weather, history & people always made it great. I could see the back country towns not being a place to live, but most there, have NO desire to leave.

  • Kimberly

    I lived in Illinois for 16 years right after we moved the income tax tripled but property taxes didn’t. The medical cost in Illinois is very high and the good doctors are going to other states because the amount it cost them for liability insurance from so many people suing in the state. I would not agree that Illinois is the best place to live.