What are 2023’s Best States to Live in?

With around 8.6% of Americans having moved last year, slightly more than the previous year, but still below pre-pandemic levels, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2023’s Best States to Live in.

To help Americans settle down in the best and most affordable place possible, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 51 key indicators of livability. They range from housing costs and income growth to the education rate and quality of hospitals.

Living Conditions in California (1=Best; 25=Avg.):

  • 50th – Housing Costs
  • 49th – Homeownership Rate
  • 27th – % of Population in Poverty
  • 1st – Income Growth
  • 21st – % of Insured Population
  • 33rd – % of Adults in Fair or Poor Health
  • 7th – Avg. Weekly Work Hours
  • 1st – Restaurants per Capita

Expert Commentary

What steps should a person take to determine if an area is right for him/her to move to?

“Ideally, that person should do a market analysis of sorts by listing out the most important things to that person and attempting to find the city that has those things. Ultimately, this depends on the person and where that person is in life. A young person might want an area with great job prospects related to that person’s industry of interest and/or other activities that person enjoys. So, beyond work, if that person enjoys the outdoors, then the combination of job and outdoor amenities might be the two most important things on that person’s list. If that person has young children, then schools become another part of the equation. Each step in a personal market analysis to determine whether an area is right for that person comes with additional dimensions. While the process can sort of be linear, it never is because what works now might not work in five years. In terms of pondering steps, where does that person want to be now, in five years, and in ten years? Is there a place that enables them to have that personal growth without moving?”
— Jesse Saginor, Ph.D., AICP – Chair and Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Florida Atlantic University

“Use online resources to research basics like cost-of-living and housing costs in particular, employment opportunities, quality and cost of education and health care, state and local tax policies, climate, and given the recent political polarization in this country, where does the area lie in terms of liberal vs. conservative politics. Plan to visit the area for at least a few days and longer if possible. If you are able to work remotely and a longer stay is possible, that is even better.”
— Alan Weinstein – Professor Emeritus, Cleveland State University

What are the most important financial factors to consider when deciding where to live?

“I tend to focus on the cost of living relative to the employment opportunities available in the area. We have seen dramatic escalations in the cost of living across the nation as a result of increased housing costs. Rising rents as well as increasing home prices have made some areas of the country much less attractive for in-migration. This is particularly true if we are talking about folks who are still working and are in segments of the economy where wages have not moved up at the same pace as the cost of living. In addition to cost-of-living calculators that allow individuals to compare locations to see how much they will need to earn to have a comparable standard of living, there are other tools available that will help them understand what to expect in terms of cost for rental housing and whether market conditions indicate that renting or buying makes more sense. Combining these tools with solid budgeting can help people make better decisions with respect to potential moves.”
— H. Shelton Weeks – Professor; Director of the Lucas Institute for Real Estate Development & Finance, Florida Gulf Coast University

“That varies greatly depending on individual circumstances. For an older retiree, quality or cost of health care, cost of housing for older persons, and local or state tax treatment of retirement income could be most important. For a young family, employment opportunities, housing costs, tax rates on income and housing, and costs for public colleges might be enough.”
— Alan Weinstein – Professor Emeritus, Cleveland State University

What can state policymakers do to attract and retain new residents?

“I think this starts with creating an environment that is business-friendly with a high degree of economic freedom. One of the key lessons that can be learned from the experience of states that have struggled with attracting and retaining residents is that less government intervention in markets is a good thing. For example, many well-intentioned individuals see problems in markets and immediately want the government to intervene to limit increases in rent so that affordability can be maintained. Such moves have been tried before, with terrible outcomes for both tenants and investors. Instead, policymakers should focus on changes that encourage investment and allow markets to respond to changes in the balance of supply and demand. Such policies pave the way for expansion in supply that allows markets to meet the demands of a growing population.”
— H. Shelton Weeks – Professor; Director of the Lucas Institute for Real Estate Development & Finance, Florida Gulf Coast University

“Adopt and maintain policies that: (1) attract new and keep existing employers that offer good-paying jobs with benefits; (2) adequately fund public education from pre-school through post-graduate; (3) adequately maintain and build as needed transportation infrastructure, including public transit where appropriate; and (4) fund governmental services as adequately as possible while holding tax increases as low as possible.”
— Alan Weinstein – Professor Emeritus, Cleveland State University

For the full report, please visit:






Image Sources

  • Surfing: Pexels