It should come as no surprise that when Gallup recently conducted a poll asking residents to rank if their state is the "worst possible to live in" a whopping 25% of its residents, by far the most of any states, responded Illinois. Which were the other "worst possible" states? The table below ranks them all.
How about the opposite: the best US states to live in? Here is the full list
in descending order.
And some commentary from Gallup:
Residents of Western and Midwestern states are generally more positive about
their states as places to live. With the exception of the New England states of
New Hampshire and Vermont, all of the top 10 rated states are west of the
Mississippi River. In addition to Montana and Alaska, Utah (70%), Wyoming (69%),
and Colorado (65%) are among the 10 states that residents are most likely to say
their state is among the best places to reside. Most of these states have
relatively low populations, including Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, and Alaska
-- the four states with the smallest populations in the nation. Texas, the
second most populated state, is the major exception to this population
relationship. Although it is difficult to discern what the causal relationship
is between terrain and climate and positive attitudes, many of the top 10 states
are mountainous with cold winters. In fact, the two states most highly rated by
their residents -- Montana and Alaska -- are among not only the nation's coldest
states but also both border Canada.
With the exception of New Mexico, all of the bottom 10 states are either east
of the Mississippi River or border it (Louisiana and Missouri). New Jersey
(28%), Maryland (29%), and Connecticut (31%) join Rhode Island among the bottom
The results are based on a special 50-state Gallup poll conducted
June-December 2013, including interviews with at least 600 residents in every
state. For the first time, Gallup measured whether residents view their states
as "the best possible state to live in," "one of the best possible states to
live in," "as good a state as any to live in," or "the worst possible state to
Few Americans say their states are the single best or worst places to live.
Rather, the large majority of respondents say their states were either "one of
the best" or "as good a state as any" place to live.
One in Four Illinois Residents Say Their State Is the Worst Place
Illinois has the unfortunate distinction of being the state with the highest
percentage of residents who say it is the worst possible place to live. One in
four Illinois residents (25%) say the state is the worst place to live, followed
by 17% each in Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Throughout its history, Illinois has been rocked by high-profile scandals,
investigations, and resignations from Chicago to Springfield and elsewhere
throughout the state. Such scandals may explain why Illinois residents have the
least trust in their state government across all 50 states. Additionally, they
are among the most resentful about the amount they pay in state taxes. These
factors may contribute to an overall low morale for the state's residents.
Texans Most Likely to View the Lone Star State as the Very
Although Texas trails Montana and Alaska in terms of its residents rating it
as the best or one of the best places to live, it edges out Alaska (27%) and
Hawaii (25%) in the percentage of residents who rate it as the single best place
Texans' pride for their state as the single best place to live is not
surprising when viewed in the context of other measures. According to Gallup
Daily tracking for 2013, Texans rank high on standard of living and trust in
their state government, and they are less negative than others are about the
state taxes they pay. The same is true for Alaska and, to a lesser extent,
Hawaii, which had relatively average scores for trust in state government and
state taxes, but ranked high for standard of living. The three also have
distinct histories, geographies, natural resources, and environmental features
that may contribute to residents' personal enjoyment and pride in their
Residents with the most pride in their state as a place to live
generally boast a greater standard of living, higher trust in state
government, and less resentment toward the amount they pay in state
taxes. However, the factors that residents use to determine whether
their state is a great place to live are not always obvious. West Virginia, for
example, falls far behind all other states on a variety of metrics, including
economic confidence, well-being, standard of living, and stress levels. Still,
over a third of West Virginians feel their state is among the best places to
live, giving it a ranking near the middle of the pack.
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