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The Best States for Millennials to Live

Determining the best states for millennials to live in is not as straightforward as it might at first seem, but signs do point toward the upper Midwest. So says a new report from WalletHub [1] that looks at where being a millennial is most fitting to budgets and lifestyles.

Overall, WalletHub ranked [2] the District of Columbia as the top place for millennials. Washington, D.C., ranked first overall in education and health, quality of life, and civic engagement. It also has the highest percentage of millennials already living there (though the number was not provided) and ranked 16th overall in economic health.

Iowa and West Virginia offer the cheapest housing for millennials, according to WalletHub; Hawaii and California the highest. West Virginia was also second on the list of states with the highest percentage of millennial homeowners.

One of the biggest issues millennials face, of course, is money. “Despite their trillion-dollar purchasing power and higher educational attainment, millennials are economically worse off than their parents,” the report stated. The reasons have to do with the financial crisis a decade ago.

“Millennials have come of age and entered the workforce in the shadow of the Great Recession, which has significantly reduced their job prospects and earning potential for decades to come,” according to the report. “By one estimate, millennials today earn 20 percent less than Baby Boomers did at the same age.”

That makes D.C. a little more of a question mark if money truly is a big concern. Though the district offers the highest average earnings for millennials, it also ranked 43rd overall in affordability.

On the other hand, North Dakota, ranked number two on WalletHub's list, was first overall in affordability and economic health. It also ranked ninth in quality of life, has the second-highest percentage of millennials, and the features lowest rate of unemployed millennials.

Cold climes, in general, ranked high on the list. Minnesota, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Colorado, and South Dakota, in fact, all ranked in the top 10.

Texas, a popular state for millennials to make a home, ranked the second-most-affordable state for young Americans. The tradeoff is that, while the state rated well on quality of life and economic health, it ranked almost at the bottom for civic engagement, education, and health. That said, Texas has the lowest percentage of millennials suffering from depression.