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Top 10 States to Make a Living

Washington is the top state to relocate to, according to a survey by MoneyRates.com [1]. The annual survey [2] looked at which were the best states to make a living based on a number of factors ranging from median income and tax burden to the unemployment rate and work-related injuries and illnesses.

The personal finance site looked at data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Tax Foundation, and the Council for Community and Economic Research, which was then processed through a MoneyRates.com’s formula to get a uniform number for each indicator.

The median wage in each state was adjusted for cost of living and state taxes. That number, in turn, was adjusted again to factor in the chances of being unemployed and suffering a workplace-related injury or illness in each state. The result was an adjusted compensation figure for each state that was used to determine the rankings.

With an overall score of 107.1 and a median income of $44,440, Washington got the top spot in the rankings. This, despite high housing and living costs as well as an unemployment rate that’s higher than the national average. The fact that it is one of the nine states that does not tax wage income helped as did that it has the fourth highest median income in the country.

Colorado, which was ranked second on this list had an overall score of 98.1 with a median income of $40,880 and a tax burden of 4.63 percent. A high employment rate and a median wage that was higher than most other states tipped the scales in favor of the Centennial State.

Texas moved up one slot from last year to No. 3 this year thanks to being a combination of one of the ten cheapest states to live in with no tax on wage income. “As a result, paychecks stretch a little further in Texas,” MoneyRates.com said. Texas had an overall score of 91.2 and a lower median wage of $36,170.

Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, North Dakota, Illinois, Missouri, and Virginia rounded off the top 10 states to make a living.

When it came to the worst states, Hawaii topped the list despite having one of the highest median incomes in the country. California, with its overpriced housing markets and the high cost of living, joined Hawaii on this list despite high median incomes. Oregon, South Carolina, West Virginia, Montana, Maine, Vermont, South Dakota, New York, and Alaska were also among the worst states to make a living.