The Best States For Millennials

by Kathy Morris
Study - 11 months ago

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Working hard or hardly working? Many millennials are working hard, but you couldn’t tell from looking at their bank account. Between rising student debt, stagnant wages, and avocado toast, millennials are struggling.

As a group, 23-38 years old earn less and have less assets than their parents did a generation ago. However, where they live can make a huge difference in their quality of life.

After finding the states where it is worst to be a millennial, we decided to shine some light on states where millennials are thriving.

Below we detail the criteria we used to rank the states and have the full ranked list. But first, let’s see the 10 states where millennials have it the the best.

The 10 Best States For Millennials

  1. Utah
  2. Iowa
  3. Wyoming
  4. North Dakota
  5. Minnesota
  6. New Hampshire
  7. Idaho
  8. South Dakota
  9. Nebraska
  10. Montana

Want to live well as a millennial? Go out west. Of the top 10, only New Hampshire is on a coast. 9-out-of-10 of our results are western states. Low cost of living and high rates of home ownership makes the west a winning place for millennials.

Keep reading to see why these states have the most to offer millennials and to see the full list.

HOW WE DETERMINED THE Best STATES FOR MILLENNIALS

Each state was ranked 1 to 50 in four categories:

  • Millennial Unemployment Rate
  • Average Student Loan Debt
  • Millennial Home Ownership
  • Percent Of Millennials Living In Poverty

All four categories were then averaged together, each weighted equally. The higher score in each category, the lower the rank. For example, 43% of Utah millennials own a home, the highest of any state, earning them a #1 rank for home ownership.

We used the most recent American Community Survey 2013-2017 data from the U.S. Census Bureau to get unemployment rate by state for those 25-34. The ACS data also provided the poverty rate by state for the 25-34 age demographic. To analyze millennial home ownership, we once again used the ACS data to find the percentage of homeowners in the millennial age range by state.

To gather average student loan debt by millennial borrower, we used the most recent report from the US Department Of Education. This one was pretty simple. We simply took the total number of money borrowed by those 25 to 34 and divided by the number of total borrowers.

If your state isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see where it lands on the full list. Otherwise, learn more about why these states are the best place to be a millennial.

1. Utah

georgia
Unemployment: 4%
Home Ownership: 43%
Poverty Rate: 10%
Student Loan Debt: $28,522

Seeing Utah top the list may startle some, but the “Salt Lake State” has a lot to offer millennials. Only 10% of millennials live in poverty there (the best rates in the nation) and they have a substantial chance of being homeowners. It’s not so bad being a millennial in Utah.

2. Iowa

georgia
Unemployment: 4%
Home Ownership: 43%
Poverty Rate: 11%
Student Loan Debt: $29314

Right behind Utah is Iowa. While Iowa may bring to mind cornfields, it’s the #2 best state to be a millennial. Iowan millennials have an 11% poverty rate and are pretty likely to be working, with a millennial unemployment rate of 4%. Both of those factors fuel high homeownership rates.

3. Wyoming

georgia
Unemployment: 4.6%
Home Ownership: 41%
Poverty Rate: 12%
Student Loan Debt: $26,373

At #3, we have Wyoming, a true frontier state. The sparsely populated state is a haven for millennials, with high ownership rates, lowest student debt in the nation, and a below average poverty rate.

4. North Dakota

georgia
Unemployment: 3%
Home Ownership: 36%
Poverty Rate: 10%
Student Loan Debt: $28,173

Which dakota is your favorite? For millennials, the answer should be a resounding North. At #4, North Dakota is a solid place to be a millennial. North Dakota has the lowest rate of millennial unemployment.

5. Minnesota

georgia
Unemployment: 4.5%
Home Ownership: 45%
Poverty Rate: 11.5%
Student Loan Debt: 32,322

Millennials are more likely to own a home in Minnesota than any other state. While 45% may not sound super impressive, when you consider only 23% of Californian millennials are homeowners, it really puts it in perspective. In addition to owning a home, millennials in Minnesota enjoy a low unemployment and lower than average chance of living in poverty.

6. New Hampshire

georgia
Unemployment: 4%
Home Ownership: 37%
Poverty Rate: 10%
Student Loan Debt: $31,736
While New Hampshire comes in at #6, for millennials who love the beach, this coastal state may be a #1. New Hampshire also offers millennials the lowest chance of living in poverty. Which is nice.

7. Idaho

georgia
Unemployment: 5%
Home Ownership: 39%
Poverty Rate: 14%
Student Loan Debt: $28,205
At #7, we have Idaho. The “gem state” may feel like a gem to millennials who live there. They have a decent chance of owning a home and low student loan debt.

8. South Dakota

georgia
Unemployment: 4%
Home Ownership: 42%
Poverty Rate: 16%
Student Loan Debt: $31,034
South Dakota is bordered on all sides by states that are pretty great for millennials. While #8 on the list, South Dakota shouldn’t be overlooked for it’s similarly great neighbors. It still has a lot to offer millennials.

9. Nebraska

georgia
Unemployment: 3.5%
Home Ownership: 38%
Poverty Rate: 13%
Student Loan Debt: 31,995
Nebraska isn’t a bad place to live or work as a millennial. For one, low unemployment mean a higher than average percent of its residents are working. Pair that with a nice home ownership rate and low poverty among millennials, and it is no surprise Nebraska made the list.

10. Montana

georgia
Unemployment: 5%
Home Ownership: 35%
Poverty Rate: 12%
Student Loan Debt: $29,930

Montana is sometimes referred to as “”The Last Best Place”, which seems fitting as we end our top 10. Montana has a lot to offer millennials. The low millennial unemployment and low average student loan debt definitely help millennials thrive.

Summary On The Best States To Be A Millennial

There you have it, the 10 states where millennials have the greatest chance to thrive. The west dominated this list, with high owner rates and low poverty rates pushing most of these states to the top. If your state didn’t make the grade, you can see where it landed below. If you want to learn more about the bottom of the list, check out our article on the worst states to be a millennial.
See Where Your State Fell On The List:

Rank State Unemployment Rate Home Owner Rates Poverty Rate Student Loan Debt Per Borrower
1 Utah 4 43.03% 10 28,522
2 Iowa 4 43.81% 11 29,314
3 Wyoming 4 41.86% 12 26,373
4 North Dakota 2 36.49% 10 28,173
5 Minnesota 4 45.06% 11 32,322
6 New Hampshire 4 37.53% 10 31,736
7 Idaho 5 39.29% 14 28,205
8 South Dakota 4 42.63% 16 31,034
9 Nebraska 3 38.17% 13 31,995
10 Montana 5 35.66% 12 29,930
11 Kansas 4 37.24% 14 30,237
11 Maine 5 41.28% 12 32,087
13 Wisconsin 5 36.3% 14 31,210
14 Indiana 6 40.35% 17 30,626
15 Colorado 5 33.89% 11 33,439
16 Oklahoma 5 37.32% 20 28,644
17 Hawaii 5 21.09% 10 32,038
18 Delaware 6 39.89% 15 34,256
19 Missouri 6 38.23% 17 33,309
20 Vermont 4 34.63% 13 34,482
21 Alaska 7 32.93% 14 29,921
22 Washington 6 30.34% 14 31,937
23 Maryland 6 36.45% 11 39,484
24 Texas 5 31.38% 20 30,240
25 Pennsylvania 6 38.16% 16 35,843
26 Massachusetts 5 29.35% 13 35,279
27 Ohio 6 35.52% 19 33,300
28 Virginia 6 34.05% 13 37,571
28 Arkansas 7 35.39% 21 31,156
30 Arizona 6 32.01% 19 31,824
30 Kentucky 7 38.21% 21 32,291
32 Connecticut 7 33.67% 12 34,292
32 West Virginia 8 41.17% 23 31,486
34 Nevada 7 30.01% 17 30,035
35 New Mexico 8 36.33% 26 28,439
35 Michigan 8 41.4% 18 35,468
37 New Jersey 7 31.04% 13 35,011
38 Oregon 7 28.01% 15 33,419
39 Rhode Island 7 28.61% 16 32,341
40 Illinois 7 35.54% 16 37,470
41 Tennessee 7 35.19% 20 34,283
42 Mississippi 10 37.66% 27 33,261
43 Louisiana 8 37.04% 26 33,860
44 Alabama 8 37.58% 23 34,861
45 California 7 23.43% 17 34,448
45 South Carolina 7 36.74% 22 37,249
47 North Carolina 7 32.7% 20 36,246
48 Florida 7 29.33% 19 35,709
49 New York 7 24.08% 19 38,734
50 Georgia 7 31.61% 20 37,284

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