These Are The 10 Most Successful States In America

Chris Kolmar
by Chris Kolmar
Rankings - 2 years ago
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Not long ago, we brought you a post with a breakdown of the 10 most successful cities in America.

This got us wondering—if these are the 10 most successful cities in the country, what might the most successful states be? Might they be states containing these cities? Are these states doing something better than yours is? And is good ice cream a key to their success?

The answers? No, Probably, and most definitely. But we’ll get to our methodology in a moment (ice cream was not one of our criteria…) First, here are the 10 most successful states:

  1. New Hampshire
  2. Maryland
  3. Minnesota
  4. North Dakota
  5. Hawaii
  6. Wyoming
  7. Alaska
  8. Virginia
  9. Utah
  10. Massachusetts

If you want to know why these states were most successful, keep reading. Otherwise you can skip down to the end of the post to see how other states ranked.

How We Determined the Most Successful States in America

The first thing that comes to most capitalist minds in terms of success is—money. After all, rich people must be successful, right?
Meh. Maybe. But we think there’s a bit more that goes into it than that. So we looked at this set of criteria from the 2010-2014 American Community Survey:

  • Poverty Level
  • Median Household Income
  • Unemployment Rate

Median household income is the most digestible way to understand how wealthy a place really is. The unemployment rate tries to capture the prospects for more people to become rich. And finally, if more people are employed, the brighter (and more successful) that place’s future looks.
After we collected the data for all 50 states, we ranked each from 1 to 50 for each of the criteria, with 1 being the most successful.

We then averaged all the rankings for a place into a “Success Score” with the state having the lowest overall Success Score crowned the “Most Successful State in America.”
So without further ado, let’s get into just what made each of our top 10 states so successful, starting with our winner, New Hampshire.

1. New Hampshire

Most Successful States In America

Source: Wikipedia

And you thought all New Hampshire had going for it was breathtaking nature, friendly people, safe cities, good food, excellent schools… okay, New Hampshire has a lot going on for it. Especially when it comes to success.
Of all of the states, it has the lowest poverty rate, as well as the seventh highest median income. Toss in the eighth lowest unemployment rate, and you have yourself a recipe for success.

2. Maryland

Most Successful States In America

Source: Wikipedia

Ah, the “Old Line State,” the “Free State”, “Little America”—whatever you want to call it, this state is doing it right. Packed into this tiny state are not only the highest median income in the country, but also the second lowest poverty rank.

3. Minnesota

Most Successful States In America

Source: Wikipedia

Moving a bit further West on the map, we head to Minnesota. The Land of 10,000 Lakes is not only one of the safest (and most beautiful, arguably) states, it’s also a Success Story from its beginnings in 1858. Okay, minus a few rough patches here and there.
These days, though, Minnesota has one of the lowest poverty ranks in the country (the sixth lowest), plus the 10th highest median home income, and the seventh lowest unemployment rate.

4. North Dakota

Most Successful States In America

Source: Wikipedia

Another Midwestern Success Story is North Dakota. Sure it may be the fourth least populous state around, but for those people who do live there—way to go! You guys have managed to give North Dakota the lowest unemployment rank in the entire country.
Plus, residents here have the fifth lowest poverty rank. Not too shabby!

5. Hawaii

Most Successful States In America

Source: Wikipedia

As if we didn’t all want to move to Hawaii bad enough already! What with the beaches, the unique culture, the slower pace of life, the beautiful and loving people… Oh, and the money. These guys make money.
(A good thing, too, because Hawaii? Expensive.)
In Hawaii, the median income is the fifth highest in the country at $68,201. Other good news: the unemployment rank is one of the 10 lowest in the country.

6. Wyoming

Most Successful States In America

Source: Wikipedia

Okay, I know what you’re thinking—does anyone actually live in Wyoming? The answer is yes—12 people. Jokes aside, Wyoming is the second least populated state in the country, but for those who do live there, they’re doing a great job.
For example, the unemployment rate is the third lowest in the country. There’s also very little poverty in Wyoming (one of the benefits of a smaller population, perhaps?) Either way, good job.

7. Alaska

Most Successful States In America

Source: Wikipedia

Alright, for real—no one does live in Alaska. Maybe an actual total of 12 people, right? Or more like 738,432—(just under the population of Charlotte, North Carolina). No matter the number of residents, though, those who do live here are doing something right.
Both the median income and poverty rank are the third highest and third lowest, respectively.

8. Virginia

Most Successful States In America

Source: Wikipedia

Of all the states we looked at (which would be… all of them…) Virginia had the eighth highest median income. Residents here were also the ninth least impoverished, overall, and the 14th least likely to be unemployed. Congrats, Old Dominion!

9. Utah

Most Successful States In America

Source: Wikipedia

This beauty of a state has become something of a trend over the past several decades. Snowboarders, hipsters, and hippies alike have flocked to Salt Lake City. Outdoors people will love… well, everything about this state. And those looking for a place to create your own success, look no further!
Utah has the seventh lowest poverty rank in the country, plus, it ranked No. 13 for both its low unemployment and high median income.

10. Massachusetts

Most Successful States In America

Source: Wikipedia

Last but certainly not least, we have Massachusetts. The Bay State comes in among our top 10, mostly for its high median income of $67,846. Better still, though, is that it has the eighth lowest poverty rank in the nation. That’s wicked good.

How to Be a Success

Every year, hundreds of books are published all about becoming a success. A success in business, in life, in spirituality—you name it, there’s a book for that (and probably an app, too.) Clearly, though, you just need to move to one of these top 10 places, and you’ll be all set.
And we hear New Hampshire is just lovely this time of year.

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