These Are The 10 Hardest Working States In America

by Chris Kolmar
Rankings - 5 years ago

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America has been known as the land of opportunity for as long as I can remember. It’s the one place in the world where if you bare down and work your nose to the grindstone, you can make a better life for your family and yourself.

And while all Americans are hardworking, there’s a certain part of the country that takes the Puritan work ethic to the extreme — the great Northeast.

Who’s the leader of this work around the clock ethos? That would be Maryland which takes the top honors for the hardest working state in the Union. People work so hard there they manage to make getting to work a job

So what other states burn the midnight oil to bring home a large piece of bacon? You’re going to have to get to the office early and stay late on Fridays to beat out these states for a promotion:

  1. Maryland
  2. Virginia
  3. New Jersey
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Colorado
  6. Hawaii
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Alaska
  9. Texas
  10. North Dakota

With the exception of Hawaii and Alaska, this list reflects two ingrained American stereotypes — the industrial Northeast and the workhorse cowboy of the plains.

So listen up New Mexico as we explain how start to explain how we created this ranking, you could learn some thing from the rest of the country.


How We Determined The Hardest Working States In The Good Ole U S of A

Like all problems here at Zippia, we start with the data to answer the hard questions. Some might even consider us the hardest working data-crunchers this side of the Mississippi.

In this particular case, we went to the latest version of the American Community Survey looking for answers. As luck would have it, the Census Bureau just released the 2009-2014 5-Yr Estimate which would make this analysis the first of it’s kind with the new data.

After scrolling through what seemed like hundreds of criteria, we settled on this set for each State:

  • Average hours worked
  • Average commute time
  • Workers per household (Employed labor force divided by the number households)
  • Labor force participation rate
  • Adults with a college degree

Our thinking went something along the lines of if you are spent the many years getting a degree, are actively seeking employment, work a ton of hours when employed, and spend forever getting to work, you get the Zippia hardworking stamp of approval.

After we got the data for all 50 states, we ranked each state from 1 to 50 for each of the criteria with 1 being the “hardest working”.

Next, we averaged the rankings for each to create a hardworking index.

Finally, we crowned the state with the lowest hard working index the “Hardest Working State In America”. And, at the end of the day, Maryland had it’s hard work pay off.

Read the detailed chart below to learn a bit more about why each state ranked where it did and a recap for Maryland.

Why Maryland Took The Top Spot

Maryland won this one in pretty convincing fashion. In an attempt to score points with the boss, it ranked significantly better than average on every single criteria.

Maryland shines in what most people consider the worst part of their day — the commute to work. Maryland ranked number 1 overall with an average commute of 32 minutes. Compared to the average commute time in North Dakota (The shortest on the list), Marylanders spend an extra 4 days getting to and from work each year.

So if you’d relax your work ethic just a tad and move to North Dakota, you’d get four more vacation days each year. And by the looks of things, you need them.

Detailed Table of Hardest Working States

State Overall Rank Average Commute To Work (In Min) Average Hours Worked
Maryland 1 32 38.8
Virginia 2 28 39.0
New Jersey 3 31 38.5
New Hampshire 4 27 38.3
Colorado 5 25 38.7
Hawaii 6 26 38.5
Massachusetts 7 28 37.6
Alaska 8 19 42.0
Texas 9 25 39.8
North Dakota 10 17 40.2
Minnesota 11 23 37.9
Connecticut 12 25 37.9
Nebraska 12 18 39.1
Illinois 14 28 38.2
South Dakota 15 17 39.5
California 16 28 37.8
New York 17 32 38.4
Kansas 18 19 38.9
Washington 19 26 38.0
Georgia 20 27 38.9
Utah 20 22 36.8
Wyoming 20 18 40.4
Iowa 23 19 38.5
Vermont 24 22 37.6
North Carolina 25 24 38.8
Delaware 26 25 38.0
Rhode Island 27 24 37.1
Wisconsin 28 22 38.0
Nevada 29 24 38.3
Louisiana 30 25 39.9
Pennsylvania 31 26 38.1
Maine 32 24 37.9
Montana 33 18 38.2
Missouri 34 23 38.4
Florida 35 26 38.3
Indiana 36 23 38.3
Oklahoma 37 21 39.6
Arizona 38 25 38.3
South Carolina 39 24 38.5
Tennessee 40 24 38.7
West Virginia 41 26 38.9
Mississippi 42 24 39.3
Idaho 43 20 37.9
Ohio 44 23 37.9
Oregon 44 23 37.0
Alabama 46 24 38.8
Arkansas 47 21 39.2
Michigan 48 24 37.5
Kentucky 49 23 38.5
New Mexico 50 22 38.2
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