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It’s nice to be a man in a lot of ways.
Who is your boss? Statistics say it is most likely a man. Even if your boss isn’t a man, chances are their boss is. In every state men are more likely to be CEOs and have a higher median income than women. No one can deny that being a man comes with certain economic and social advantages.
However, men are also more likely to be imprisoned, more likely to take their own life, and less likely to receive a college education. With deaths of despair rising in the United States and men being prime victims, it is clear that there is a lot of struggle to go around.
Yet, the United States is big. No two states are exactly the same. With that thought in mind, we set out to identify the states where men are struggling the most. The results? Location makes a big difference in quality of life.
We have a list of all fifty states and how they stack up. But first, let’s examine the states where it’s the absolute worst to be a man.
The Worst States For Men
These are the worst states to be a man. What do they have in common? The south and west dominate the list, suggesting these regions may not be kind to men as a whole.
Your state not in the bottom 10? Scroll to the bottom to see where it landed. Otherwise, you can see how we determined these states and why the top 10 are a bastion of hardship for men.
Each state was equally ranked 1-to-50 in five categories:
The data on suicide per 100,000 came from the Kaiser Family Organization. While this data is not broken down by gender, men are more than 3x as likely to commit suicide than women, making this an important measure of male well-being.
The state imprisonment rates came from The Sentencing Project. Similar to suicide, these numbers are not broken up by gender. However, men are almost 10x more likely to be imprisoned than women. Incarceration has strong, negative impacts on future employment and earnings, in addition to the social costs.
Both the percent of males 23-to-34 with a Bachelor’s degree and male unemployment by state came from the Census’ trusty American Community Survey.
The rate of work fatalities came from the BLS’ Census of occupation related deaths. The rate is per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. Men dominate the “deadliest” jobs and more likely to die or be injured at work than women.
Suicide Rate: 15
State Imprisonment: 619
Male Unemployment: 6.1
% With Bachelor’s Degree: 19.3
Work Fatalities: 6.3
Mississippi is the worst state for men. What earned Mississippi this unfavorable rank? Low scores across the board. Mississippi men are the least likely in the country to receive a Bachelor’s degree and face high unemployment. When they do have a job, they are more likely to work in risky, dangerous environments. Throw in high numbers of men imprisoned and it’s easy to see that Mississippi men are struggling.
Suicide Rate: 21.2
State Imprisonment: 392
Male Unemployment: 5.9
% With Bachelor’s Degree: 24.3
Work Fatalities: 6.6
The Mountain State is the second worst state for men. West Virginian men face high unemployment, high suicide rates, and generally dismal stats.
Suicide Rate: 23.3
State Imprisonment: 344
Male Unemployment: 6.1
% With Bachelor’s Degree: 20
Work Fatalities: 4.9
Everything isn’t so grand for men in the Land of Enchantment. New Mexican men might be less likely to be jail than other states, but lack of education and high suicide rates show they are still struggling.
Suicide Rate: 15.2
State Imprisonment: 719
Male Unemployment: 6
% With Bachelor’s Degree: 22.7
Work Fatalities: 5
Louisiana has the highest incarceration rates in the nation. When men aren’t behind bars they have a harder time finding work. Yikes.
Suicide Rate: 20.7
State Imprisonment: 598
Male Unemployment: 4
% With Bachelor’s Degree: 22.3
Work Fatalities: 5.3
Arkansas is the fifth worst state to be a man. Only 22% of men 25-34 have a bachelor’s degree while a bigger chunk than all but 3 states are behind bars in the “Land of Opportunity.: That’s not so great.
Suicide Rate: 27.1
State Imprisonment: 258
Male Unemployment: 7.5
% With Bachelor’s Degree: 22.5
Work Fatalities: 5.2
Alaskan men are more likely to take their own life than any other state. Toss in remarkably high male unemployment and dangerous work environments and you can see why so many men are in despair.
Suicide Rate: 20.3
State Imprisonment: 451
Male Unemployment: 5.2
% With Bachelor’s Degree: 21.4
Work Fatalities: 4.2
Nevada is the seventh worst state for men. Nevada’s male unemployment, suicide rate, and workplace fatalities are better than the worst, of the worst, but they’re still nothing to brag about.
Suicide Rate: 19.1
State Imprisonment: 704
Male Unemployment: 4
% With Bachelor’s Degree: 23.4
Work Fatalities: 5.6
In the Sooner State, men face a higher than average chance of imprisonment and lower than average chance of receiving a college education.
Suicide Rate: 16.6
State Imprisonment: 486
Male Unemployment: 5.1
% With Bachelor’s Degree: 23.9
Work Fatalities: 5.2
Alabama stays true to their state motto of “At least we’re better than Mississippi.” In fact, they’re 8 whole states better for men than Mississippi. That might not be too comforting to the high percentage of men imprisoned, or those under-educated or looking for work.
Suicide Rate: 26.7
State Imprisonment: 429
Male Unemployment: 3.5
% With Bachelor’s Degree: 22.1
Work Fatalities: 12.3
Wyoming is the 10th worst state for men. While Wyoming has a strong economy with low unemployment, that isn’t enough to compensate for the high rates of suicide. In addition, Wyoming men may make a decent paycheck, but to pull in that pay they work in the most dangerous workplaces in the nation.
While men may be at the top of food chain, they still face high rates of imprisonment, increased risk of suicide and are less educated as a whole. The ten states above offer worse prospects statistically than most other states. The difference in first and last place is significant. For example, the difference in North Dakota and Alaskan male unemployment is 5%. In Massachusetts, men are twice as likely to hold a Bachelors degree as a man in Mississippi.
The best states for men?
Men in these states are better educated, and far less likely to be imprisoned. Throw in strong economies, safe work environment, and high emotional well-being and apparently the East Coast (and Minnesota!) are the place to be. Overall, while we cannot say that Mississippi is the worst state for every individual man (life is pretty personal, after all), it certainly has some obstacles for the men living their to overcome.
Check out the rest of the list to see where you state landed:
Worst States For Men:
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