The Worst States For Millennials

by Kathy Morris
Study - 11 months ago

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Millennials are struggling. With rising student debt, stagnant wages, and avocado toast, many are working hard to hardly get by.

It is no surprise millennials are struggling financially. As a group, 23-38 years old earn less and have less assets than their parents did a generation ago. However, just like the job market and cost of living, where you live matters. We analyzed all 50 states and the District of Columbia to uncover where it is hardest for millennials to thrive.

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 roughest.

The 10 Worst States For Millennials

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Georgia
  3. New York
  4. Florida
  5. North Carolina
  6. California
  7. South Carolina
  8. Alabama
  9. Louisiana
  10. Mississippi

The south dominates this list with 7 of the top 10 being southern states. The other 3? Areas notorious for their high cost of living.

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

How We Determined The Worst States For Millennials

Each state and DC were ranked 1 to 51 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 lower score in each category, the lower the rank. For example, DC’s $60,039 was the highest average student loan debt, earning it a rank of #1 for student loan debt.

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 worst place to be a millennial.

1. Washington, DC

washington-dc

Source: Public Domain
  • Unemployment: 6%
  • Home Ownership: 18.38%
  • Poverty Rate: 25%
  • Student Loan Debt: $60,039

It is no surprise to see the notoriously expensive District Of Columbia top the list of worst places to be a millennials. 1-in-4 DC millennials live in poverty and have the highest student loan debt in the nation. In addition to having the highest student loan debt in the, DC millennials are also the least likely to own a house.

With a staggering $567,900 median home price, millennials would have to sacrifice 63,100 servings of avocado toast to become homeowners in the capital city.

2. Georgia

georgia

Source: Public Domain
  • Unemployment: 8%
  • Home Ownership: 31.61%
  • Poverty Rate: 20%
  • Student Loan Debt: $37,284

Georgia comes in at #2 for the worst place to be a millennials. While home ownership is significantly higher and student loan debt nearly half that of DC, life isn’t all peaches for millennials in the peach state. 1-in-5 Georgia millennials are below the federal poverty rate.

3. New York

new-york

Source: Public Domain
  • Unemployment: 7%
  • Home Ownership: 24%
  • Poverty Rate: 19%
  • Student Loan Debt: $38,734

New York, New York what a beautiful place- unless you’re a millennial trying to make rent, which 76% of them are. Low home ownership, high poverty, and less than impressive student debt and unemployment earn New York it’s #3 spot.

4. Florida

florida

Source: Public Domain
  • Unemployment: 7%
  • Home Ownership: 29%
  • Poverty Rate: 19%
  • Student Loan Debt: $35,709

Florida may be a beloved destination for vacationers, but millennial residents may find themselves experiencing hardship. 1-in-5 Florida millennials live in poverty.

5. North Carolina

north-carolina

Source: Public Domain
  • Unemployment: 7%
  • Home Ownership: 32%
  • Poverty Rate: 20%
  • Student Loan Debt: $36,246

Millennials in North Carolina have a 20% chance of living below the poverty line. While home ownership is high, it isn’t enough to overcome less than stellar unemployment and high average student loan debt.

6. California

california

Source: Public Domain
  • Unemployment: 7%
  • Home Ownership: 23%
  • Poverty Rate: 17%
  • Student Loan Debt: $34,449

California may be the golden state, but for millennials living there may not look so shiny. High home costs mean home ownership is out of reach for many millennials. When paired with high unemployment and an unpleasantly high poverty rate, it earns California its spot at #6.

7. South Carolina

south-carolina

Source: Public Domain
  • Unemployment: 7%
  • Home Ownership: 36%
  • Poverty Rate: 22%
  • Student Loan Debt: $37,249

South Carolina has similar stats to its neighbor, North Carolina- paired with a slightly steeper student loan debt and a few decimals better unemployment.

8. Alabama

alabama

Source: Public Domain
  • Unemployment: 8%
  • Home Ownership: 37%
  • Poverty Rate: 23%
  • Student Loan Debt: $34,861

Alabama tells a similar story to the other southern states that top the list– a high poverty rate, paired with less than stellar unemployment.

9. Louisiana

louisiana

Source: Public Domain
  • Unemployment: 8%
  • Home Ownership: 37%
  • Poverty Rate: 26%
  • Student Loan Debt: $33,860

Down in the bayou state, Millennials face high unemployment and a high poverty rate.

10. Mississippi

mississippi

Source: Public Domain
  • Unemployment: 10%
  • Home Ownership: 37%
  • Poverty Rate: 27%
  • Student Loan Debt: $33,261

Mississippi often comes in dead last in education and quality of life metrics, so it is no surprise to see millennials have it rough in Mississippi. While millennials in Mississippi are more likely to own a home than other states, they are also more likely to be unemployed and live in poverty.

See Where Your State Fell On The List:
worst-states-for-millennials-list

Want the latest research and most engaging stories first? Email Kathy Morris at kmorris@zippia.com to be added to our weekly newsletter.

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