10 U.S. States with the Worst Standard of Living


The United States is considered one of the world’s most happening places, and people from around the globe want to be here. It has a prosperous economy. But, even with a GDP higher than any other country in the world, the US has not been able to ensure equality of economy among all its citizens. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, US, conducted a study and established that a number of US states have poor performance, when taking into consideration nine important factors, i.e. income, jobs, education, safety, health, environment, civic engagement, housing and accessibility to services. Let us look at the 10 U.S. states with the worst standard of living.

10. Georgia

10 U.S. States with the Worst Standard of Living

The residents of Georgia have among the worst standards of living, as Georgia fares particularly poorly on the job metric of OECD, with only 9% working-age adults being employed in 2013, the lowest in the country. This could be caused by the poor education attainment rate, with less than 85% of its workforce attaining high school diploma last year. 19% of the population lives below poverty line. It has the 10 lowest employment rate, 13th lowest household income per capita, 22nd lowest voter turnout and 13th highest homicide rate.

9. New Mexico

New Mexico, Taos pueblo
Large portions of the state are arid terrains, and hence cannot support more than 2 million people, despite being larger than many European countries, thus contributing to the poor infrastructure of the state. With only 54% household having access to internet, it is features at the 2nd position from the bottom. 21% people live below poverty lines, 2nd to Mississippi, and the disposable income of an average New Mexican is $25,000. It has the 7th lowest employment rate and household disposable income per capita, 19th lowest voter turnout and 4th highest homicide rate.

8. Louisiana

Louisiana Living Style
The life expectancy of an average Louisiana resident is less than 76 years, the 4th lowest in the US. It has many dangerous communities, records 11 murders per 100,000 people, and features among the worst 10% of all OECD regions. The highly productive natural gas industry has exposed the economy of the state to fluctuations in the price of energy. 20% of its population lives below poverty line, 3rd to two other states. It has the highest homicide rate, along with 3rd lowest employment rate and 24th lowest household disposable income per capita, but also the 14th highest voter turnout.

7. South Carolina

People in South Carolina
The residents of South Carolina earn around $25,000 in disposable income per capita, among the lowest in the country. In fact, this income is considerably less than average Americans. Its unemployment rate is higher than 9%, showing how difficult it is to find a job here, in comparison to other parts of the nation. 18.6% of its residents live below the poverty line, again featuring among the lowest in the country. It has the 18th highest voter turnout. It also has the 4th lowest employment rate, the 6th lowest household disposable income per capita and the 6th highest homicide rate.

6. Oklahoma

Amber Landis walks among the remains of her home in Moore, Oklahoma
Less than 60% of the households of the state have access to high speed broadband internet, which is among the lowest rates in the country. Unlike many of the states with poor condition of life, the residents here are not engaged in politics. Less than 53% of the eligible adults voted in 2013. The state also ranks in the lowest 16% of OECD regions for civic engagement. It has the 3rd lowest voter turnout, and not quite surprisingly, 14th highest homicide rate. It also has the 22nd lowest employment rate and 19th lowest household disposable income per capita.

5. Tennessee

enagement nashville tennessee-4
Just about 85% of the human resource of Tennessee has completed high school as of 2013. The state has given significant efforts to improve education. State officials have notably approved the initiative to make community colleges tuition-free, thus being the only US state to do so. But the political engagement is poor here, and like most similar places, it has low access to services like broadband, which is available to less than 60%. It has the 6th lowest voter turnout, 17th lowest employment rate, 20th lowest Household disposable income per capita and 10th highest homicide rate.

4. West Virginia

Clarksburg West Virginia
The mortality rate of West Virginia is extremely poor, with 10.5 deaths every 1,000 people, higher than all but two states. Nearly 19% people live below poverty line. Less than 48% people turn to the voting ballots, showing poor political engagement. One of the very few positive sides of this state is that it has just 3.9 murders per 100,000 state residents. However, it features among the worst 20% of OECD regions because of having the lowest voter turnout and employment, and the 8th lowest household disposable income per capita, though its homicide rate is 22nd lowest.

3. Arkansas

Little Rock, Arkansas
With a per capita income less than $25,000, it features among the lowest in the US, with financial conditions considerably less than other Americans. 1 in every 5 of its residents lives below poverty line, thus being positioned at the 4th worst condition. Its voter turnout was just 53.3% in 2013, one of the lowest in the nation, but this might change, with the state’s long-time Democratic governor is about to step down. Arkansas has the 12th lowest employment rate, 3rd lowest household disposable income per capita, 4th lowest voter turnout and 15th highest homicide rate.

2. Alabama

Rock City Barns in Alabama
With just 56% of the population having access to broadband internet, it is placed at the 3rd lowest position. Access to services is almost the worst in this state, which is common among other state with poor political engagement of residents. Only 62% of Alabama’s residents voted last year, which is still an improvement. The state struggles with poverty, with almost 19% people living below poverty line. It has the 5th lowest employment rate, 10th lowest household disposable income per capita, 22nd lowest voter turnout and 8th highest homicide rate.

1. Mississippi

People fish in floodwaters at a housing development in Vicksburg, Mississippi

Mississippi is the U.S. state with the worst standard of living. The only positive side of the state is the political engagement, with three-quarters of the population voting in the general election. Less than 82% of the man power has completed high school as of ‘13, the second lowest in the nation, and nearly 9.5% people were unemployed. 24% live below poverty lines, the highest in the nation. It faces 7.3 murders per 100,000 people. It has the 2nd lowest employment rate and household disposable income per capita, and 2nd highest homicide rate, but also the highest voter turnout.

50 other states have also been found to be deficient in a number of the key metrics considered by OECD, which included several other variables. Additional data and figures on state GDP, industry composition, poverty, health insurance, income inequality. Energy production, etc. were taken from Bureau of Economic Analysis, US Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey and Energy Information Administration, to pursue a complete survey.


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