We Live in the Best State to Make a Living

February 08, 2012

Illinois makes a lot of lists, some impressive, some depressing. While we consistently rank among the states with the highest unemployment rate, and our Chicago real estate carries one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country, we now sit atop a list that seems to contradict those statistics:

Illinois is the best state in the country to make a living.

Yes, MoneyRates.com released its list of 10 Best States for Making a Living with Illinois in the No. 1 spot.

The website compiles the list as a guide for people looking to make a career move. There are four factors involved: average state wages, state unemployment rate, state tax rate and state cost of living.

Based on these factors, MoneyRates.com calculated an adjusted-average income for each state: The average income adjusted for your chances of finding a job, how much you would lose to state taxes and how much purchasing power that income would have based on the cost of living in that state.

No. 1. Illinois: “At $41,986.51, Illinois had the best adjusted-average income. The unemployment rate in Illinois is not especially low, but the state benefits from relatively high average wages, a low state tax rate, and a below-average cost of living. As an added plus, you can make good use of your money once you earn it in Illinois. Four of the best banks in America, based on a MoneyRates.com analysis of factors like customer service, checking account fees, and savings and money market rates, have operations in Illinois.”

The states that round out the top 10 and their adjusted-average incomes:

No. 2. Washington: $41,455.73

No. 3. Texas: $41,427.12

No. 4. Virginia: $41,120.49

No. 5. Delaware: $39,104.64

No. 6. Massachusetts: $38,664.86

No. 7. Georgia: $38,228.47

No. 8. Tennessee: $38,038.27

No. 9. Colorado: $38,020.24

No. 10. Minnesota: $37,721.99

We can’t have good without the bad, so here is the list of 10 Worst States for Making a Living, according to MoneyRates.com, along with their adjusted-average incomes.

No. 1. Hawaii: $22,107.96

No. 2. Maine: $29,159.19

No. 3. Montana: $29,495.73

No. 4. California: $29,772.40

No. 5. Vermont: $29,985.60

No. 6. Oregon: $30,343.10

No. 7. Rhode Island: $30,611.87

No. 8. Mississippi: $30,952.90

No. 9. West Virginia: $31,357.15

No. 10. South Carolina: $31,636.27

Categories: Awards

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