Note: The states listed in this article “10 Best States to Live in For 2020” are based solely on the opinion of the author.
There are tons of articles out there that carefully and scientifically rank the best states of the country to live in. They normally base the results on critical factors like crime rates, unemployment levels, education opportunities and the like. Of course, these factors are definitely important. But when you’re considering moving to a new state, and you’re looking for some inspiration, we don’t think that a tedious number-crunching session is going to leave you feeling excited to see what a new state has to offer.
Helpfully, people like economists can tell us that things like the price of housing is one of the biggest determining factors in people’s decision to move to a new state. However, when you’re in a heated Facebook argument, *convinced* that your state is better than someone else’s, is a telling bar graph really going to make them feel like they’re missing out?
What about a stunning shot of the sunset from that national park down the road from you? An Instagram worthy pic of your grub from the local food truck? Or even a screenshot from your weather app with a week full of impeccably sunny, 70 degree days? We all know the numbers matter, and we would be remiss to not include some basic ones, but we’d like to take a look at some of the factors that give each state the “je ne sais quoi” that makes people proud to be a native!
Of course, this ranking is completely opinion based and just for fun! So, scroll through the 10 best states to live in.
Median income: $57,190
Median home value: $245,289
Hanging off the far northeast corner of the country, cozied up with Canada, Maine might often be forgotten, but unrightfully so. For seafood lovers, there’s no better state to be in than this one, where they catch 90% of the world’s lobster supply. And while you might’ve expected as much, you probably wouldn’t expect that they take the title for the single largest producer of blueberries (99% of crops) in the US as well. If neither of these appeals to you, don’t forget that you’re in the birthplace of donut holes as well.
Boasting 3,478 miles of scenic coastline, even more than California, and a cult following of nature lovers who flock there in the fall to witness the foliage in all its glory, Maine checks the boxes as a great home for both food and nature lovers.
History buffs will also find enjoyment in the more than 60 historic lighthouses that are sprinkled across what is often lovingly called the Pinetree State.
Any aspiring writers should make a beeline for Maine straightaway since it has spawned greats in every genre from classic poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, horror master Stephen King, and childhood storyteller E.B. White, who brought us Charlotte’s Web.
Median income: $53,280
Median home value: $204,839
With tons of vacationers flocking here every year, North Carolinians probably don’t have to argue too fervently to defend their place on this list. This state has a knack for bringing out the best in greats like Babe Ruth, who hit his first home run here and the Wright brothers who completed their first successful flight here. Living here means you share your homeland with Krispy Kreme donuts and Pepsi, invented and first served here in 1898.
Getting around here is no problem with 77,400 miles of the state-maintained highway system, the largest in the United States, and you’ll certainly need them, with so many appealing destinations. 1500 lakes of 10 acres or more dot the state including White Lake, which features breathtaking white sand, crystal clear waters, and has been ranked the nation’s safest beach.
Other points of pride include the palm-sweat inducing Mile High Swinging Bridge, the mysterious Roanoke colony, and the famous Biltmore Estates with their surrounding gardens and an attached winery. You’ll find Mount Mitchell keeping watch over the state at 6684 feet above sea level, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the countries oldest state university. Not to mention, who wouldn’t want to live in the birthplace of the miniature golf course and the native home of the Venus flytrap?
Median income: $58,928
Median home value: $650,810
New Yorkers with a thirst for success will be the first to proudly inform you that more billionaires live here than any other state. In fact, with someone newborn every 4.4 minutes, more people live in New York City alone than any other city in the country.
Nothing compares to the city that never sleeps, where many businesses stay open around the clock, or nearly, like the many nightlife destinations that are legally allowed to be open from 7 AM till 4 AM. Imagine living in a place where you can grab a slice of pizza for $1 virtually around the clock! The first pizzeria in the United States opened here in 1895, so you can bet that your slice will be mouth-watering!
Interestingly enough, for more than 50 years, prices of not only a slice of pizza but also a subway ticket have remained about the same, so no guilt about long hauling it out to your favorite joint.
If going out until the wee hours isn’t for you, New York can still be a great home. Visit the New York Public Library and choose from over 50 million books for a cozy night in.
Although New York City is iconic and unmistakable, the appeal of New York spans far beyond that, with destinations like Niagara Falls which draw visitors from all across the world, year-round. Why not have them in your back yard?
Median income: $61,920
Median home value: $270,803
With more parks and national monuments than any other state, more mountains than Switzerland, and a fourth of the entire state covered by forest, Arizona is the perfect home for nature lovers.
Destinations like the Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest top the list, and, in the south at least, you can count on favorable weather to explore the outdoors. The sun shines 85% of the time there, even more than in Hawaii or Florida.
But, Arizona is an incredibly diverse state. It isn’t unusual for the state to set both high and low-temperature records on the same day in different parts of the state. Winter lovers might be surprised to hear that they would feel right at home in the northern cities like Flagstaff, where snow is far from a rarity.
Arizona is rich not only in natural beauty but also historic significance, like being the site of the famous gunfight at the OK Corral, and the home of the Navajo Codetalkers who helped turned the tide of World War 2.
Living here is culturally rich as well, with the opportunity to learn about the Native American peoples who live on the largest percentage of land set aside and designated for that purpose in any state.
Median income: $71,920
Median home value: $399,209
Colorado is well known for having the Mile High City of Denver. However, those that call Colorado home know that the 13th step of the state capitol building in Denver is exactly a mile above sea level. This is one of the best states to live in and is not only the home of the world’s first rodeo but also the world’s largest natural hot springs pool — it spans two blocks!
It’s lucky that the hot springs are available to soak your weary muscles because there are so many breathtaking locations to hike, like Pikes Peak, the Garden of the Gods, Red Rocks Open Space, and the Continental Divide.
The day to day doesn’t get boring at all when living here, in fact, you could find yourself driving on Colfax Avenue, the longest continuous street in North America at 26.5 miles long, or the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, the highest paved road in North America at 14, 258 feet above sea level.
This state is the birthplace of the cheeseburger, and with tons of local breweries, a great meal is never far away. And of course, Coloradans keep it chill as one of the most popular destinations for legal cannabis. Get to packing if you’re looking for that “no worries” vibe!
Median income: $76,390
Median home value: $558,181
California is a hugely varied state that is called home by one in 8 people in the United States. Proud Californians claim that it’s one of the best states to live in every chance they get. They’re proud of their attractions that range from the breathtaking natural views of Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park which houses the world’s largest living tree, to the whimsical Santa Monica Pier with its new and old amusement rides.
California is home to San Bernardino, the largest county in the country and Death Valley, the hottest, driest place in the world, where temperatures over 115 degrees Fahrenheit are common.
Each of its cities has a special claim to fame; for example, the first motion picture theater opened in LA in 1902 and the cable cars in San Francisco are the only ones left operational in a US city. To top it all off, California is the birthplace of the internet! Who can top that?
Median income: $61,902
Median home value: $360,009
Oregon is the well-known home of all things quirky and unique, which alone makes it one of the best states to live in. They’re the only state to have a two-sided flag, with one side picturing a beaver, and they’ve got more ghost towns than any other state. Living here means you can look at the world’s most photographed lighthouse, Heceta Head Lighthouse, anytime.
It’s a great place to stop and smell the roses, at their International Rose Test Garden where over 500 varieties have been taken care of since 1917. Locals can enjoy not only the deepest lake in the United States, Crater Lake, which formed over 6,500 years ago from the remains of a volcano but also the world’s smallest park, a two-foot circle found in the median strip of SW Naito Parkway.
If you’re very eco-friendly, Oregon is the place for you to move. They’ve been setting the standard since 1971 when they banned non-returnable bottles and cans.
Last but not least, Oregon is home to the largest cheese factory in the world, and if that doesn’t make you want to live there, I don’t know what will.
Median income: $75,092
Median home value: $303,800
Separated from the continental United States by 500 miles, and often perceived as a cold wasteland, Alaska doesn’t get the love it deserves as one of the best states to live in. Locals enjoy dog mushing and basking in the view of seventeen out of twenty of the highest peaks in the whole country.
Contrary to popular perception, record high temperatures have reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Alaska before. So, not all is lost for the warm weather lovers looking for a new home. In fact, strangely enough, the long summer days in Alaska are perfect for producing record-breaking produce, like a 138-pound cabbage, a 65-pound cantaloupe, and 35-pound broccoli. 82 days of uninterrupted sunshine sound awesome for humans, as well as vegetables, don’t you think?
Alaska has an unbelievable 33, 904 miles of coastline, as well Tongass, America’s largest national forest. Finally, move here and have the privilege of competing to be crowned King or queen in the famous outhouse races. All you have to do is built a custom outhouse, outfitted with skis on the bottom and race it to victory. Easy enough, right?
Median income: $47,273
Median home value: $168,321
This state, often known as the jazz capital of the world or the Big Easy, was originally purchased from France. So, it’s rich in cultural heritage that permeates its music, food, and architecture.
If you’re looking to become famous, this seems like a good place to start. It has produced a long list of celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, Randy Jackson, Lil Wayne, Peyton Manning, Tyler Perry, and Britney Spears.
If your goal is to be one with the ocean, then this is also the place to be. The farthest you can go above sea level in the whole state is 535 feet. 1.4 million people stream into the city every year for Mardi Gras. However, the open container laws last all year long, so call the moving company and let the good times start rolling!
Because of all of these magnificent reasons, Louisiana is definitely one of the best states to live in.
Median income: $63,652
Median home value: $203,532
Often synonymous with Chicago, Illinoisans know their state is one of the best states to live in because it has so much more to offer. In 1930, Illinois changed the world as we know it by inventing the Twinkie. They must have been feeling inspired, because they invented the ice cream sundae as well, and the first Dairy Queen was opened here too. Not only that, but this state was also the first to debut an all-color TV station and the first to light up a whole city with electric street lighting.
The world’s only backward flowing river can be found here as well as the world’s largest Nabisco factory. Also, the nation’s oldest public, free zoo, the Lincoln Park Zoo.
And if all of that isn’t enough, another perk of living in this state is the use of the world’s only post office that you’re able to drive through. Once you pass through the post office, you can merge onto famous Route 66 which starts in Chicago. Talk about convenience!
Are you feeling inspired to find a new home in 2020? Tell us which destination is calling to you!
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