U.S. News And World Reports Names Its Best State To Live In For 2023

For some people, the hectic, go-get-them lifestyle of New York is the best place to call home. For others, the beautiful weather of locations like Florida or California makes those areas desirable. While buying a home is very much a personal decision, there are some factors that make some states better than others, especially when you consider the financial aspects of owning a home.

U.S. News & World Report released its ranking of the best states to live in, positioning Utah at the very top. That could be surprising for some, but many of the top states on the list offer the best combination of factors like crime, education, economy, and health care to help make them stand out beyond the most populous states in the nation. The rankings focus on other factors, including the condition of infrastructure like roads and bridges, along with access to the natural environment, ultimately defining how the state performs for those that live here.

What makes Utah stand out?

Utah has some outstanding strengths that push it to the top place to live in the country, according to the data. U.S. News & World Report ranked Utah highly in both its economy and educational opportunities. It found that 46.3% of the population is college educated and has an 88.2% high school graduation rate, which is higher than the national average of 86.5%. Math testing scores are higher here than the national average as well. Also interesting, while the average college student in the country graduates with about $29,300 in debt, the average in Utah is much lower at $18,344.

The state is ranked highest in its economy, which has a gross domestic product of $248 billion. The median income of residents is $37,325. The state's economy may have come a long way from its gold and silver mining days that helped establish it, but today, tourism and new business development, including startups, are fostering its economic success. It ranks top in employment and second in economic growth overall. The state also ranks well for long-term and short-term fiscal stability.

Plenty of other factors play a role in selecting a place to call home, though. The state's noted mountain ranges make for the perfect ski destination, but it's also noted for its artistic and cultural amenities, including being the home of the largest independent film festival in the world, the Sundance Film Festival.

Other top-ranking states

U.S. News & World Report ranked Washington second on its list of the best states thanks to its high fiscal stability and natural environment. The state has over 7.7 million people who have a median income of $46,951, and 49.1% are college educated. Noted for its high-tech, aerospace, and military defense sectors, alongside beautiful natural amenities, it's easily one of the best places to live.

Idaho ranked third on the list, with over 1.9 million people earning a median income of $34,941 and 40.8% being college educated. It ranked second for its economy thanks in part to its strong job growth (2.4% compared to the national average of 0.2%) and net migration at 1.6%.

Nebraska was number four on the list, ranking high in infrastructure and education specifically. The state's over 1.9 million residents have a median income of $38,898, and 45.2% are college educated. The state, noted for its agricultural industry, had low commute times and just 7.1% of roads in poor condition, compared to a national average of 19%.

Rounding out the top five was Minnesota, ranked first in the country in infrastructure and high in both its natural environment and opportunity for citizens. Healthcare is a big component of the region's economy thanks to the presence of the Mayo Clinic and other Fortune 500 companies. The 5.7 million people living here are 50.7% college educated and earn a median income of $43,853. These are some of the factors to consider when buying a home.