America’s 50 states make up a nation that is varied both demographically and economically. The recent recession, while affecting all states, hit some areas much harder than others. The recovery has been rapid in some regions of the country and a long time coming for other areas. A look at major economic statistics, such as average income, poverty rates, employment levels and overall tax burden presents a telling picture of the current state of each of America’s states. This information is especially helpful for people who are considering relocating to a more prosperous area of the country in search of a better job or a lower cost of living.
In general, states south of the Mason-Dixon Line still suffer from higher levels of poverty than their northern and western neighbors. However, California, Nevada and New York all rank surprisingly high in the percentage of residents who live in poverty. Mid-Western states, report lower than average unemployment rates. This is most likely because the economies of these states are based on mining and management of natural resources rather than on manufacturing industries that have taken a beating over the past 20 years.
Some surprising inconsistencies exist when it comes to the economic data. For example, the average household income in California is approximately the same as in Minnesota, but the average home price in California is three times higher than the average home price in Minnesota. This would put a middle class family who chooses to move to California in a position of possibly being unable to afford a home in many areas of the state. Another notable incongruence occurs in Alabama, which has a high rate of employment and a relatively low tax burden and yet ranks low in general well-being.
When relocating for economic reasons, it is important to examine all the facts before making a move. Looking at the full range of available economic data allows a family to compare, contrast and consider all options to ensure that the area to which they are moving is economically better off than the area they are leaving.
Source: Financial States of America