These Are 10 Worst States In America For 2018

We used science to determine which of these United States are the real pits.

Join RoadSnacks
This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out.

Dangerous States In America Map

You might think people across the nation love where they live. After all, you wouldn’t spend your life somewhere that you truly didn’t love. Right?

Not always. In fact, a Pew Research Center study not too long ago determined that almost half of Americans would rather live somewhere else than they do now.

Well, if you’re in one of the states we’re about to highlight, we don’t blame you for wanting to move.

Or, if you live in the south, for wanting to run away as fast as you possibly can.

After analyzing all 50 U.S. states, we came up with this list as the 10 worst states in our nation for 2018:

  1. New Mexico
  2. Arkansas
  3. Mississippi
  4. Louisiana
  5. Alabama
  6. South Carolina
  7. Oklahoma
  8. Arizona
  9. Georgia
  10. Nevada

It turns out New Mexico is the worst state to live in the country. New Mexico is having a rough week since we also just named it the most dangerous state for 2018.

The purpose of this study is to use science to determine which of our great American states are the absolute worst. While unbiased, this research does take into account factors that almost all Americans would agree are undesirable.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your city ranked. Or check out more on the worst cities to live in America.

For more positive news, feel free to check out the best places to live in the country and the the best states in America.

How do you decide if a state is lousy or not?

In order to rank the worst states to live in the United States, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn’t a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, great weather, things to do and a stable economy.

So we researched the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.

How we crunched the numbers for the worst states of 2018

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data and the most recent ACS 2012-2016, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (The lower the worse)
  • Highest Unemployment Rates
  • Low Median Income
  • Low Home Values
  • Low Levels of College Education
  • A lot of uninsured people
  • High Crime
  • High poverty

We then ranked each state from 1 to 50 for the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.

Next, we averaged the rankings into one “Worst Place To Live Index”.

Finally, we ranked every state on the “Worst Place To Live Index” with the lowest index being the Worst State To Live in America for 2018, New Mexico.

If you’d like to see the complete list of states, from worst to best, scroll to the bottom of this post to see the abridged chart.

Note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the states themselves. This list is based on data. It’s also not a testament to the effectiveness of local law enforcement.

1. New Mexico

New Mexico

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 2,082,669
Median Income: $45,674 (7th worst)
Median Home Value: $161,600 (21st worst)

New Mexico is, by far, the worst state in the entire country for 2018, according to this scientific analysis. Sorry to break the news to you folks out there in the Land of Enchantment.

Economically, and socially, New Mexico has some issues. Its residents are underpaid, and the crime here is very high. In addition, if you’re not into exploring the outdoors, finding entertainment can be a chore.

Unless you’re a UFO enthusiast.

2. Arkansas


Source: Wikipedia

Population: 2,968,472
Median Income: $42,336 (2nd worst)
Median Home Value: $114,700 (3rd worst)

Arkansas begins the string of truly southern states which you should try to avoid if at all possible.

The 2nd worst state in the country, Arkansas “boasts” the second lowest wages and third lowest home prices.

Luckily, you probably do have a job in the Razorback State, which prevented it from being the worst state in the country.

3. Mississippi


Source: Wikipedia

Population: 2,989,192
Median Income: $40,528 (1st worst)
Median Home Value: $105,700 (1st worst)
The median household income in Mississippi is only about $40,000, which is more than $15,000 less than the national average. Unsurprisingly, home values are also the lowest in the country.

With those two facts in hand, Mississippi can make a very strong argument it should actually still be the worst state (It took the top spot 2 years ago).

Nearly 8.5% of residents here are unemployed, and just about 1 in 7 homes is vacant or unoccupied. The national average for public school student spending is $12,483. In Mississippi, students only get a fraction of that financial support.

Rebel Yell? Maybe not.

4. Alabama


Source: Wikipedia

Population: 4,841,164
Median Income: $44,758 (4th worst)
Median Home Value: $128,500 (8th worst)

Alabama residents aren’t necessarily underemployed at a higher rate (they’re at the national average), but people here earn far less than the national average, per household.

Crime is significantly higher, per capita here, and the public schools spend much less than other states do on their students. And, poverty also played a factor here.

But their college football team is awesome. At least they have that.

5. Louisiana


Source: Wikipedia

Population: 4,645,670
Median Income: $45,652 (6th worst)
Median Home Value: $148,300 (18th worst)

Ah, Louisiana Unfortunately, the butt of many jokes. In this case, Louisiana’s rankings in terms of annual household income ($45,6520 a year) and the sheer number of homes that are empty (16%), means the Louisiana economy isn’t…robust.

No one can argue that Louisiana is a beautiful state. Unfortunately, science doesn’t measure beauty. It measures facts, and the fact is, Louisiana is towards the bottom when it comes to factors that people consider desirable.

6. South Carolina

South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 4,834,605
Median Income: $46,898 (9th worst)
Median Home Value: $143,600 (15th worst)

South Carolina, the butt of North Carolina, has pretty big problem when it comes to crime. That’s the leading cause of its 6th place ranking for 2018.

It scored in the bottom 30% of states for basically every category except for population density. So at least you can enjoy your squalid living conditions with your neighbors.

7. Oklahoma


Source: Wikipedia

Population: 3,875,589
Median Income: $48,038 (10th worst)
Median Home Value: $121,300 (4th worst)

The 7th worst state for 2018 goes to Oklahoma.

Home prices and incomes are some of the lowest in the country. And violence is relatively high.

Mix that with a lack of health insurance coverage and there’s little surprise that the opioid problem is taking hold in Oklahoma.

8. Arizona


Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,728,577
Median Income: $51,340 (21st worst)
Median Home Value: $176,900 (29th worst)

The first of several states out west, Arizona has several things going against it. Besides the fact that the summer months can be downright sickening, heat wise, Arizona has a surprisingly high crime rate and very poor support in its school system for its students.

Residents are still recovering from the housing mess here, and nearly 1 in 5 homes sits unoccupied or is vacant for most of the year. That’s off the charts high.

Walmart is the biggest provider of jobs in Arizona.

9. Georgia


Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,099,320
Median Income: $51,037 (20th worst)
Median Home Value: $152,400 (19th worst)

You know the saying. There’s Atlanta and there’s the rest of Georgia. According to science, both are undesirable.

When you factor in crummy insurance coverage, high crime and a high unemployment rate, things in Georgia could use a fixin’. But the population here is booming. Meaning longer commute times (and less time with the family) if you live in the Atlanta area.

10. Nevada


Source: Wikipedia

Population: 2,839,172
Median Income: $53,094 (23rd worst)
Median Home Value: $191,600 (31st worst)

More than 9.3% of the workforce of Nevada is unemployed at this time, which isn’t surprising, since nearly half of the state’s population lives in the Las Vegas metro area. And, if you’ve looked at a map in your lifetime, you’d know that Nevada doesn’t necessarily have a lot do to, outside of Vegas.

Unless you hunt rattlesnakes for a living.

Crime in Nevada is very high, and a lot of people lack insurance.

There You Have It

Like we said earlier, trying to determine the worst states in America is usually a subjective matter. But if you’re analyzing states with the worst economic situations, where there’s high crime and bad weather, this is an accurate list.

If you’re curious enough, here are the best states in the USA, according to science. Apparently, things are ‘all that’ when it comes to northeast America.

  1. New Hampshire
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Connecticut

For more ‘Murica reading, check out these:

  • These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In America
  • These Are America’s 10 Worst States To Live In
  • These Are The 10 Most Miserable Mid-Sized Cities In America
  • Detailed List Of The Worst States In America For 2018

    State Rank Population Median Income Median Home Value
    New Mexico 1 2,082,669 $45,674 $161,600
    Arkansas 2 2,968,472 $42,336 $114,700
    Mississippi 3 2,989,192 $40,528 $105,700
    Alabama 4 4,841,164 $44,758 $128,500
    Louisiana 5 4,645,670 $45,652 $148,300
    South Carolina 6 4,834,605 $46,898 $143,600
    Oklahoma 7 3,875,589 $48,038 $121,300
    Arizona 8 6,728,577 $51,340 $176,900
    Georgia 9 10,099,320 $51,037 $152,400
    Nevada 10 2,839,172 $53,094 $191,600
    Tennessee 11 6,548,009 $46,574 $146,000
    Florida 12 19,934,451 $48,900 $166,800
    Texas 13 26,956,435 $54,727 $142,700
    North Carolina 14 9,940,828 $48,256 $157,100
    West Virginia 15 1,846,092 $42,644 $107,400
    Missouri 16 6,059,651 $49,593 $141,200
    Alaska 17 736,855 $74,444 $257,100
    Montana 18 1,023,391 $48,380 $199,700
    Michigan 19 9,909,600 $50,803 $127,800
    Kentucky 20 4,411,989 $44,811 $126,100
    Indiana 21 6,589,578 $50,433 $126,500
    Oregon 22 3,982,267 $53,270 $247,200
    Kansas 23 2,898,292 $53,571 $135,300
    Idaho 24 1,635,483 $49,174 $167,900
    South Dakota 25 851,058 $52,078 $146,700
    Ohio 26 11,586,941 $50,674 $131,900
    California 27 38,654,206 $63,783 $409,300
    Illinois 28 12,851,684 $59,196 $174,800
    Nebraska 29 1,881,259 $54,384 $137,300
    Utah 30 2,948,427 $62,518 $224,600
    Colorado 31 5,359,295 $62,520 $264,600
    Washington 32 7,073,146 $62,848 $269,300
    Wyoming 33 583,029 $59,143 $199,900
    Iowa 34 3,106,589 $54,570 $132,800
    Delaware 35 934,695 $61,017 $233,100
    North Dakota 36 736,162 $59,114 $164,000
    Maine 37 1,329,923 $50,826 $176,000
    Wisconsin 38 5,754,798 $54,610 $167,000
    Pennsylvania 39 12,783,977 $54,895 $167,700
    New York 40 19,697,457 $60,741 $286,300
    Rhode Island 41 1,054,491 $58,387 $238,200
    Maryland 42 5,959,902 $76,067 $290,400
    Minnesota 43 5,450,868 $63,217 $191,500
    Hawaii 44 1,413,673 $71,977 $538,400
    Vermont 45 626,249 $56,104 $218,900
    Virginia 46 8,310,301 $66,149 $248,400
    New Jersey 47 8,915,456 $73,702 $316,400
    Connecticut 48 3,588,570 $71,755 $269,300
    Massachusetts 49 6,742,143 $70,954 $341,000
    New Hampshire 50 1,327,503 $68,485 $239,700

    Like RoadSnacks on Facebook:

     Rankings, Worst 

    Facebook Discussion


    35 thoughts on “These Are 10 Worst States In America For 2018

    1. I grew up in North Dakota (28 years). I live in Washington now (39 years). Comparison? None.

      Hands-down, Washington is a better place to live, work, and find friends. Mountains, rivers, temperate climate, many backpacking trails, places to go and things to do. Educated, tolerant, and aware people live here compared to grade-school level farmers and ex-farmers working for minimum wage in North Dakota.

      Once I finished college and found that regardless of North Dakota’s perennial 4% unemployment rate, I couldn’t find ANY job, I moved west. I pity the residue who stayed, pity them.

      When I’ve visited back, I’ve met people who looked like the ones I used to know but who had never changed, never grown.

      1. Well I guess you consider yourself educated however the stats would show a different story than you paint of the state. Most retired or former farmers that you note are most likely worth millions in the bank. William County ND has an average salary of $70,000 per year even with the downturn in the oil industry. I guess there was a reason you did not find work in ND but its probably more related to your lack of intelligence than anything related to ND. Enjoy yourself but I really don’t think we are looking for any low wage earners so no need to look for employment here in North Dakota.

      2. WA is a cesspool. If you’re a vampire, might be nice, but the constant grey and 55 degrees 10 months out of the year – oh wait all 12 because at night it’s still 50 bloody degrees. Have to have winter clothes out all year round. Barely get a summer. And people are cold and passive-aggressive. I’m trying to leave after 20 soggy, soul-sucking years.

      3. I am from Minnesota, but last year I moved to North Dakota & I was not that impress with it at all. The nearest town is between 30 to 60 miles away. you
        will see a lot of tumbleweeds. I will go there to visit but that is about it.

    2. Yeah, pretty sure that isn’t Santa Fe up there in #7.
      That is Santa Fe Station in Forth Worth, Texas.
      It is bad enough that some people don’t even know that NM is a state. Then you have to go and put in an image that isn’t from our state.

    3. Why not just poll residents and rank the states based on the percentage of people who would rather live elsewhere? I can think of no more accurate indication of desirability than one where you measure the amount of people who want out.

      As soon as you factored in public education, you exposed your bias and tilted the results. Maybe they counted for something once upon a time but today they are little more than babysitting and indoctrination centers.

    4. What about taxes? Don’t taxes factor into this?

      And who in their right mind makes population density a *positive*??? New Jersey cannot possibly be the 9th best place to live in the USA, but that’s what this “scientific” analysis shows.

      If that’s not proof positive that you need to reconsider your technique, I don’t know what is.

    5. How about the quality of the people living there? Virginia might have the highest rate of a$$holes in the country, and I have lived in several states, including NY. New Yorkers have a reputation for being jerks, but my 12 years there proved it unfounded. Virginians are jerks for the sake of being jerks. And oh, by the way, they’re better than you are. In fact, the worst of them is better than the best of you from anywhere else. Virginia is where Southern hospitality goes to die.

      1. Being right next to them in Maryland I agree! I imagine you have some choice words for us too but I have to say, everytime I visited NY people were nice…definitely nicer than they’ve ever been in VA.

      2. I’ve been noticing that about Washington. Seattle has a reputation for being “Brainy” but honestly living here for two years now, I’ve not seen a trace of that to be true. The medical professionals here are top notch without a doubt, but the general populace, not so much. Not only are they poorly read and completely unaware of what’s going on in the world, but arrogant as well. Many of them lack manners and politeness. Very bland, dry personalities. It’s like if the people here were represented by a color that color would be beige. The lot of them walk around cranky, depressed and moody. They’ll look for ANY reason to bitch and complain so working any kind of customer service here is pure hell. Washingtonians need to have their asses kissed and powdered otherwise they get pissy. Similar to how you have to speak to children. Once I finish my degree I’m flying the coop. The natural environment is something special. It’s very beautiful and rich in nature, but the people and their pissy attitudes ruin it. I’m also a New Yorker born and raised so the adjustment has been quite challenging to say the least. The population lacks any sort of vibrancy.