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These Are the Best (and Worst) States for Millennials Right Now

Unfairly maligning millennials for being a bunch of entitled brats who are bad with money is tired territory, and further proves that older people are still struggling to understand the first generation to come of age in the 21st Century...

Boston | Shutterstsock
Boston | Shutterstsock

Unfairly maligning millennials for being a bunch of entitled brats who are bad with money is tired territory, and further proves that older people are still struggling to understand the first generation to come of age in the 21st Century. Let's face it, millennials are just trying to carve out a life as good as the folks who came before them while facing crippling student debt, soaring real estate costs, and a financial crisis that's stunted earning potential. But sure, let's drag them for spending too much on avocado toast.

Fortunately, there are certain parts of the country where it's easier for the constantly criticized generation to catch a break and thrive these days, according to this new map that reveals the best and worst states for millennials

In an effort to determine the best places for millennials in the US to live in 2019, the folks at WalletHub looked at huge swaths of data covering everything from affordability to job prospects, then ranked their findings accordingly. Specifically, the team weighed 36 different metrics across five different categories (affordability, education & health, quality of life, economic health, and civic engagement), including everything from the cost of a Starbucks latte and singles-friendliness, to median student loan debt and home ownership rates. 

Coming in on top as the best state for millennials right now is Massachusetts, followed by Washington, DC, with Washington state taking the number three spot. Here's how all 50 states (and DC) ranked, from worst to best. 

51. West Virginia
50. New Mexico
49. Mississippi
48.. Oklahoma
47. Louisiana
46. Arkansas
45. Nevada
44. Kentucky
43. South Carolina
42. Alabama
41. Delaware
40. Alaska
39. Montana
38. Idaho
37. Wyoming
36. Hawaii
35. Maryland
34. Maine
33. Arizona
32. Florida
31. Rhode Island
30. Georgia
29. New Jersey
28. Kansas
27. Tennessee
26. Missouri
25. Indiana
24. New Hampshire
23. South Dakota
22. Texas
21. Connecticut
20. North Carolina
19. Michigan
18. Oregon
17. Virginia
16. Nebraska
15. Ohio
14. New York
13. Vermont
12. North Dakota
11. Illinois
10. California
9. Pennsylvania
8. Utah
7. Iowa
6. Colorado
5. Wisconsin
4. Minnesota
3. Washington
2. District of Columbia
1. Massachusetts

Source: WalletHub

In addition to ranking states by their relative millennial-friendliness, the WalletHub study also points out some revealing statistics regarding how locales compare in specific areas. For instance, millennials earn the most on average in Washington, DC, while they earn the least in Maine, and the millennial unemployment rate is highest in Georgia, but lowest in North Dakota. Also, interestingly enough the state that topped the list overall, Massachusetts, has the highest housing cost while the worst-ranked state on the list -- West Virginia -- has the lowest housing cost. Needless to say, there is a lot to consider before picking up and moving. 

Then again, judging by how many millennials are more interested in traveling than anything else, the wisest move may be to invest in living somewhere that can move with them.


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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.