These Are the Greenest States in the Country

Boston | Shutterstock
Boston | Shutterstock

As the effects of climate change continue to manifest in unpredictable ways, making an effort to be eco-friendly has become an even bigger priority for many. And despite what may be going on at the federal level, it's true that there is a real push at state and local levels to help thwart further environmental damage. But how do all 50 states stack up against one another, and which ones deserve the most kudos?

Just in time for Earth Day on April 22, the team at WalletHub have released a new study revealing the greenest states in the country by weighing a whole slew of stats. (Not so surprising) spoiler alert: Vermont is killing it.

Figuring out how eco-friendly a particular place is can be complicated, so the research team at WalletHub used a special rubric to make the call. They compared all 50 states in three key categories: environmental quality, eco-friendly behaviors, and climate-change contributions. Specifically, they consulted stats in 23 different metrics from air and water quality, to green buildings and carbon dioxide emissions per capita, to green transportation options and renewable energy consumption. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the good ol' state of Vermont won the top spot as greenest state in America, while Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, and South Dakota rounded out the top five.

At the bottom of the rankings this year is West Virginia, sharing company with Louisiana, Kentucky, North Dakota, and Alabama, which were among the least green.

Here's how the full lineup stacks up.

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

Beyond the rankings, there are some other findings and stats from WalletHub's number-crunching worth taking a look at. For instance, Wyoming may be at the bottom in terms of its eco-friendliness, but it boasts the cleanest air in the country (California has the worst). Also interesting to note: traditionally blue states are more eco-friendly than traditionally red states by a margin of almost three to one. 

West Virginia, maybe hop on the phone with Vermont? They're probably willing to help point you in the right direction?

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