New Survey Reveals How Americans Ranked Every U.S. State from Best to Worst

This ranking was destined to spark controversy.

Waterfall near Queen's Bath at sunset, Kauai, Hawaii
Kauai, Hawaii | Shutterstock
Kauai, Hawaii | Shutterstock

The beauty of the United States is that, while we're united, we're made up of 50 diverse states that each bring something different to the table. Some are mind-blowingly scenic, some have unbelievably rad residents, and each has its own cuisine, culture, and traditions.

Of course all states are valuable, but there's no harm in having a little fun figuring out which states are supreme. Data analytics company YouGov decided to do the dirty work and conduct polls to gauge American's opinions on each of the 50 states. Then, YouGov compiled its findings into a ranking of every state from best to worst.

Americans who were surveyed were asked to choose the better of two states in a series of head-to-head matchups. Each state's win-to-loss ratio determined its rank in the list, which to be clear, is a strange way to rank things, but provides interesting results nonetheless. See the chart below for the juicy results.

Courtesy of YouGov

There's a lot to unpack here. Unfortunately, it's hard to fight the results because they're quite literally decided by the people, but all I'll say is that if this list was based on beauty alone, I'd have issues with a few of the top 10.

Hawaii earned the coveted top spot, which checks out because truly who doesn't love and admire Hawaii? It has beaches, waterfalls, volcanoes, and comfortable weather year-round.

On the flipside, Alabama landed at the bottom, which is more a reflection on outsiders' knowledge of the state than it is on the state itself. It may not be known for its scenery, but it has charming citiesmust-see ghost towns, and access to the gulf of Mexico—so let's give it some credit.

In a shock to many and delight to some, California didn't make the top 10 despite its diverse beauty and notable cities. That said, it's nice to see other states getting the spotlight. Check out the full ranking, according to the YouGov results, below:

Every US State, Ranked from Best to Worst

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

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Kyler Alvord is a news writer at Thrillist. Find him on Twitter and Instagram. Or don't. It's really up to you.