Best & Worst States For Millennials


  1. Washington state
  2. Wash DC–has the highest percentage of millennials
  3. Utah
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Iowa
  6. Minnesota
  7. Colorado


  1. South Carolina
  2. Alabama
  3. Kentucky
  4. Arkansas
  5. Louisiana
  6. Nevada
  7. Mississippi
  8. New Mexico
  9. West Virginia
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For the subrank of affordability, Washington (state) is ranked #1 by this web page.

However, “affordability” is scored as follows:

States are ranked in five (5) categories:

Education & Health
Quality of Life
Economic Health
Civic Engagement

The “Quality of Life” category is the most interesting to me; Wash DC is rated #1 in this category as well as for “Education & Health”. However, the ranking/rating for “Affordability” is at #30.

The “quality of life” category is defined as follows:

And the “education and health” category is defined as follows (which seems to be a small bit of education and mostly health):

There are 8 subcategories listed beneath the chart. The first subcategory is:

Highest Percentage of Millennials:

  1. Wash DC
  2. Alaska
  3. Colorado
  4. Utah
  5. Washington state

Lowest percentage of millennials:

  1. Connecticut
  2. New Hampshire
  3. West Virginia
  4. Maine
  5. Vermont

Could this have been titled:

“Young and Vibrant” versus “Established and Steady” ?

Not sure what use such lists are. 25 year old single have very different priorities than married 40 year Olds with preteens.


I agree - “Millennials” covers a wide range of ages and stages in life.

It would have done a better job had they split by smaller age increments.

On the other hand, I do think that their categories are pretty good, though the it is more of a ranking of how well Millennials are doing in any particular state, rather than whether a state is a good place for Millennials to settle down. After all, the health and economic conditions of Millennials in a state are often the result of taxes (for example, high taxes are usually, but not always, associated with better healthcare). Many states have residents with poor healthcare but are attractive to individuals with high income and/or a good amount of accumulated wealth because of low or nonexistent state taxes.

So a state in which resident Millennials are not doing well may be attractive to other Millennials because of low taxes and low CoL.

What surprises me about this article is that it isn’t trashing Millennials for not spending lots of money on things that Boomers think are important…

Probably because the author of this piece is at the Millennial/Gen-Z cusp.

It is information for readers to consider. Many states & cities are losing & have lost millennials in significant numbers to other states & cities with better economic & social prospects.

I think that a list by city or metropolitan area would have been more interesting & useful, but I also find the list by state interesting & informative.

I’m skeptical regarding WA as an example. It all depends on the needs of the millenials. Western WA is a great location for younger and single millenials in tech fields. BUT, for families who do not have those crazy incomes, it is a tough place to find an affordable home (and has been for much longer than the last few years of real estate inflation). COL is high. Sales tax (at an age when there is a lot of purchasing needed) is also high. I’ve heard (but have no experience) that affordable child care is also extremely difficult to find.

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This is the main reason that I would prefer a list based on metropolitan areas rather than by state.

Nevertheless, while housing is expensive in the Seattle area, there are a lot of high paying jobs locally. Also, social & recreational opportunities are superb & plentiful.

Where do crime rates fit into this metric? What about schools? I agree that ranking by state is silly. It should be by city or county. Most states have areas that are just too distant.

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Not sure as to whether or not crime rates are broken down by state. I have seen crime reports for cities.

I live in MA and am both surprised (expensive) and not surprised (good healthcare, lots to see and do, people extremely well educated) that the state is ranked so well for Millenials. I’m not sure how much these findings have to do with Millenials per se or whether or not it is just a reflection of each particular state - i.e. MA is a healthy state with lower levels of obesity etc, very high levels of education and good wages (and high housing costs on the down side) for all residents - not just Millenials.


I agree that a state-wide ranking is necessarily a compromise.

I suspect my D will be happier in WalletHub’s own #11 Best Big City Raleigh than she would in the moonshine/Appalachia region of North Carolina, resulting in a mid pack ranking for the state.


I find it interesting that states such as Iowa (5th) & North Dakota (8th) are among the top 8 states for millennials, yet the economically thriving state of Texas, which has many large cities, is only the 19th best state for millennials.

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@Publisher - that’s why I never put much stock into these sort of rankings. It’s the same for the ones that rank the “best” places for retirees. So much depends upon a persons priorities and preferences as well as many other factors.