The Best (and Worst) States for Low-Income Families to Live In!

According to recent studies, the best states for low-income families to live in are Vermont, Minnesota, and North Dakota, which have higher median household incomes, lower poverty rates, and stronger social safety nets. On the other hand, the worst states for low-income families are Mississippi, Louisiana, and New Mexico, which have lower median household incomes, higher poverty rates, and fewer resources to support low-income households.

This article will discuss the states that are the best and the worst places for families with low incomes to live, as well as provide recommendations for policymakers and future study possibilities.


Criteria for Ranking the Best and Worst States for Low-Income Families

To determine the best and worst states for low-income families, several critical criteria must be considered. This section will outline the six factors that will be used to rank each state’s suitability for low-income families.


  • Cost of living:In a given location, the cost of living includes accommodation, food, transportation, healthcare, and taxes. Location, economy, and lifestyle affect the cost of living.
  • Availability of affordable housing:Many people, especially low-income families, worry about affordable housing. Affordable housing is priced below the median income in a certain area.
  • Access to healthcare:Access to healthcare refers to the ability of individuals and communities to obtain medical care and services when needed. This includes access to primary care physicians, specialists, hospitals, and prescription drugs, among other things.
  • Education opportunities:Education opportunities are tools and programs for learning and skill-building. This includes K-12 schools, colleges, universities, vocational and technical training, apprenticeships, and continuing education.
  • Job market:The job market refers to the current demand and supply of employment opportunities in a particular location or industry. It includes both the number and types of jobs available, as well as the qualifications and skills required to obtain them.
  • Tax policies:Tax rules determine how individuals and corporations pay taxes to fund government programs and services. Taxes affect individuals, businesses, and the economy.


These factors allow us to identify states where low-income families have the highest possibility of improving their financial status and those where they may struggle. This information can help policymakers and families decide where to live and where to devote resources to help low-income households.


The 5 Best States for Low-Income Families

In the United States, low-income families often struggle to make ends meet, particularly when it comes to affording basic necessities like housing, healthcare, and education. However, some states are more affordable and supportive of low-income families than others. Here are the five best states for low-income families based on factors such as cost of living, access to social services, and quality of life.

1. Vermont

Vermont is known for having one of the highest minimum wages in the country. As of January 2022, the minimum wage in Vermont is $12.75 per hour, which is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The state also has strong labor protections and regulations to protect workers’ rights and ensure fair wages.

Vermont is also known for its affordable healthcare options. The state has its own healthcare exchange, which offers a range of affordable health insurance options for individuals and families. Additionally, the state offers several programs to help residents with healthcare costs, including Medicaid and the Dr. Dynasaur program for children.

In terms of social services, Vermont has an extensive network of programs to support its residents. These include programs for affordable housing, food assistance, and childcare subsidies. The state also has a strong education system, with well-funded public schools and a range of higher education institutions.

Overall, Vermont is a state that values its residents’ well-being and has made significant investments in social services, healthcare, and labor protections to ensure a high quality of life for all.


2. Minnesota

Minnesota is a state located in the midwestern region of the United States. It is known for having a strong education system, which includes some of the top-ranked public schools and universities in the country. This provides a strong foundation for future economic success for individuals who receive a quality education.

Minnesota also has an affordable housing market, making it easier for residents to find affordable homes or apartments to rent or purchase. Affordable housing is important for residents’ overall financial stability and allows them to invest in other areas of their lives, such as education or retirement savings.

Minnesota has a strong healthcare system, with numerous hospitals and medical centers throughout the state, providing affordable healthcare options for its residents. The state also offers healthcare subsidies and assistance programs for those who cannot afford health insurance, ensuring that all residents have access to basic healthcare services.


3. Colorado

Colorado is a state in the western United States that boasts a number of attractive features for residents and visitors alike. One of the state’s strengths is its low unemployment rate, which was just 3.6% in December 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that there are many job opportunities available for those who live in the state or are looking to move there.

Another benefit of living in Colorado is the availability of affordable housing options. While housing prices have increased in recent years, particularly in the Denver metropolitan area, the cost of living in Colorado is still lower than in many other states in the country. In addition, there are a variety of housing options available, including apartments, townhomes, and single family homes, which makes it easier for people of different income levels to find a place to live.


4. Massachusetts

One of the biggest draws of Massachusetts is its thriving job market, with a low unemployment rate and a wide variety of industries that offer high-paying jobs. The state is home to many major companies in fields such as biotechnology, finance, and technology, as well as a number of renowned universities and research institutions.

In terms of healthcare, Massachusetts is known for its high-quality medical facilities and extensive health insurance coverage. The state implemented a universal healthcare program in 2006, which has helped to ensure that all residents have access to affordable healthcare options.

Massachusetts is also home to some of the best educational institutions in the country, including Harvard University, MIT, and Boston University. The state has a well-funded education system, with strong public schools and a variety of private schools and higher education institutions.


5. Utah

Utah is known for its low cost of living, high job growth, and affordable healthcare options, making it an attractive destination for people looking for a good quality of life. The state’s cost of living is below the national average, with affordable housing options and relatively low taxes. This makes it easier for residents to save money and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.

Utah has one of the fastest job growth rates in the country, thanks to a thriving tech industry and a strong economy. This means there are plenty of job opportunities for residents and a relatively low unemployment rate. The state also has a reputation for providing affordable healthcare options. The University of Utah Health Care System is one of the top-rated healthcare providers in the country, and there are plenty of other medical facilities throughout the state.

In addition to its low cost of living, strong job market, and affordable healthcare options, Utah offers residents access to a wide range of outdoor recreational activities. The state is known for its scenic beauty, with five national parks and numerous hiking, skiing, and mountain biking trails.


The 5 Worst States for Low-Income Families

Living in poverty is challenging, and it’s even harder for low-income families who struggle to make ends meet. While many states offer programs to help those in need, some have better resources than others. In this article, we will highlight the 5 worst states for low-income families based on factors such as poverty rates, access to healthcare, and affordability.

1. Mississippi

Mississippi is known for having the highest poverty rate in the United States, with over 19% of the population living below the poverty line. This poverty rate is often attributed to a lack of access to education and job opportunities, which can perpetuate a cycle of poverty for many families. Additionally, Mississippi has limited access to healthcare, with a shortage of healthcare providers and high rates of uninsured individuals.

The state’s poverty and healthcare challenges are reflected in its health outcomes, which are among the poorest in the country. Mississippi has high rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, and its residents face significant barriers to accessing healthcare services, such as long travel distances and limited availability of healthcare providers.

Despite these challenges, Mississippi has made efforts to improve its healthcare system in recent years, such as expanding Medicaid eligibility and increasing funding for rural healthcare facilities. However, there is still much work to be done to address the root causes of poverty and improve access to quality healthcare for all residents of Mississippi.


2. Louisiana

With a poverty rate of over 18%, Louisiana ranks among the worst states for low-income families. The state also has high crime rates and a low minimum wage. Louisiana has a poverty rate that is above the national average and ranks among the worst states for low-income families.

Additionally, the state has a relatively low minimum wage compared to other states, which can make it difficult for residents to make ends meet. Louisiana also has a high crime rate, particularly in urban areas like New Orleans. Despite these challenges, Louisiana does have some positives, including a vibrant cultural scene and a strong tourism industry centered around attractions like Mardi Gras and Cajun cuisine.


3. New Mexico

New Mexico is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It has a population of around 2.1 million people and a land area of 121,590 square miles. While New Mexico is known for its rich cultural heritage and beautiful landscapes, it also faces some significant challenges.

One of the biggest challenges in New Mexico is poverty. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the state has one of the highest child poverty rates in the country, with more than 25% of children living in poverty. This can have significant implications for the health and well-being of families in the state, as poverty is often associated with limited access to healthcare and other essential resources.

In addition to poverty, New Mexico also faces challenges in providing affordable healthcare to its residents. The state has a high uninsured rate, which means that many families struggle to access the medical care they need. This can lead to health problems going untreated, which can ultimately result in higher healthcare costs and reduced productivity.

Despite these challenges, there are also many positive aspects of living in New Mexico. The state has a rich cultural heritage, with a diverse population that includes Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo communities. New Mexico is also known for its beautiful landscapes, including the Sandia Mountains and the Rio Grande River. Finally, the state has a thriving arts and culture scene, with many festivals and events that celebrate the unique heritage of the region.


4. Alabama

Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Despite having a relatively low cost of living compared to other states, Alabama has a high poverty rate, which is one of the highest in the country. According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2019, the poverty rate in Alabama was 16.2%, compared to the national average of 10.5%. The poverty rate among children in Alabama is even higher, with 23.4% of children living in poverty.

In addition to the high poverty rate, many families in Alabama struggle to access affordable housing and healthcare. According to a report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Alabama has a shortage of affordable and available rental homes for low-income renters, with only 31 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 extremely low-income renter households. This can make it difficult for families to find safe and affordable housing.

Access to healthcare is also a challenge for many families in Alabama. The state has one of the highest rates of uninsured residents in the country, with 10% of the population lacking health insurance in 2019. This can make it difficult for families to access needed medical care and can lead to financial hardship due to high medical costs.


5. Arkansas

Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. With a population of over 3 million people, Arkansas is known for its natural beauty, including hot springs, rivers, and mountains. However, the state also faces several challenges related to poverty and healthcare.

Arkansas has a poverty rate of over 16%, which is higher than the national average. This means that many families in the state struggle to make ends meet and may have difficulty accessing basic necessities like food, housing, and healthcare. The state also has a high percentage of children living in poverty, which can have long-term impacts on their health and well-being.

Access to healthcare is another major challenge in Arkansas. The state has one of the highest uninsured rates in the country, meaning that many residents may not be able to afford necessary medical care. This is especially concerning for families with children, who may need regular check-ups and preventative care to stay healthy.

Living in poverty is difficult, and it’s important for low-income families to have access to resources and support. While these states may present challenges for families, there are still programs and organizations that can provide assistance. By working together, we can help support those who need it most.



Living in poverty is a daily struggle for many families in the United States. The state where these families reside can significantly impact their quality of life. This article explored the best and worst states for low-income families to live in.

The five best states are Massachusetts, New Jersey, Minnesota, Colorado, and Vermont, which all offer a variety of advantages and resources for low-income families to help them achieve economic stability and improve their quality of life. The five worst states are Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and West Virginia, which have high poverty rates and limited resources for low-income families.

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