What Every State in America Is Best—and Worst—At
From having the most dog-friendly cities to dealing with the highest obesity rates, here are the best—and worst—qualities of each of the 50 states.
Best: College football — “Roll Tide!” That’s what you’ll hear all across the state as they cheer on the University of Alabama’s football team, which has won the most national football championships of any college team (11) since 1936.
Worst: High infant mortality — However, the state definitely isn’t scoring any points when it comes to health care for pregnant women and infants. Alabama has the highest infant mortality rate, with 9.1 infant deaths out of every 1,000 live births.
Best: The great outdoors — Hiking, biking, canoeing… oh my! Between the breathtaking views of Denali National Park and the icy caps of Glacier Bay, Alaska is the state with the highest percentage of land set aside as national parks (it’s tied with Arizona).
Worst: Suicide rate — But despite the proven benefits of being in nature, the state has the highest rate of suicides, which sadly continues to increase year after year.
Best: Sunshine — Florida may be the official Sunshine State, but Arizona is the sunniest state. In fact, Yuma, located in the southwest corner of Arizona, is the sunniest place in the whole world, with a 90 percent chance of sun every day.
Worst: Teacher turnover — But the forecast for the state’s schools is much more gloomy. Arizona has frequently been named the worst state for teachers thanks to high turnover and teacher-to-student ratios. Find out 50 astonishing facts about the 50 states.
Best: Duck hunting — Arkansas is the real-life Duck Dynasty. Hunters come from all over the country to the state where the most ducks are harvested each season and where the World Championship Duck Calling Contest is held in Stuttgart.
Worst: Divorce — Residents of the Natural State may want to start prioritizing their marriages over mallards, though. Arkansas has the highest divorce rate in the United States of 23.4 divorces per 1,000 people.
Best: Diversity — Considered a “minority majority” state (meaning there is no single ethnic group or race that makes up the majority of the population), California has earned the title of the most diverse state in the United States.
Worst: Quality of life — However, it was also accused of having the worst quality of life based on a variety of social and environmental factors including sense of community and air pollution. Maybe that’s why in recent years, more people have been leaving California than moving there…
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Best: Being active — Year after year, Colorado tops the list of the most physically active states with low obesity rates and some of the fittest residents.
Worst: Drug overdoses — But there’s a dark side to the sun-soaked state so beloved by outdoor enthusiasts—it has the highest rate of deaths from drug overdose. It’s a rate that has even doubled in some counties over the last decade due primarily to painkillers like Percocet and Oxycontin.
Best: Making money — Hey, must be the money… that’s giving Connecticut such a good reputation. Because it’s not the roads, that’s for sure. Connecticut has the highest per-person average income of $50,392.
Worst: Partying — First is the worst—at nightlife, that is. The first state was ranked 50 out of 50 for its lack of bustling bar scene.
Best: Small-town atmosphere — But what it lacks in trendy nightclubs, it makes up for in that “everybody knows everybody” vibe you can only get in the state with the least number of counties (only 3!) and no cities with more than 100,000 people. Check out the most charming small town in each state.
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Best: Vacationing — It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Sunshine State was voted the country’s top vacation destination. After all, it’s home to Disney World, beautiful beaches, the Everglades, and more.
Worst: Treating HIV/AIDS — But with a slew of tourists and partygoers, comes something much more dangerous—drugs shared by infected needles. Hence why Florida (Miami in particular) is dealing with the highest rates of HIV diagnoses.
Best: Growing onions — Georgia may be nicknamed the Peach State, but its real claim to food fame is its Vidalia onions, which are some of the world’s sweetest onions—and they’re only grown in 20 counties in the Southern state.
Worst: Flu prevention — Georgians should be using some of those onions in one of these natural flu remedies. After all, Atlanta experienced some of the most severe levels of influenza in the United States this past winter.