Best and Worst States to Make a Living

Make a Living Hawaii is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there, according to, which has made a new list of the best and worst states for making a living, based on factors like wages, unemployment rates, taxes and the cost of living. Who knew that Illinois would look so good?

To come up with the numbers, calculated an adjusted average income for each state, your chances of finding a job according to unemployment rates, how much you would lose to state taxes and how much purchasing power that income would have based on the cost of living in that state. The average across all states was $35,960.

Conditions vary greatly from state to state; for example, in February 2011, the unemployment rate in Nevada was 13.6 percent but only 3.7 percent in North Dakota. The fact that Nevada has no state income tax can't even bring its numbers up, but two others have no state income tax, Texas and Washington, did make the top 10 list.

The 10 best states for earning a living

Includes each state's corresponding annual adjusted average income.

  1. Illinois -- $41,987
  2. Washington -- $41,456
  3. Texas -- $41,427
  4. Virginia -- $41,120
  5. Delaware -- $39,105
  6. Massachusetts -- $38,665
  7. Georgia -- $38,228
  8. Tennessee -- $38,038
  9. Colorado -- $38,020
  10. Minnesota -- $37,722

The 10 worst states for earning a living

Includes each state's corresponding annual adjusted average income.

  1. Hawaii -- $22,108
  2. Maine -- $29,159
  3. Montana -- $29,496
  4. California -- $29,772
  5. Vermont -- $29,986
  6. Oregon -- $30,343
  7. Rhode Island -- $30,612
  8. Mississippi -- $30,953
  9. West Virginia -- $31,357
  10. South Carolina -- $31,627

"Job seekers who consider relocating for work may want to investigate their options to ensure they're not simply trading one bad set of employment conditions for another," advises Richard Barrington, spokesman and personal finance expert for "There are states you might want to avoid if you're thinking of moving to improve your career."

Next:Companies Hiring This Week

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