West Virginia Is the Worst State for Millennials to Live In

If you're a young person looking to plant some roots, this is the state to avoid.

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Millennials have the reputation of being lazy, spoiled, and entitled. And while that may be true for some members of this demographic, the reality is that achieving full "adulthood" isn't as easy as it used to be. In fact, a 2017 analysis of Federal Reserve data found that millennials today are earning 20 percent less than baby boomers were at their age, so their finances are particularly tight. As a result, many young people these days are heading to smaller cities or suburban areas where they can enjoy a quality of life closer to that of their parents. And now, thanks to a new study from the financial services website WalletHub, we know which state they should rule out altogether.

WalletHub deduced the best and worst states for millennials using metrics such as a city's population of people in their 20s and early 30s, unemployment rate, voter-turnout rate, and so on. Massachusetts received the top spot, which may be surprising given that it's one of the more expensive places to live in America. But while it ranked relatively low for affordability, it also got top marks for education and health, economic health, and overall quality of life for young people. Following Massachusetts was the District of Columbia, Washington, and Minnesota (which was also recently crowned the least stressed state in America).

WalletHub found that many of the worst states for millennials were located in the South—like Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Louisiana (which was recently named the most stressed state in America due to a high poverty rate, high divorce rate, and lack of housing affordability).

But the absolute worst state for millennials, according to WalletHub's study? West Virginia. While the state does have low housing costs for young people, it scored very low for education and health, and it received the worst scores for economic health, civic engagement, and overall quality of life.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, West Virginia's unemployment rate is 5.2 percent, which is about 1.5 percent above the national average. The state's poverty rate—19.1 percent—is one of the worst in the country and continues to increase. Considering all of these statistics, it's probably no surprise that the WalletHub study also found that West Virginia has a particularly high number of millennials suffering from depression.

So, as abundant in natural beauty as it is, sadly, West Virginia may not be the best place to launch a career or start a family. And if you are looking to relocate to a place that's known for a high quality of life, check out the 20 American States Where People Have the Most Free Time.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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