Millennials on the move: the best and worst states to live in

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

Steer clear of Southern states

For Millennials looking to buy a home, a new ranking suggests heading anywhere but the South. That’s where the majority of the nation’s worst states for Millennials are located, with New Mexico, West Virginia and Mississippi leading the pack.

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Where to move

According to a new ranking from WalletHub, the District of Columbia is the single best place for Millennials to move. Taking the top spot in the quality of life, civic engagement and education/health categories, it out-ranks every other state in the nation for Millennial living.

Coming in a close second is North Dakota, which ranks first in affordability and economic health. Its quality of life ranking is also among the best in the country.

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Rounding out the top 10 best Millennial states are Minnesota, Massachusetts, Iowa, Wisconsin, Utah, Nebraska, Colorado and South Dakota. Texas is the highest-ranked southern state at No. 17.

Iowa came in No. 1 for lowest Millennial housing costs, followed by West Virginia, Kentucky, Arkansas and North Dakota, while the highest Millennial homeownership rates are in Minnesota, West Virginia, Indiana, Utah and Delaware.

Millennial income is highest in D.C., New York, Massachusetts, Washington and California, while Millennial unemployment rates are lowest in North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and Utah.

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Where not to move

The South claimed nine of the 10 worst states for Millennials, with New Mexico coming in dead last. Though it had poor ratings across every category, it ranked nearly last in quality of life and economic health.

West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Florida also made the list of the worst states for Millennials. Nevada was the only non-Southern state at the bottom of the list.

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The highest Millennial housing costs are in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, California and Hawaii, while the lowest rate of homeownership among Millennials is in New York, Oregon, California, Hawaii and D.C.

Millennial earnings are lowest in New Mexico, Montana, Maine, Idaho and Mississippi, while the Millennial unemployment rate is highest in Alabama, Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina and Mississippi.

Get today’s rates

Want to buy a home in one of the nation’s best states for Millennials? Then shop around and see what mortgage rates you qualify for today.

Verify your new rate (Dec 3rd, 2021)