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Pride of Place

There is a rather unusual poll out from Gallup. In the poll, they asked residents of all 50 states to rate their own state as the best place to live. Thus, the survey was not based on objective measures like crime rates or cost of living, but was completely subjective. Or put another way, the poll measures state pride.

Here are the results. The numbers show the percentage of state residents who say that their state is either the best, or one of the best possible to live in:

poll results
© Gallup and USA Today

Some interesting results:

  • Most of the top states are mountainous and have cold weather.
  • Most of the top states are in the west, with the exception of New Hampshire and Vermont.
  • Most of the bottom states are in the eastern half of the country, with the exception of New Mexico.
  • Most of the top states have relatively low population, with the exception of Texas. Traditionally, Texans have a somewhat overblown view of their home state. In fact, Texas had the highest percentage of people who said that their state was THE best to live.
  • 25% of people in Illinois say that their state is the worst place to live (followed by Rhode Island and Connecticut, both with 17%).


  1. Hassan wrote:

    “Texans have a somewhat overblown view of their home state”
    What does that mean? I live here because I really like it, Should I pretend to hate it?

    “Texas had the highest percentage of people who said that their state was THE best to live.”

    Montana, Utah, Wyoming are higher, Texas comes 4th (from the map above)

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 6:37 am | Permalink
  2. il-08 wrote:

    I concur with the survey of my state.

    (Hassan, the numbers on the map are the percentages of those who say ONE of the top states, Texas was number one in the number of people who say THE top state. True or not, us non-Texans believe that y’all have a very overblown view of yourselves! Love the barbeque though!)

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 7:08 am | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    Hassan, I lived in Texas for over a decade and have family living there. Are you not familiar with common sayings like “Everything’s bigger in Texas”, “Don’t mess with Texas”, and with the famous Texas swagger? Even Wikipedia talks about the “bigger-than-life attitude” of Texans.

    As IL-08 points out, there were four possible answers in the survey: that your state was THE worst to live in, that it was one of the worst, that it was one of the best, and that it was THE best. As the survey discusses, in most states people identified their state as one of the best and were reluctant to call it THE best, except for Texans.

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink
  4. wildwood wrote:

    I used to live in Texas, and would not move back there for any reason. There are parts that are truly beautiful, but the state as a whole, sucks.

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 8:41 am | Permalink
  5. Michael wrote:

    Not meaning to pick on just Iowa, per se, but when I see “56% of Iowa residents think their state is one of the best places to live,” I can’t help but think this: In related news, 56% of Iowa residents have never left their state. I could say the same thing about plenty of other states, too, so it’s not just Iowa. But I’ve been to most states (last count was around 42), and I can tell you that some of those respondents are deluded.

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink
  6. John G wrote:

    Actually, I think the survey measures capacity for self-delusion.

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    Well, and I guess that’s the point. A state can get a high rating because people really do love living there, or it can get a high rating because people there are delusional.

    I subscribe to the theory that everything averages out in the end. If a state has perfect weather, it becomes overcrowded and expensive (like California and Hawaii). If it has poor weather, it finds other ways to make up for that. If it has lots of jobs, the environment suffers. And so forth.

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink
  8. I used to live in Texas, and would not move back there for any reason. There are parts that are truly beautiful, but the state as a whole, sucks.

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink
  9. il-08 wrote:

    Here is the strange thing about Illinois, almost everyone I know here is adamant that Chicago is the greatest city in the world. Of course most of them have only been to Detroit and Milwaukee, but the absolute confidence in the superiority of Chicago is an amazing contrast to the overall disappointment with the state, given that the state is dominated by Chicago. Except for weather, culture, architecture, cuisine, education, services, transportation, taxes, government, commerce, tolerance, recreation and cleanliness, I must agree with them.

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Permalink
  10. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    The only place I ever lived in Texas was Ft Hood just outside lovely Killeen TX and I got to tell you if people there voted Texas as the best then they truly are delusional. Now I have spent time (weeks at a time) in San Antonio and the River Walk is nice, downtown ain’t bad, and there are some nice golf courses. I couldn’t speak for the rest of the state.
    I do see my state ranked well down near the bottom and deservedly so. Beautiful places exist, but way too close to the Capital and the stench wafts over our lands.

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 6:17 pm | Permalink
  11. ebdoug wrote:

    As you said, it is the wide open spaces states that people like the best. A big secret: New York state is wide open spaces in the West. Not enough people here to balance the opinion of the east coast NY.

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 6:18 pm | Permalink
  12. ThatGuy wrote:

    I grew up in NH and I have to say I miss it a lot (live in DC and have lived in Boston as well as a shorter stint in London). While there are certainly folks there who don’t spend much time outside of New England, I think NH is pretty regularly rated as a great place to live. No sales or income tax, good skiing (for the northeast), and I believe pretty decent education from top to bottom. For me though, the reason I love NH is that it’s also surrounded by great states. Vermont and Maine are beautiful and between Boston and Cape Cod I considered Mass a second home growing up.

    But there are plenty of problems, most of which I’d say stems from a really stingy attitude by most of the population that sees funding for schools, teachers, and special needs programs underfunded. That could just be limited to where I lived though.

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 6:21 pm | Permalink
  13. Hassan wrote:

    Well, the people who commented that they hate Texas, it is no surprise they do not live here anymore. I mean if I thought Texas sucked, I would move out as well. So I am not sure why we are reading too much into these polls, although I am surprised with people who live in a particular state and yet do not like it. Perhaps moving to different place is too difficult for them.

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 8:27 pm | Permalink
  14. Michael wrote:

    My impressions of Texas are primarily based off of visits (San Antonio, Houston, Galveston, and Dallas). I’m not a Texas-hater, but I really don’t see what the big deal is. I found most of the culture and dining to be the same bland, suburbanite flare that you get just about anywhere else. That especially goes for Houston, which just seems like 500 miles of suburbs.

    IL-08, I completely agree. I must say that I do have fondness for some aspects of the city, but it has plenty of problems. For instance, the public transit system sucks. Period. I don’t care that there is a viable option to get from Wrigleyville to Logan Square by transferring between 5 different busses, where I have to wait for 10 minutes in sub-zero temperatures between each one. That system is crap. But it’s still hard to not have some nostalgia for my little apartment that only provided enough hot water for a shower that was a minute and a half long.

    Thatguy, I’d also say that VT is a great place to live for many of the same reasons. If I needed a taste of the city, it was a fairly quick jaunt to get to either Boston or Montreal (which is one of my favorite cities anywhere). Hiking, skiing, kayaking/boating on Lake Champlain, plenty of great microbreweries, good coffeeshops and independent restaurants (though some were horrible). Overall, I find New England states have a lot of character that other areas of the country lack.

    Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink
  15. ThatGuy wrote:

    Michael, Vermont is certainly great. I love microbrews and you can certainly find a lot of good ones in VT (and ME, NH, and MA for that matter). I’ve spent a decent amount of time there skiing and snowboarding on weekends and vacations. I’m definitely biased toward New England, but there are still plenty of places left to travel to.

    Hassan, you’re absolutely right. A lot of people would probably like to move but are tied down by a job or lack thereof or possibly family matters that keep them from going too far. Then there’s just basic inertia, as moving is a pretty big undertaking.

    Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink
  16. wildwood wrote:

    Deciding to move is sometimes, better the devil you know.

    Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Permalink
  17. Iron Knee wrote:

    Ironically, I’m just about to move to a new state. I just got recruited to work on a project at Google. Busy packing.

    Wow, if anyone is curious what I look like, there is a pretty good likeness of me in this comic. I’m the green one on the left.

    Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink
  18. Michael wrote:

    Btw, Hassan, I would like to allay fears that you had in previous discussions regarding LGBT non-discrimination laws. I thought you would be relieved to hear that, since you live in Texas–which has no laws forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation–you’re in the clear. So, if you were a photographer or baker, you could refuse your services for gay weddings. If you own a car dealership, you can refuse to sell a car to someone who is gay. If you have a lesbian employee, you can fire her without repercussion. If a gay person wants to by your software in order to calculate the 10,000,000,000th digit of Pi, you can refuse to serve them with impunity.

    Whatever your business is, you can legally discriminate against any LGBT person without legal consequences. So all those points you made earlier about being forced to violate your religious conscience don’t apply. You’re safe.

    Friday, May 2, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink