Dylan Scott is a GOVERNING staff writer.E-mail: email@example.com
In the future, Utah looks like it will be the best state to live, according to a new Gallup poll that combines a cross-section of metrics to determine a state's livability.
Across the 13 metrics that Gallup used to rank states, Utah averaged 7.5 out of 50 -- the highest average of any state. Minnesota, Colorado, Nebraska and North Dakota rounded out the top five; while Mississippi, Kentucky, Nevada, Arkansas and West Virginia (which ranked the lowest) finished in the bottom five.
Gallup conducted more than 500,000 interviews over the course of 18 months to determine each state's future livability. The poll's questions covered a broad range of a state's condition including economic confidence, health habits and perceptions about whether a city/state is getting better or worse, to name a few.
Utah surpassed nearly every state for having low smoking habits, access to clean water and the perception that the area is improving. Minnesota prevailed in economic confidence and access to a safe place to exercise, while North Dakota led the job creation index and those employed full-time.
On the other hand, West Virginia ranked at the bottom in five of the 13 categories: economic confidence, safe places to exercise, obesity, smoking habits and learning new information on a daily basis. Mississippi bottomed out in three indexes of its own: dentist visits, full-time employment and having a supervisor who treats you like a partner -- not a boss.
On sheer standards of living, Hawaiians were most likely to say theirs were getting better, while Maine's residents were most likely to say they were getting worse. On a general perception that one's city and state is getting better or getting worse, South Dakotans were the most favorable, while Nevadans were the least.