The 10 US States With The Best Quality of Life

A father and son enjoy time together on the beach. Work-life balance is one indicator of quality of life.
A father and son enjoy time together on the beach. Work-life balance is one indicator of quality of life.

For the past half a century, the U.S policy makers have implemented several regulations to ensure that there is a coherent existence between the people and the environment. Acts such as the Clean Air Act ensures that air pollution is limited while the Clean Water Act ensures that there is controlled disposal of pollutants and waste into the water bodies. The laws help preserve natural resources and prevent humanity from disposing harmful toxins that might harm others and the environment. Apart from living in a healthy environment, the quality of life is also influenced by how they interact with the people around them. Several studies show that people who feel socially accepted and supported are happier and are physically and mentally healthier.

A recent report by U.S News and Mckinsey and Company ranked the states in terms of the quality of life. The ranking was based on two variables; the natural environment and social environment. Both variables were weighed equally.

Natural Environment

The natural environment considered factors such as the quality of drinking water, industrial toxins, pollution health risk, and urban air quality. The quality of drinking water must adhere to the guidelines provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Industrial toxins metric evaluates the amount and intensity of toxic chemicals generated in a state per square mile. It analyzes air and water pollution, effects of mining, and the handling of hazardous materials. The pollution health risk metric determines the effects of these pollutants per capita. Factors measured include the long-term impact and chronic human health. The Urban air quality compares the air quality in the urban environment against the threshold provided by the Environmental Protection Agency's Air Quality Index.

Social Environment

The social environment accounts for personal satisfaction and the participation of people in social events such as volunteer programs, youth programs, religious gatherings, sporting events, and parades. The social environment also accounts for the average and frequency of satisfaction of the participants. Thirdly, social environment measures the willingness of the people to engage in the electoral process which includes the congressional and presidential elections.

The 10 US States With The Best Quality Of Life

North Dakota was ranked the best state in terms of the quality of life. The state has the second best natural environment and the third best social environment. Minnesota ranked second. It ranked 12th in natural environment and 4th in social environment. Wisconsin and New Hampshire ranked 3rd and 4th respectively. Wisconsin fared better than New Hampshire in social environment ranking 5th compared to 7th. However, New Hampshire fared better in natural environment, ranking 13th compared to 20th for Wisconsin. South Dakota and Mississippi ranked fifth and Sixth respectively. South Dakota ranked 6th in natural environment and 14th in social environment while Mississippi ranked 9th and 17 in both variables respectively. Arkansas and New Mexico ranked seventh and eighth respectively. Arkansas ranked 5th in natural environment and 21st in social environment while New Mexico ranked 17th in natural environment and 11th in social environment. Iowa and Colorado took up the ninth and tenth positions. Iowa ranked 18th in natural environment while Colorado ranked 18th. Their social environments were ranked 10th and 20th respectively.

US States With The Worst Quality Of Life

Surprisingly, California was ranked the state with the worst quality of life although it is America's largest economy. New Jersey ranked second last and it ranked 32nd in natural environment and second last in social environment. Indiana ranked third last, ranking 46th in natural environment and 43rd in social environment. Illinois and Texas completed the five states with the worst quality of life.

The 10 US States With The Best Quality of Life

Rank´╗┐StateNatural EnvironmentSocial Environment
1 North Dakota23
2 Minnesota124
3 Wisconsin205
4 New Hampshire137
5 South Dakota614
6 Mississippi917
7 Arkansas521
8 New Mexico1711
9 Iowa1810
10 Colorado820

More in Society