The 10 Worst US States for Opportunity

Not every state offers the same level of opportunities to its residents.
Not every state offers the same level of opportunities to its residents.

The United States is often referred to as a great place to live and work. Many people apply for visas and work permits to seek opportunities in different states. Opportunities are the 4th most important parameter among the eight factors taken into consideration when ranking the states. Nevertheless, in a land of so many opportunities, not all states are created equally. The disparity in chances for opportunities and success differs due to economic and historical impediments. Below are the worst US states for opportunities.

Worst States for Opportunity


Louisiana State is ranked as the worst state after considering economic opportunities, equality, and affordability. With one of the highest unemployment rates, the state has a job growth of less than 1%. The citizens have had to endure tough economic times in the last fifty years leading to massive migration hence the many empty homes. The education system is among the worst. In spite of being a beautiful state, the state ranks at the bottom on factors people consider desirable.


Mississippi is characterized by a poor economy and the worst workforce. The environment is considered unfriendly to operate a business. The value of homes is the lowest comparatively with one in every 7 homes vacant or unoccupied. The median household income is as low as about $40,000. Despite a population of about three million people, the state has been unable to provide the basic amenities, job opportunities, and schooling infrastructure. The Magnolia State is ranked 50th in economic opportunities, 27th in equality and 13th in affordability.


The Alabama State is ranked 3rd worst in opportunities mainly due to poor remuneration for employees. The workforce earns below the national average per household.Allocation to public schools is lesser than in other states. Crime rates are comparatively higher. The recent job growth is about 0.04% while the cost of living index is at 91.2. Alabama is ranked 48th in economic opportunities though in terms of affordability it is ranked 17th. Equality is at position 39 making it an unequal society.


Texas is ranked 37th in terms of economic prosperity. The rating is made worse by the equality parameter where the State is 45th. Such inequality is experienced in education gap, income gap plus employment gap by gender and race. Rated among the rapidly growing economies, Texas is an expensive state to live in. Taxes on properties are among the highest in the nation. Texas is a very competitive state making opportunities available to only the most aggressive people. Texas is rated the 24th most affordable state.


The state that hosts the Silicon Valley has many golden opportunities giving it a high reputation. However, on the ground, unemployment rates are as high as 5.70%, a figure too high in the US. The cost of living is the second highest after Hawaii. Job growth is at a low of 2.18% and the cost of living index is at 135.9. Affordability of housing and other basics is a challenge to many. California ranks 30th in economic opportunities 22nd in equality and 49th in affordability.

Opportunity Ranking

States are always ranked using specific criteria in accordance with the ability to provide opportunities to citizens. Some of the indicators used are employment opportunities, home values, median household income, level of college education and poverty levels among others. The factors that were crunched to arrive at the worst states can be classified into economic opportunities, equality, and affordability which accounts for 40%, 40%, and 20% respectively.

The 10 Worst US States for Opportunity

Rank´╗┐StateEconomic OpportunityEqualityAffordability
1 Louisiana494219
2 Mississippi502713
3 Alabama483917
4 Texas374524
5 California302249
6 Arizona383734
7 New Mexico461727
8 New York35548
9 Idaho284825
10 Arkansas471912

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