UTAH (ABC4) – People move to different states for many different reasons but finding the right state to live in can be a daunting task. Whether you are moving to be closer to family and friends or for work, there are many different factors to consider before packing your belongings and making the trip to a new home. Thankfully, making that decision has been made easier with a recent WalletHub report that listed Utah as one of the best states to live in 2022.
Utah ranked 13th overall after comparing all 50 states on 52 key indicators ranging from housing costs and quality of public schools to crime rates. With a score of 56.84, Utah finished just ahead of Pennsylvania (56.42) and right behind Vermont (57.52).
States were scored in five distinct categories — Affordability, Economy, Education & Health, Quality of Life, and Safety — each with a list of key indicators that fit that category. Across all five categories, the Beehive State ranked highly in three of them, notably finishing second in the country in Economy behind only North Dakota. Additionally, Utah ranked sixth in the United States in Affordability and eighth in Education & Health.
Utah ranked middle of the pack in Quality of Life, finishing 29th overall, despite WalletHub reporting Utah having the lowest average weekly work hours and the third lowest percentage of the population living in poverty. Finally, Utah ranked in the bottom 10 in Safety at 41 just behind Arizona and ahead of Missouri.
Of course, what works for one family may not work for another. So what steps should you take to decide if an area is right for you and your family?
“First, try visiting the area in person, ideally multiple times,” suggested Katrin B. Anacker, Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. “If there is time, try visiting in different seasons, different days of the week, and different times of the day.
Second, try talking to locals, maybe at a restaurant, small cafe, or grocery store. Third, read up on the area based on multiple venues to obtain a diversity of viewpoints.”
Kit McCullough, a Lecturer at the University of Michigan, suggests not to overlook the cost of your commute in a new state.
“We become complacent about long drives when gas is cheap,” said McCullough. “Then when gas prices spike, we find we can no longer afford to drive long distances yet we have no alternative means to get to work and other daily needs.”
Below are the full rankings of 2022’s best states to live in:
2. New Jersey
3. New York
6. New Hampshire
18. North Dakota
21. South Dakota
28. Rhode Island
29. North Carolina
41. West Virginia
45. South Carolina
46. New Mexico