Hawai’i Ranked Worst State to Make a Living

July 7, 2015, 11:55 AM HST
* Updated July 7, 4:06 PM
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Hawai’i is the worst state in the country to make a living, according to a new study conducted by

Cost of living is a large contributing factor, with higher-than-average housing prices and salaries that don’t effectively meet the needs of the expensive cost of living. High income tax rates round it out, leaving Hawai’i residents with 55 center per dollar, adjusted based on taxes and cost of living.

The study evaluates five factors, including average wages, state tax rates, cost of living, unemployment rate, and incidents of workplace illness, injuries, and fatalities.

Hawai’i ranked number one in the country for highest cost of living, third for highest state tax on average income, and eighth when it came to work incidents per 100 workers.

Average income and unemployment rate were ranked 17 and 24, respectively.


Oregon ranked as the second worst state to make a living, followed by Maine, West Virginia, Vermont, California, Montana, South Dakota, Rhode Island, and Connecticut to round out the ten worst.


Among the top states to make a living are Texas, Washington, Wyoming, Virginia, Illinois, Michigan, Colorado, Delaware, Ohio, and Utah. Texas ranked second on the list in 2014 and climbed the final step in 2015. Despite average wages being just a hair above the national average, residents of Texas get good value from their earnings.

The three states ranked as the best states to make a living all have no state income tax.

Data for the study was collected by through the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, state tax information collected by the research group Tax Foundation, Council for Community and Economic Research’s Cost of Living Index, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and data from the BLS sources from employer reports to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the BLS Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illness.

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