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Here are the Best Places to Live--in 2032
August 8th, 2012 10:14 AM

Here are the Best Places to Live--in 2032

One of the few truly fun things about contemplating retirement is dreaming about where you might want to live. Before the tough financial, family, and lifestyle decisions must be made, we can spend at least some time musing about dream homes and locales. These decisions will be made in the future, of course. So what better rose-colored guide could there be than a set of rankings geared to predict the best places to live in the United States in 20 years?

[In Pictures: The Best U.S. States to Live in 2032.]

Dan Witters, research director of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, followed this logic in rating different states and regions of the country using a series of 13 measures of personal well-being that are based on extensive national polling efforts. The measures reflect, to a large degree, how people in the area feel about themselves and their communities. They were selected because they also have value in predicting the future appeal and quality of life in an area. The Well-Being Index is a partnership between the Gallup polling organization and Healthways, a wellness services firm based in Tennessee, south of Nashville.

Gallup-Healthways found that Horace Greeley's 19th century frontier advice still holds--Go West, young man. States in the West and upper Midwest clearly lead the nation as best places to live in the year 2032.

Here is the ranking for all 50 states:

1. Utah

2. Minnesota

3. Colorado

4. Nebraska

5. North Dakota

6. Virginia

7. Iowa

8. Hawaii

9. South Dakota

10. Maryland

11. Massachusetts

12. Washington

13. Kansas

14. Alaska

15. Idaho

16. Wisconsin

17. Texas

18. California

19. Wyoming

20. Georgia

21. New Hampshire

22. Connecticut

23. Arizona

24. Montana

25. New Jersey

26. Oregon

27. North Carolina

28. Illinois

29. Vermont

30. South Carolina

31. Indiana

32. New Mexico

33. Oklahoma

34. New York

35. Michigan

36. Tennessee

37. Missouri

38. Pennsylvania

39. Rhode Island

40. Maine

41. Delaware

42. Ohio

43. Louisiana

44. Alabama

45. Arkansas

46. Florida

47. Nevada

48. Kentucky

49. Mississippi

50. West Virginia

[See The 10 Sunniest Places to Retire.]

Gallup-Healthways also divided the nation into nine regions and looked at their relative performance based on 13 measures (which received equal weights). Here are the ranking details:

1. West North Central (includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota)

2. Mountain (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming)

3. Pacific (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington)

4. West South Central (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas)

5. New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont)

6. South Atlantic (Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia)

7. East North Central (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin)

8. Middle Atlantic (New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania)

9. East South Central (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee)

For the past several years, more than 1,000 different people have been polled nearly every day by Gallup-Healthways on a range of lifestyle and wellness topics. This large and growing set of public opinion data amounts to a solid monitor of what Americans think is really important about the ways they live, and the varying quality of life as they see it from different parts of the country.

[See 10 Places to Retire on Social Security Alone.]

The 13 measures used as the basis for the rankings:

Full-time employment

Economic confidence

Job creation

Healthy employee-supervisor relationships

Standard of living

Optimism about a place's future

Optimism about their future

Perceived learning opportunities

Clean water

Safe places to exercise



Dental visits

Priorities change in response to events, Witters says, so the things people think are important today may carry different weights in the future. For example, economic measures were represented heavily among the 13 measures. Fifteen or 20 years from now, they may be seen as less important, assuming the economy eventually resumes its longer-term growth pattern.

"The most critical element of any community's future livability might be a culture of successful entrepreneurship," Witters wrote in a commentary on the rankings. "Successful entrepreneurs consistently demonstrate a willingness to take risks, but they also have the resolve to start and manage a business."

"Above all, entrepreneurs create jobs," he added. "The relationships among an entrepreneurial culture, job creation, and wellbeing have never been clearer."

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Posted by Jennifer Stepanek on August 8th, 2012 10:14 AMPost a Comment

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