Top 10 Least Desirable States To Live in and Work in the USA for 2023

As part of CNBC’s annual study of America’s Top States for Business, this assessment looks at how friendly each state is to workers and families.

America’s Top States for Business Study

America’s Top States for Business study looks at how friendly each state is to workers and families. This is a key part of CNBC’s full evaluation of state business climates.

Among the study’s ten competitiveness categories, “Life, Health, and Inclusion” holds particular significance this year due to the severe nationwide worker shortage. As a result, the category has gained increased importance in the methodology.

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Least Desirable States To Live in and Work in the USA for 2023 – Photo by: (People)

What are the Top 10 States?

The state of Florida ranks 10. Northern Illinois University researchers say voting is hardest in Florida. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wants to run for president on his “War on Woke” platform. This policy hasn’t improved life in the state. DeSantis’ “Stop WOKE Act,” signed into law in 2022, protects workers from “harmful diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) initiatives. Many companies need DEI, and the courts have overturned some parts of the law. Florida has the most immigrants, but its Life, Health, and Inclusion scores are low.

Arkansas comes in 9th.  Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders blames the crime problem in the Natural State on soft sentences and overcrowded prisons that release violent criminals early. She signed a law to toughen punishments and pay for more prison space. Arkansas also has health care issues, with 42 dentists per 100,000 residents.

The state of Tennessee is in 8th place. Tennessee has passed laws targeting LGBTQ+ rights, some of which were ruled unconstitutional, like the ban on drag shows near children. However, other laws, including a transgender youth sports ban and religious exemptions for healthcare and child welfare professionals, remain in effect.

Indiana was in seventh place. There are less than 10 childcare centers for every 100,000 people in Indiana, which makes it the second-worst state in the country. Also, state law doesn’t do much to protect people from discrimination.

Sixth-place Missouri. Missouri passed the first “trigger law” restricting abortion in 2022 if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Medical emergencies are the only time the state allows abortions. Missouri also ranks high in violent crime.

Alabama ranks fourth. Alabama is one of the least healthy states, with the fourth-highest early death rate. The state also struggles with voting, worker protection, and discrimination.

South Carolina is also in the running for fourth place.  Both at work and at home, people in South Carolina have health problems. The state has the fifth-highest rate of deaths on the job and is in the top ten for both physical and mental distress. Workers have few rights, and the state has one of the highest rates of violent crime.

Louisiana ranks third among states, with the lowest number of licensed childcare centers per person. However, lawmakers are taking action by approving $44 million in new funding, signed into law by Governor John Bel Edwards, to address this issue and improve the state’s quality of life.

Oklahoma follows in second place, facing significant health challenges, including high drug abuse rates and a large number of uninsured individuals. The state maintains one of the strictest abortion bans in the nation, classifying the procedure as a felony except to save the mother’s life.

Texas takes the top spot with 200,000 college-educated individuals moving in annually. Despite the positive migration, Texas also experiences drawbacks such as a high number of uninsured residents and a shortage of primary care doctors. Additionally, the state faces elevated violent crime rates and has a low number of licensed childcare centers per person.

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