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Report: Kentucky Among Worst States in USA for Millennials

Based on MoneyRates’s analysis, North Dakota found itself at the top of this year’s ranking of the best state for millennials, with Washington claiming the title of worst state. Kentucky ranked #42.

To determine where millennials might find it easier to get by - and maybe even have a little fun - MoneyRates.com compiled a ranking based on eight different criteria:

  1. Unemployment among young adults
  2. Percent of state population composed of young adults
  3. In-state cost of 4-year public colleges
  4. Availability of residential rentals
  5. Average cost of residential rentals
  6. Percentage of population with access to high-speed broadband
  7. The number of bars, pubs, and nightclubs per 1,000 young adults
  8. The number of fitness clubs per 1,000 young adults

Besides having the lowest unemployment rate for the 20 – 24 age group, North Dakota earned a perfect score for access to high-speed broadband, and was in the top ten for rental affordability and rather surprisingly, the concentration of night spots.

Perhaps because of all the factors in its favor, North Dakota has one of the highest proportions of young adults in its population. The 20 to 24 age group represents 10.49 percent of the state’s population – the third highest in the nation.

Joining North Dakota in the best rankings are South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Montana, Indiana, Kansas, Wyoming and Texas.

The rankings seem to go against popular perceptions. There may not be anything glamorous about places like the Dakotas or Nebraska, but Richard Barrington, Senior Financial Analyst for MoneyRates, urges young adults not to overlook the importance of economic factors.

“There’s nothing very glamorous about being unemployed, no matter where you live,” he advises. “Unfortunately, the places young people are often attracted to tend to be the very places where competition for jobs can make it tough to find decent work, while competition for places to live can make rents very expensive, if you can even find an apartment.”

The worst state for millennials, Washington, scored below average on seven of the eight criteria for this study. Its downfalls include being the fourth-worst unemployment rate for young adults (14.2 percent) and the seventh-lowest rate of rental availability (4.9 percent), compared with 7.8 percent for the average state.

Other states following Washington in the bottom are Virginia, Arizona, California, Vermont, New Hampshire, Oregon, Maine, Delaware and Kentucky.

“Young people have the flexibility to move, and they should use this to their economic advantage. Go where the jobs are, and even if it does not turn out to be your long-term home, getting some work experience and building up some savings will give you a lot more options when it comes time to decide where you want to settle down.”

Barrington encourages young people to consider relocating if they are having a hard time financially where they are now, and to use this study as a guide to where they might find the most – and least – welcoming conditions. 

For the full report, click here.

-Staff report