Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Illinois the best state in which to make a living?

That's the perhaps surprising conclusion of this article posted today on Yahoo! Finance. The April 12 article, by Kathy Kristof of CBS, more or less summarizes this April 5 article by Richard Barrington on

Barrington's article cites four factors that were considered by in calculating "adjusted-average income." These were:
  • Average state wages
  • State unemployment rate
  • State tax rate
  • State cost of living
Based on all these factors, calculated an adjusted-average income for each state - the average income adjusted for your chances of finding a job, how much you would lose to state taxes, and how much purchasing power that income would have based on the cost of living in that state.
Applying these factors, decided that Illinois is the best state in the nation in which to make a living. Of Illinois, the article states in pertinent part (emphasis supplied):
At $41,986.51, Illinois had the best adjusted-average income. The unemployment rate in Illinois is not especially low, but the state benefits from relatively high average wages, a low state tax rate, and a below-average cost of living.
Low tax rate?

I wanted to check when the articles were posted, just to verify that the source articles didn't pre-date our recent income tax hike. As you'll note, the source article is quite recent -- posted only 8 days ago -- and, thus, post tax hike.

Illinois gets a lot of bad press these days for its supposedly hostile business climate. But if an argument can be made that our state is the best state in which to make a living, maybe our problems aren't so hopeless after all.

Interestingly, neither Indiana nor Wisconsin makes the Top 10 list. Hawaii tops the list of the worst states in which to make a living.

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