How “free” is your state?
A recent study conducted by WalletHub identifies the most and least “independent” states based on health- and wealth-related dependencies in five categories: “consumer finances,” such as credit scores and emergency savings; “government,” or federal funding; “international trade,” such as jobs supported by exported goods; “job market,” such as employer-offered retirement savings and the unemployment rate; and “personal vices,” such as drug use and gambling.
The most independent state, according to the study, is Colorado, with the lowest unemployment rate; the second-highest share of households that have emergency savings; the second-lowest share of jobs supported by exported goods; the second-lowest share of GDP generated by exports; and the fourth-lowest share of households relying on food stamps and/or other assistance.
The least independent state is Louisiana, with the highest share of GDP generated by exports; the third-highest share of adults with gambling disorders; the third-lowest median credit score; the fourth-highest unemployment rate; and the fourth-highest share of jobs supported by exported goods.
The remaining four of the top five most independent states are:
- Highest Median Household Income
- Highest Share of Households With Emergency Savings
- Second-Lowest Share of Adult Binge Drinkers
- Third-Lowest Share of Households Relying on Food Stamps and/or Other Assistance
- Highest Median Credit Score
- Second-Highest Employer-Based Retirement Access/Participation
- Second-Least Federally Dependent
- Fourth-Highest Median Household Income
- New Hampshire
- Lowest Unemployment Rate
- Fourth-Highest Employer-Based Retirement Access/Participation
- Highest Employer-Based Retirement Access/Participation
- Third-Lowest Share of Adults With Gambling Disorders
The remaining four of the top five least independent states are:
- Most Federally Dependent
- Fourth-Highest Share of GDP Generated by Exports
- Highest Share of Jobs Supported by Exported Goods
- Second-Highest Unemployment Rate
- Third-Highest Share of Households Relying on Food Stamps and/or Other Assistance
- Highest Share of Adults With Gambling Disorders
- Lowest Median Credit Score
- Second-Most Federally Dependent
- Fifth-Highest Share of Households Relying on Food Stamps and/or Other Assistance
- West Virginia
- Second-Lowest Median Household Income
- Second-Lowest Share of Households With Emergency Savings
- Fifth-Most Federally Dependent
- South Carolina
- Third-Highest Share of GDP Generated by Exports
- Third-Lowest Median Credit Score
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