North Dakota Tops’s List of the 10 Best U.S. States for Young Adults

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Personal finance website analyzed multiple economic and lifestyle factors to determine which states offer the best environment for young adults, and the results may be surprising. North Dakota is number one for its excellent economic performance and lifestyle attributes.

At a time when young people are having trouble finding work, knowing where conditions might be a lot better could make all the difference.

North Dakota tops the rankings in’s list of 10 States Where Youth Rules, a study that compared a number of key factors across U.S. states to determine which ones offer the best conditions for young adults. The nine economic and lifestyle factors used in determining the rankings include: employment for young people, insurance costs for young drivers, college costs, affordability of housing, youth-oriented retailing, nightlife, healthfulness, the state’s youthfulness and housing availability.

The 10 best states for young adults, as determined by, include:

1. North Dakota
2. South Dakota
3. Iowa
4. Montana
5. Nebraska
6. Delaware
7. Vermont
8. Alaska
9. Utah
10. New Hampshire

North Dakota earned the top spot largely on the strength of its economic conditions, including a 3.3 percent unemployment rate for 20 to 24-year-olds. But it also scored well in a number of social measures, including having the highest concentration of 18 to 24-year-olds of any state in the union.

“People may not think of North Dakota as the land of opportunity for young adults, but there may be good reason that it has an unusual proportion of 18- to 24-year-olds,” said Richard Barrington, CFA, senior financial analyst for “Rent, college education and car insurance are all among the cheapest in the country there, and the youth unemployment rate is the lowest of any state.”

South Dakota earned the number two spot in the rankings resulting from strong marks in most categories, earning above-average scores in all but one measure (youth-oriented retailing). Third-place Iowa gained much of its strength due to a relatively low unemployment rate (6 percent) and several strong lifestyle scores, including a high number of fitness clubs and top-rated bars per capita.

“Perhaps the best-kept secret about this economy is the fact that people in some states are actually doing quite well,” said Barrington. “Especially at a time when young people are having trouble finding work, knowing where conditions might be a lot better could make all the difference.”

For the full analysis, read the 10 States Where Youth Rules feature.

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