Most Affordable States for Millennials

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Millennials — the largest generation, with a population of 80 million — don’t have the same quality of life everywhere, according to a new survey that compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine where this generation is thriving and where it is struggling.

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This generation, responsible for 21% of all consumer discretionary spending in the U.S., is economically worse off than their parents, according to a WalletHub survey. “The financial crisis remains a big part of the reason,” according to the survey. “Millennials have come of age and entered the workforce in the shadow of the Great Recession, which has significantly reduced their job prospects and earning potential for decades to come. Plus, many millennials are struggling due to financial difficulties from the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting high rate of unemployment.”

In turn, factors such as financial security, job opportunities and quality of life are of utmost importance to determine millennials’ choice of residence. Washington state ranks #1 overall and #1 for affordability as well, according to the survey. The District of Columbia has the second overall rating, followed by Utah, Massachusetts and Iowa.

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The lowest housing costs for millennials are in Iowa, North Dakota, West Virginia, Ohio and Indiana. Conversely, the highest housing costs are in Oregon, Colorado, Massachusetts, California and Hawaii.

Highest average earnings are in D.C., New York, Washington, Massachusetts and California, while the lowest average earnings are in New Mexico, Maine, West Virginia, Arkansas and Mississippi.

In terms of health insurance, Massachusetts, D.C., Hawaii, Minnesota and Vermont have the highest numbers of millennials with coverage. The lowest percentages of covered millennials are in Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma and Texas.

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According to a recent Deloitte survey, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought stress to the forefront of social consciousness, as 41% of millennials feel stressed all or most of the time. Finances, family welfare and job prospects have been the main stress drivers. 

In addition, the pandemic has heightened millennials’ uncertainty about their financial futures, as two-thirds of all respondents say they “often worry or get stressed” about their financial situations. The same number say that the pandemic has caused them to reassess and alter their financial goals, according to the Deloitte survey. Looking ahead, only 36% of millennials believe their personal financial situations will improve by 2022.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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