GOBankingRates

The Most and Least Fiscally Successful States

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The U.S. economy has been growing steadily this year, the latest Commerce Department report shows. However, not every state can claim to be doing as well as the nation as a whole.

Some states are thriving, but others are saddled with debt, have a high poverty rate or are less prosperous. To pinpoint which states are the most and least fiscally successful, GOBankingRates looked at four factors: GDP per capita, long-term liabilities per capita (debt), state tax revenue per capita and the percentage of people in poverty.

Click through to see which states are succeeding fiscally — and which ones aren’t.

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States With the Best Economies — and the Worst

This GOBankingRates study found that the most financially successful states with the best economies are:

1. North Dakota
2. New York
3. Minnesota
4. Wyoming
5. Nebraska

Meanwhile, the worst states include:

50. Mississippi
49. Kentucky
48. Louisiana
47. Alabama
46. West Virginia

Is your state missing from above? Click through to see the full rankings.

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50. Mississippi

GDP per capita: $31,881
Long-term liabilities per capita: $2,799
State tax revenue per capita: $3,673
Percentage of people in poverty: 20.1%

Mississippi has the lowest gross domestic product per capita, meaning it’s the least prosperous state in the nation. It has the highest percentage of people in poverty. Its low state tax revenue per capita is just one more reason Mississippi is the least fiscally successful state.

Find Out: Best and Worst States If You’re Unemployed — and Want a Job

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49. Kentucky

GDP per capita: $38,985
Long-term liabilities per capita: $9,249
State tax revenue per capita: $3,782
Percentage of people in poverty: 17.4%

Kentucky has a strike against it in every factor we examined: low GDP, low state tax revenue per capita, a high poverty rate and high long-term liabilities per capita. A separate GOBankingRates survey found that it’s one of the states with the most debt, due largely to $44 billion in liabilities for Kentucky’s public pension systems.

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48. Louisiana

GDP per capita: $43,917
Long-term liabilities per capita: $4,197
State tax revenue per capita: $3,951
Percentage of people in poverty: 19.4%

Louisiana’s GDP per capita and state tax revenue per capita rank in the bottom half of the nation. What drags the state down in the overall economy rankings is its high poverty rate. Louisiana has the second-highest percentage of people in poverty in the U.S.

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47. Alabama

GDP per capita: $37,261
Long-term liabilities per capita: $2,137
State tax revenue per capita: $3,144
Percentage of people in poverty: 16.3%

Alabama is one of the least fiscally successful states because it has the lowest state tax revenue per capita in the U.S. Plus, it has the sixth-lowest GDP per capita and the seventh-highest percentage of people in poverty.

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46. West Virginia

GDP per capita: $36,315
Long-term liabilities per capita: $4,223
State tax revenue per capita: $4,105
Percentage of people in poverty: 16.3%

A key reason West Virginia ranks so low for fiscal success is its low output compared to the rest of the states. It has the third-lowest GDP per capita in the U.S. Plus, it has the seventh-highest percentage of people in poverty.

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45. New Mexico

GDP per capita: $41,348
Long-term liabilities per capita: $3,551
State tax revenue per capita: $4,161
Percentage of people in poverty: 18.7%

A high poverty rate drags New Mexico down in the overall rankings. It has the third-highest poverty rate in the U.S. Plus, its GDP per capita is the 12th lowest in our rankings.

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44. Arizona

GDP per capita: $38,590
Long-term liabilities per capita: $2,267
State tax revenue per capita: $3,485
Percentage of people in poverty: 16.6%

Arizona is one of the least fiscally successful states because of its low GDP per capita and high poverty rate. Plus, it has the sixth-lowest state tax revenue per capita.

However, residents might appreciate the low state tax bill they have to pay — Arizona is one of the states that takes the least out of paychecks, a separate GOBankingRates study found.

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43. Arkansas

GDP per capita: $36,368
Long-term liabilities per capita: $2,772
State tax revenue per capita: $3,868
Percentage of people in poverty: 16.1%

Arkansas’ GDP per capita — the fourth lowest in the nation — plays a big role in the state’s low ranking. The state’s highest poverty rate is another reason it’s one of the least fiscally responsible states.

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42. Florida

GDP per capita: $39,543
Long-term liabilities per capita: $2,303
State tax revenue per capita: $3,453
Percentage of people in poverty: 14.6%

Florida is one of seven states with no income tax. As a result, it has the fifth lowest state tax revenue per capita — which drags Florida down in our state economy rankings. Plus, it has the 11th highest percentage of people in poverty in the U.S.

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41. South Carolina

GDP per capita: $37,063
Long-term liabilities per capita: $1,509
State tax revenue per capita: $3,426
Percentage of people in poverty: 14.2%

Although South Carolina doesn’t have a lot of state debt, it’s still one of the least fiscally successful because it’s not bringing in as much money as other states. It has the third-lowest state tax revenue per capita and the fifth-lowest GDP per capita.

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40. Georgia

GDP per capita: $44,723
Long-term liabilities per capita: $2,220
State tax revenue per capita: $3,520
Percentage of people in poverty: 16.8%

Georgia’s low state tax revenue per capita — the eighth lowest in the U.S. — drags the state down in our rankings. Plus, it has the fifth-highest percentage of people in poverty. In fact, it’s one of the worst states for the middle class, a separate GOBankingRates survey found.

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39. Idaho

GDP per capita: $35,466
Long-term liabilities per capita: $1,114
State tax revenue per capita: $3,437
Percentage of people in poverty: 11.7%

Idaho has the second-lowest GDP per capita and the fourth lowest state tax revenue per capita. However, its low debt level keeps the state from landing even lower in our rankings. Idaho has the sixth lowest long-term debt per capita.

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38. Tennessee

GDP per capita: $43,267
Long-term liabilities per capita: $585
State tax revenue per capita: $3,270
Percentage of people in poverty: 14.8%

Tennessee has two big strikes against when it comes to its fiscal success — a high poverty rate and low state tax revenue per capita. But it has the second lowest long-term liabilities per capita, which helps keep Tennessee out of the bottom 10 states for fiscal success.

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37. North Carolina

GDP per capita: $44,325
Long-term liabilities per capita: $1,028
State tax revenue per capita: $3,791
Percentage of people in poverty: 14.4%

North Carolina’s GDP per capita and state tax revenue per capita rank among the bottom half of states. Its high poverty rate also drags it down in our rankings. Fortunately, North Carolina has the fifth lowest long-term debt per capita.

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36. Montana

GDP per capita: $39,356
Long-term liabilities per capita: $2,336
State tax revenue per capita: $4,046
Percentage of people in poverty: 11.8%

Montana’s poverty rate and state debt are lower than in more than half of the states. But it has the 10th lowest GDP per capita, and its tax revenue per capita is in the bottom half of states.

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35. Oklahoma

GDP per capita: $44,623
Long-term liabilities per capita: $610
State tax revenue per capita: $3,701
Percentage of people in poverty: 14.4%

Although Oklahoma has the third-lowest debt per capita, the state brings in less money than other states — making it less fiscally successful. It has the 12th lowest state tax revenue. Plus, Oklahoma has the 12th highest percentage of people in poverty.

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34. Ohio

GDP per capita: $47,567
Long-term liabilities per capita: $3,620
State tax revenue per capita: $4,417
Percentage of people in poverty: 13.6%

Ohio’s GDP and state tax revenue per capita are in top half of states. However, its long-term debts are higher than in more than half of the states. Plus, it has a higher percentage of people in poverty than the majority of states.

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33. Maine

GDP per capita: $38,921
Long-term liabilities per capita: $2,542
State tax revenue per capita: $5,105
Percentage of people in poverty: 12.5%

Maine has the eighth-lowest GDP per capita, which pulls it down in the rankings. It also has a higher percentage of people in poverty than in more than half of the states.

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32. Indiana

GDP per capita: $45,317
Long-term liabilities per capita: $1,971
State tax revenue per capita: $3,839
Percentage of people in poverty: 12.7%

Indiana’s GDP and tax revenue per capita are in the bottom half of the states. It has a higher percentage of people in poverty than in more than half of the states. However, its long-term liabilities per capita are lower than in the majority of states.

Find Out: The Most Profitable Industry in Every State

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31. Missouri

GDP per capita: $43,317
Long-term liabilities per capita: $1,816
State tax revenue per capita: $3,649
Percentage of people in poverty: 11.4%

Missouri has two strikes against its fiscal success. It has the 10th lowest state tax revenue per capita, and its GDP per capita is in the bottom half of states. However, it has the 11th lowest long-term liabilities and a lower percentage of people in poverty than in more than half of the states.

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30. South Dakota

GDP per capita: $48,076
Long-term liabilities per capita: $803
State tax revenue per capita: $3,838
Percentage of people in poverty: 14.2%

South Dakota has a couple of things going for it fiscally: the fourth lowest long-term liabilities per capita and a GDP per capita that’s higher than in more than half of the states. But its low state tax revenue per capita and high poverty rate drag South Dakota down in the rankings. However, South Dakota is the best state to start a business, according to a separate GOBankingRates study.

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29. Michigan

GDP per capita: $43,372
Long-term liabilities per capita: $1,790
State tax revenue per capita: $4,010
Percentage of people in poverty: 11.9%

Michigan ranks in the bottom half of states for fiscal success because both its GDP and tax revenue per capita are in the bottom half of states. Plus, its poverty rate is higher than in more than half of the states.

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28. Illinois

GDP per capita: $54,091
Long-term liabilities per capita: $12,118
State tax revenue per capita: $5,751
Percentage of people in poverty: 11.5%

Illinois would rank higher if it weren’t for its debt. It has the 12th highest state tax revenue and GDP per capita. However, it has the third-highest long-term liabilities. Moody’s Investors Services estimated that Illinois has an unfunded pension liability of $251 billion.

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27. Alaska

GDP per capita: $63,971
Long-term liabilities per capita: $11,473
State tax revenue per capita: $3,504
Percentage of people in poverty: 10.9%

Although Alaska has the fourth-highest GDP per capita, it ranks among the bottom half of states for fiscal success because of its debt and low tax revenue. It has the fifth-highest long-term liabilities per capita and the seventh-lowest state tax revenue per capita.

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26. Nevada

GDP per capita: $43,820
Long-term liabilities per capita: $1,967
State tax revenue per capita: $4,109
Percentage of people in poverty: 11.5%

On the plus side, Nevada ranks in the bottom half of states for poverty rate and long-term liabilities per capita. However, it also ranks among the bottom half for GDP per capita and state tax revenue.

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25. New Jersey

GDP per capita: $57,084
Long-term liabilities per capita: $16,821
State tax revenue per capita: $6,680
Percentage of people in poverty: 10.3%

Despite having the ninth highest GDP per capita, New Jersey doesn’t rank among the most financially successful states. That’s because it has the highest long-term liabilities per capita of any state. In fact, New Jersey’s per capita debt is 44 times the amount in the state with lowest liabilities per capita — Nebraska.

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24. Texas

GDP per capita: $53,795
Long-term liabilities per capita: $3,259
State tax revenue per capita: $4,126
Percentage of people in poverty: 14.3%

Texas has a higher GDP per capita than the majority of states. In fact, Texas would be richer than Canada if it were a country because its GDP is bigger than our northern neighbor’s GDP. However, it has a high poverty rate, high long-term liabilities per capita and tax revenue that’s lower than in half of the states.

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23. Kansas

GDP per capita: $46,982
Long-term liabilities per capita: $2,128
State tax revenue per capita: $4,393
Percentage of people in poverty: 12.7%

Kansas ranks in the top half of states for fiscal success because its long-term liabilities per capita are lower than the majority of states. But, its high poverty rate and relatively low GDP per capita keep it from ranking higher.

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22. Hawaii

GDP per capita: $51,277
Long-term liabilities per capita: $11,779
State tax revenue per capita: $6,111
Percentage of people in poverty: 10.1%

Hawaii’s higher state tax revenue and low poverty rate help it rank among the top half of states for fiscal success. But its long-term liabilities — the fourth highest in the U.S. — are a strike against it.

Find Out: This Is the Wealthiest City in Your State

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21. Rhode Island

GDP per capita: $47,639
Long-term liabilities per capita: $5,377
State tax revenue per capita: $5,421
Percentage of people in poverty: 11.6%

Rhode Island’s GDP and state tax revenue per capita rank in top half of states. However, the state has the 12th highest long-term liabilities per capita.

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20. Utah

GDP per capita: $44,636
Long-term liabilities per capita: $2,336
State tax revenue per capita: $3,628
Percentage of people in poverty: 8.9%

Utah has the fourth-lowest poverty rate, which helps it rank among the top half of states for fiscal success. However, it has the ninth-lowest state tax revenue, and its GDP is lower than more than half of the states.

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19. Washington

GDP per capita: $56,831
Long-term liabilities per capita: $8,445
State tax revenue per capita: $4,772
Percentage of people in poverty: 11.2%

Washington has the 10th highest GDP per capita. But it doesn’t rank higher for fiscal success because it has the eighth-highest long-term debt.

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18. Oregon

GDP per capita: $50,582
Long-term liabilities per capita: $3,112
State tax revenue per capita: $4,365
Percentage of people in poverty: 11.8%

Oregon’s GDP per capita helps it rank among the top half of fiscally successful states. However, its poverty rate and long-term liabilities per capita are higher than in half of the states.

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17. Wisconsin

GDP per capita: $47,266
Long-term liabilities per capita: $2,693
State tax revenue per capita: $4,664
Percentage of people in poverty: 11.1%

Wisconsin’s tax revenue per capita is higher than in the majority of states, and its poverty rate is relatively low. However, its GDP and long-term liabilities per capita rank near the middle of states.

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16. Vermont

GDP per capita: $43,946
Long-term liabilities per capita: $4,283
State tax revenue per capita: $5,800
Percentage of people in poverty: 10.2%

Vermont has the 11th highest state tax revenue because it taxes its residents heavily. In fact, a separate GOBankingRates study found it’s one of the most expensive states to file taxes. Its fiscal success also can be attributed to a low poverty rate, but higher long-term liabilities lower its ranking.

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15. Pennsylvania

GDP per capita: $50,997
Long-term liabilities per capita: $2,922
State tax revenue per capita: $4,954
Percentage of people in poverty: 11.7%

Pennsylvania makes it into the top half of states for financial success because its GDP and state tax revenue rank in the top half. Its liabilities and poverty rate rank among the middle.

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14. California

GDP per capita: $58,619
Long-term liabilities per capita: $5,476
State tax revenue per capita: $5,864
Percentage of people in poverty: 13.9%

By some measures, California is very fiscally successful. It has the eighth-highest GDP per capita and ninth-highest state tax revenue per capita. However, its long-term liabilities and poverty rate are higher than in most states. In fact, California is the state with the most public welfare spending.

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13. Virginia

GDP per capita: $51,736
Long-term liabilities per capita: $1,752
State tax revenue per capita: $4,466
Percentage of people in poverty: 11.1%

Virginia’s financial success is due to its low debt and relatively high GDP and tax revenue. It has the ninth-lowest long-term liabilities in the U.S. Plus, the percentage of people in poverty in Virginia is lower than in the majority of states.

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12. Delaware

GDP per capita: $63,664
Long-term liabilities per capita: $7,018
State tax revenue per capita: $4,769
Percentage of people in poverty: 11.3%

On the one hand, Delaware is succeeding. It has the fifth-highest GDP per capita in the U.S. But its long-term liabilities per capita — the ninth highest on our list — prevents the state from ranking higher.

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11. Iowa

GDP per capita: $50,315
Long-term liabilities per capita: $1,592
State tax revenue per capita: $4,759
Percentage of people in poverty: 10.1%

Iowa stands out for its fiscal responsibility. It has the eighth lowest long-term liabilities per capita. Plus, its GDP and state tax revenue per capita rank in the top half of states. It also has the eighth-lowest poverty rate.

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10. Colorado

GDP per capita: $52,795
Long-term liabilities per capita: $3,043
State tax revenue per capita: $4,599
Percentage of people in poverty: 9.2%

Colorado has the fifth-lowest poverty rate. It also makes it into the top 10 because its GDP and tax revenue are relatively high. However, Colorado’s long-term liabilities per capita are higher than in half of the states.

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9. Connecticut

GDP per capita: $64,511
Long-term liabilities per capita: $15,937
State tax revenue per capita: $7,422
Percentage of people in poverty: 9.5%

Connecticut is one of the most prosperous states. It has the third-highest GDP and state tax revenue per capita. And it has the sixth-lowest percentage of people in poverty. However, Connecticut has a big strike against it — the second-highest long-term liabilities per capita.

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8. Maryland

GDP per capita: $55,404
Long-term liabilities per capita: $6,554
State tax revenue per capita: $5,857
Percentage of people in poverty: 8.4%

Maryland’s GDP per capita is one of highest in the nation, as is its state tax revenue per capita. Plus, it has the third-lowest poverty rate. But Maryland has the 10th highest long-term liabilities per capita.

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7. Massachusetts

GDP per capita: $65,545
Long-term liabilities per capita: $9,919
State tax revenue per capita: $6,349
Percentage of people in poverty: 10.6%

Massachusetts has the highest GDP per capita, which lands it among the top 10 most fiscally successful states. It also has the sixth-highest state tax revenue per capita. But its long-term liabilities — the sixth highest — prevent it from ranking even higher.

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6. New Hampshire

GDP per capita: $51,794
Long-term liabilities per capita: $2,529
State tax revenue per capita: $4,649
Percentage of people in poverty: 6.8%

New Hampshire has the lowest percentage of people in poverty. That plus a relatively high GDP per capita make it one of the states with the best economy. Plus, New Hampshire’s long-term liabilities per capita rank in the lower half of states.

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5. Nebraska

GDP per capita: $53,114
Long-term liabilities per capita: $379
State tax revenue per capita: $5,057
Percentage of people in poverty: 9.9%

Nebraska is one of the most fiscally responsible states because it has the lowest long-term liabilities per capita. Perhaps it’s following the lead of Warren Buffett — Nebraska’s wealthiest resident who’s known for living frugally. Plus, Nebraska has the seventh-lowest percentage of people in poverty.

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4. Wyoming

GDP per capita: $58,821
Long-term liabilities per capita: $4,136
State tax revenue per capita: $6,389
Percentage of people in poverty: 10.3%

Considered one of the best states to retire rich, Wyoming boasts the fifth-highest state tax revenue and seventh-highest GDP per capita. Plus, the state has the 11th lowest poverty rate.

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3. Minnesota

GDP per capita: $53,704
Long-term liabilities per capita: $2,333
State tax revenue per capita: $5,954
Percentage of people in poverty: 8.3%

Minnesota is near the top of our state economy rankings because it has the eighth-highest state tax revenue and a GDP per capita that’s higher than most states. Plus, Minnesota has the second-lowest poverty rate.

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2. New York

GDP per capita: $64,579
Long-term liabilities per capita: $4,355
State tax revenue per capita: $8,743
Percentage of people in poverty: 13.0%

New York is one of the states with the best economy because of how prosperous it is. It has the second-highest GDP per capita and second highest state tax revenue. However, its state debt is higher than in the majority of states.

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1. North Dakota

GDP per capita: $62,837
Long-term liabilities per capita: $4,418
State tax revenue per capita: $9,183
Percentage of people in poverty: 10.9%

North Dakota has the highest state tax revenue per capita of any state, which helps boost it to the No. 1 spot in our rankings, along with its high GDP per capita. Although North Dakota’s long-term liabilities are slightly higher than New York’s, it has a lower poverty rate than the runner-up in our state economy rankings.

Up Next: 31 Cities Where You Can Afford to Live Off Less Than $50,000

Methodology: GOBankingRates rated the fiscal success of all 50 states by comparing: (1) the gross domestic product per capita from Statista via the Bureau of Labor Statistics; (2) the state debt ratio from individual state comprehensive annual financial reports – total liabilities divided by total assets; (3) the state tax revenue per capita from the Tax Policy Center; and (4) the percentage of state population in poverty from the U.S. Census Bureau report “Income and Poverty in the United States.”