Content Exchange

The U.S. may have the largest economy in the world, but in other key measures indicative of quality of life, it is far from number one. Based on the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Index, a tool used for gauging and comparing quality of life across geographies, the United States ranks as the 17th best country to live in worldwide.

While quality of life across the U.S. as a whole trails over a dozen other nations, there are parts of the country that, if analyzed through the lens of the HDI, would rank at or near the top of the list of the best places to live globally.

Inspired by the HDI, 24/7 Wall St. created an index consisting of three measures — life expectancy at birth, bachelor's degree attainment, and poverty rate — to identify the best counties to live in in every state.

Collin County, Texas, located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, ranks as the best county to live in in the state. Of all 254 counties that make up the Lone Star State, Collin County has the best educated population, with a bachelor's degree attainment rate of 52.3%. Across all of Texas, only 29.9% of adults have a bachelor's degree.

Health outcomes and financial security tend to improve with educational attainment, both at an individual level and across populations. In Collin County, the 6.3% poverty rate is less than half the 14.7% state poverty rate. Additionally, at 82.7 years, life expectancy at birth in the county is about four years longer than it is across Texas.

Data on bachelor's degree attainment and poverty are from the 2019 U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Data on average life expectancy at birth came from the 2021 County Health Rankings, a joint program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, and are based on mortality data from the years 2017 to 2019. Supplemental data on population and income are from the ACS, and unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted for May 2021 and are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only independent cities, counties, and county equivalents with populations of 10,000 or more were considered.

PlacePoverty rate (%)Adults with a bachelor's degree (%)Life expectancy at birth (years)
Alabama: Shelby County7.542.980.7
Alaska: Juneau City and Borough7.738.481.1
Arizona: Maricopa County13.832.780.5
Arkansas: Benton County9.433.479.9
California: Marin County7.259.585.4
Colorado: Pitkin County6.760.894.4
Connecticut: Fairfield County8.947.983.0
Delaware: New Castle County11.436.278.4
Florida: St. Johns County8.244.781.9
Georgia: Forsyth County5.753.182.3
Hawaii: Honolulu County8.335.082.5
Idaho: Teton County4.541.083.8
Illinois: DuPage County6.449.482.5
Indiana: Hamilton County4.659.382.0
Iowa: Dallas County5.250.482.3
Kansas: Johnson County5.456.081.7
Kentucky: Oldham County5.942.479.8
Louisiana: St. Tammany Parish11.533.878.3
Maine: Cumberland County9.047.680.2
Maryland: Howard County5.062.683.2
Massachusetts: Middlesex County7.456.382.4
Michigan: Leelanau County6.144.782.7
Minnesota: Carver County4.148.983.3
Mississippi: Madison County9.648.476.5
Missouri: Platte County6.243.180.2
Montana: Gallatin County11.350.182.6
Nebraska: Sarpy County5.939.881.3
Nevada: Douglas County8.729.480.7
New Hampshire: Rockingham County4.641.480.9
New Jersey: Hunterdon County4.552.783.5
New Mexico: Los Alamos County4.467.483.8
New York: New York County15.861.385.3
North Carolina: Orange County13.759.782.3
North Dakota: Burleigh County8.135.881.6
Ohio: Delaware County4.854.382.3
Oklahoma: Cleveland County12.033.478.7
Oregon: Washington County8.944.482.7
Pennsylvania: Chester County6.453.081.4
Rhode Island: Bristol County7.549.081.5
South Carolina: Beaufort County10.241.282.9
South Dakota: Lincoln County4.137.684.3
Tennessee: Williamson County4.459.881.7
Texas: Collin County6.352.382.7
Utah: Summit County5.655.085.1
Vermont: Chittenden County12.151.381.8
Virginia: Arlington County6.875.385.9
Washington: San Juan County10.249.886.2
West Virginia: Jefferson County9.731.878.0
Wisconsin: Ozaukee County5.349.082.1
Wyoming: Teton County6.157.087.5

This article originally ran on

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.

Locations Content Exchange

Recommended for you

Load comments