CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — A new WalletHub study named its best states to live in in 2022. The financial website has a history of ranking West Virginia toward the bottom of similar lists it’s made, declaring the Mountain State the worst economy in the country, the least fun state and recently, one of the worst states to have a baby in.
While this recent study also ranked West Virginia toward the bottom: 41 of 50, there are some metrics of the WalletHub study where West Virginia performed well.
West Virginia ranked highest in homeownership rate in the whole country, beating Maine, Minnesota, Michigan and Delaware, which were the rest of the top five. Several states bringing up the rear in the homeownership rate category ended up much higher than West Virginia in WalletHub’s ranking. The states with the lowest homeownership rate in the survey, in order from 46th to 50th, were Rhode Island (ranked 28th overall by WalletHub), Hawaii (40th overall), Nevada (39th), California (27th) and New York (3rd).
West Virginia also ranked second overall in the “affordability” category, which was comprised of housing affordability, median annual property taxes, cost of living, median annual household income and homeownership rate. West Virginia does have one of the lowest property tax rates in the country according to SmartAsset, with an average effective property tax rate of 0.57%, making it the ninth-lowest rate in the U.S., and a 2.5% discount on property tax installments available to those who pay before the due date.
WalletHub also ranked West Virginia 20th in its safety category, which is comprised of the violent crime and property crime rates, traffic-related fatalities per capita and total law enforcement per capita.
Some of the metrics West Virginia didn’t perform as well in were percentage of the population living in poverty, in which the Mountain State was 47th, and the quality of life category, which included:
- Average hours worked per week (a higher number resulted in a lower score)
- Average commute time
- Miles of trails bicycling and walking per total state land area
- Access to public transportation
- Quality of roads
- Traffic congestion
- Restaurants, bars, museums, performing arts centers, movie theaters and fitness centers per capita
- Accessibility of beaches
- Air quality
Because of the features measured, states that are landlocked will naturally perform worse. The weather category was based on a previous WalletHub study, which ranked areas that get precipitation, snow and fog poorly, and that defined mild weather as 72 degrees Fahrenheit.