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What makes a state a great place to live? A new report narrows it to three factors and ranks Illinois in the middle of the pack at number 21.
The financial and opinion website 24/7 Wall St. used three socioeconomic factors to rank all 50 states’ livability. Those factors are poverty rate, life expectancy at birth and percentage of adults with a college education.
Jeffrey Brown, a former senior economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers and dean of the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said education often determines a community’s standard of living.
"With higher levels of education, you tend to get better community amenities, a stronger tax base, better healthcare, all of those things," he said.
He said that those factors then play a role in where people believe is a good place to live.
Brown said using the life expectancy factor was an interesting choice.
"There’s much more variation by life expectancy within a state than there is across states and it’s highly correlated with socioeconomic status, with education," he said.
He said what you pick up on from some of these measures is how much economic diversity there is in a state.
"In states with large urban populations and so forth and higher rates of poverty, you’re going to have lower life expectancies on average," he said.
Illinois was ranked 21st on the list with a life expectancy of 79 years and a poverty rate of 12.6 percent. But Brown said the report didn’t take into account other economic factors.
"I think one of the great benefits of Illinois compared to living on the coasts, places like Massachusetts, New York or California, is that the cost of living here is much more manageable," he said.
Mississippi was ranked at the very bottom, while Massachusetts topped the list mainly due to a high percentage of people there having a college degree.