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These are America’s 10 best states to live and work in for 2023, and there are some notable omissions



Good help is hard to find. In fact, these days almost any help is hard to find.

“You’re seeing a confluence of factors that make this a unique point in history,” said Josh Wright, an executive vice president at labor market data firm Lightcast.

Older workers are retiring with fewer younger people in the population to replace them. The U.S. has roughly twice as many job openings as there are workers to fill them. And because this is as much a demographic phenomenon as an economic one, Wright said workers shortages are now here to stay.

“I think it’s only going to become worse over time in certain regions,” he said.

But an increasing number of states see this as an opening. They are pitching their quality of life as a reason companies should locate there.


“(A) quality of life that inspires people to build their business, families and lives here,” one state economic development website promises.

“Meet our people. See our work ethic. Experience our good life,” says another.

But only a handful of states are truly delivering on their promises.

Life, Health and Inclusion is among the ten categories of competitiveness in CNBC’s annual America’s Top States for Business study, and under this year’s methodology, it is increasingly important in a state’s overall ranking.

We use hard data to measure factors including crime, environmental quality, health care and childcare in every state. We consider anti-discrimination laws and worker protections. And with surveys showing a significant percentage of women factoring reproductive rights into where they are willing to live, state abortion laws are a new metric in 2023.

The study shows that some states are falling short — America’s Worst States to Live and Work in. But these ten states are America’s best places to live and work in 2023.

10. Connecticut

A runner crosses a bridge amidst autumn colors in the woods.


Colin Keaveney | Cavan | Getty Images

Connecticut residents enjoy some of the best health care in the nation, and it shows. Frequent physical distress is among the lowest of any state, according to the United Health Foundation. Access to care is among the best anywhere, with one primary care physician for every three residents. Crime is low, and worker protections are robust.

2023 Life, Health and Inclusion score: 233 out of 350 points (Top States Grade: B)

Strengths: Health Care, Low Crime, Worker Protections

Weaknesses: Air Quality, Voting Rights

8. (tie) Massachusetts

Huntstock | Disabilityimages | Getty Images

The Bay State is another health-care powerhouse, with the nation’s lowest percentage of people without health insurance. It is a legacy of Romneycare — the health-care reform signed into law by then-Governor Mitt Romney in 2006, which became a template for the Affordable Care Act. Worker protections are robust in Massachusetts, and so are reproductive rights.


2023 Life, Health and Inclusion Score: 240 out of 350 points (Top States Grade: B)

Strengths: Health Care, Worker Protection, Reproductive Rights

Weaknesses: Air Quality, Childcare

8. (tie) Colorado

A family of bikers, riding on bicycles in Crested Butte, Colorado.

Michaelsvoboda | E+ | Getty Images

Childcare is abundant in the Centennial State, with 55 licensed facilities for every 100,000 residents, according to the advocacy group Child Care Aware. That is the fourth-best in the nation. Colorado is positioning itself as a haven for reproductive rights and gender-affirming care, with a set of laws signed by Gov. Jared Polis in April.

2023 Life, Health and Inclusion Score: 240 out of 350 points (Top States Grade: B)


Strengths: Childcare, Inclusiveness, Voting Rights

Weaknesses: Air Quality, Crime

7. Washington

People march in the middle of Broadway during the “Fight Starbucks’ Union Busting” rally and march in Seattle, Washington on April 23, 2022.

Jason Redmond | Afp | Getty Images

The Evergreen State has the most worker-friendly wage policies in the nation, according to Oxfam America, which measures wages relative to the cost of living. Protections against discrimination in Washington are among the strongest of any state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

2023 Life, Health and Inclusion Score: 242 out of 350 points (Top States Grade: B)

Strengths: Worker Protections, Inclusiveness, Reproductive Rights


Weaknesses: Crime, Childcare

6. Oregon

Mount Hood is seen in the background as a sign reads “Resist Gilead,” a reference to The Handmaid’s Tale, during a protest by abortion rights activists after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe Vs. Wade, overturning abortion rights, in Portland, Oregon, June 24, 2022.

John Rudoff | AFP | Getty Images

No state protects its workers the way the Beaver State does. Oxfam points to laws giving workers’ broad rights to organize. Reproductive rights protections are among the nation’s strongest as well. In 2000, Oregon became the first state to require all elections to be conducted by mail, making voting easy and secure.

2023 Life, Health and Inclusion Score: 248 out of 350 points (Top States Grade: B+)

Strengths: Worker Protections, Reproductive Rights, Voting Rights

Weaknesses: Crime, Childcare, Health Care


5. Hawaii

Colin Anderson Productions Pty Ltd | Digitalvision | Getty Images

Who wouldn’t want to live in Hawaii? The air is pure, according to American Lung Association data, health care is plentiful, and crime is generally low. And it’s Hawaii! But once you have gotten used to living in paradise, you will find that childcare options are limited. And reproductive rights and voting rights, while protected, could be better.

2023 Life, Health and Inclusion Score: 263 out of 350 points (Top States Grade: B+)

Strengths: Air Quality, Health Care, Low crime

Weaknesses: Reproductive Rights, Voting Rights, Childcare

4. Minnesota

Woman and her dog Skijoring.

Jmichl | Istock | Getty Images


People in the North Star State pride themselves on being “Minnesota Nice.” It’s more than just a feeling. The Minnesota numbers back them up. The home of the famed Mayo Clinic is fourth in the nation for access to health care, according to the United Health Foundation. In 2023, the state codified reproductive rights and expanded voting rights.

2023 Life, Health and Inclusion Score: 269 out of 350 points (Top States Grade: B+)

Strengths: Health Care, Reproductive Rights, Voting Rights

Weakness: Crime

3. New Jersey

The Ocean City Police Department leads the 111th Annual Ocean City Baby Parade in Ocean City, New Jersey.

Donald Kravitz | Getty Images

It’s no joke. The Garden State is one of America’s most inclusive, with broad protections against discrimination, and among the nation’s strongest guarantees of reproductive freedom. New Jersey is one of America’s safest states, according to FBI crime data. Its violent crime rate is among the lowest in the nation.


2023 Life, Health and Inclusion Score: 282 out of 350 points (Top States Grade: A-)

Strengths: Reproductive Rights, Inclusiveness, Low Crime Rate

Weakness: Air Quality

2. Maine

Mother and daughter running on the beach at sunset. Mom is in her forties, and girl is 6 years old. Both are wearing wetsuits. Horizontal full length outdoors shot with copy space.

Martinedoucet | E+ | Getty Images

The Pine Tree State’s serene reputation is well-deserved. The crime rate is the lowest in the country. Childcare and health care are both readily available. Maine is also a welcoming state, with broad protections against discrimination.

2023 Life, Health and Inclusion Score: 288 out of 350 points (Top States Grade: A-)


Strengths: Low Crime Rate, Childcare, Healthcare, Inclusiveness

Weakness: Air Quality

1. Vermont

Mike Brinson | The Image Bank | Getty Images

By the numbers, living in the Green Mountain State is stress-free, easy and healthy. Vermont offers America’s best air quality with zero high ozone days per year, and the nation’s most accessible childcare. Vermonters enjoy broad protections against discrimination, and it is one of the nation’s easiest states to vote in. Life in Vermont is good.

2023 Life, Health and Inclusion Score: 327 out of 350 points (Top States Grade: A+)

Strengths: Air Quality, Health Care, Childcare, Voting Rights

Weaknesses: Worker Protections (strong, but not as strong as the rest)


Source: CNBC

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