Opinion: CNBC's List of Worst States To Live Rank Arizona and Texas the Worst - Reflecting CNBC's bias

Mark Hake

CNBC's recently released a report on the U.S. states that it thinks are the worst places to live. It ranked Arizona and Texas as the worst respectively. But somehow these rankings don't match where people are moving.

Where People Are Moving

For example, Arizona and Texas are the two states that have attracted large numbers of people. For example, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that in 2021 Texas, Florida, and Arizona had the three top largest numeric growth in population. That can be seen in the table below:

Moreover, when measured by percent growth in 2021, Arizona was ranked 4th and Texas was ranked 7th:

This shows that the CNBC report was highly influenced by measures other than just quality of life, as it claimed. When it ranked Arizona as the worst place to live and Texas as the second worst, it must be looking at something wholly different than what all of these people were thinking.

Otherwise, why would so many people choose these particular states to pick up and move to? This is despite what CNBC seems to think is so terrible about Arizona and Texas. Or maybe NCBC knows something that everyone else doesn't see.


Here are the reasons CNBC gave for their ranking Arizona as the worst state:

1. Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, endures 39 high ozone days per year.

2. Arizona has a poor healthcare system.

3. Arizona spends just $79 per person on public health, among the country’s lowest.

4. It ranked 67 out of 325 in the CNBC "Life, Health and Inclusion" ranking points.

Interestingly all the states that ranked poor in this ranking were in the South, Midwest, and West. None of the legacy states where people are moving from were in the top worst states to live in.

In fact, in the 2020 census over the past 10 years both Arizona and Texas were in the top 10 states with the highest population increases.

Arizona's population grew 11.9% to 7.15 million from the prior decade and Texas grew 15.9% to 29.145 million. In addition, Florida grew 14.6% to 21.54 million.

This makes one believe that the CNBC ranking is probably more politically oriented. For example, CNBC, as part of the NBC Universal group is known as left-leaning. Arizona and Texas are two of the most "red" states on the list of their worst states to live.

This goes to show that you should not just take this kind of ranking at its face value.

Looking at the actual statistics of where people are moving is probably more of a better indicator of where people think the quality of life is high.


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Mark R. Hake, CFA writes articles at InvestorPlace.com, Barchart.com, Medium.com, and Newsbreak.com as well as a Beehiiv free newsletter on stocks and cryptos.

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Mark Hake is a financial analyst, investor, and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). He writes about US and foreign stocks as well as cryptos, hedge funds, and private equity. He previously ran his own hedge fund, investment research firm, and acted as CFO for a fintech startup. He focuses on finding value, arbitrage, and hidden asset opportunities.

Phoenix, AZ

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