Every year, millions of Americans move between states in search of a better life. Some do it for their career, some for family, and some for retirement. If you fall into one of those categories, then follow along as we break down the 10 states you should avoid at all costs – and why.

10. Mississippi: The Magnolia State

Mississippi is known for its magnolia trees, low cost of living, affordable housing, and blues music, but don’t let that fool you. The unofficial ‘Hospitality State’ isn’t that hospitable from the inside looking out – highlighted by its crippling education system, lack of career opportunities, and dangerously-high poverty rates.

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That’s not all – water contamination is another major concern in the Mississippi community. According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, recent investigations found abnormal levels of lead, PFAS, and other toxic chemicals in tap water and wells throughout the state – meaning most residents depend on bottled water and filtration systems for drinking.

9. Texas: The Lone Star State

We all saw the tragedy that unfolded in the winter of 2021. A massive winter storm hit the state of Texas, leaving millions of people without power for more than a week. Already known for its excruciatingly hot summers, the 2021 ‘Great Texas Freeze’ struck a new fear in those considering a move to the Lone Star State.

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Aside from the weather (which also includes frequent tornadoes) and power grid failures, many Texans complain about the state’s soaring property taxes, inaccessible healthcare system, and poor traffic. A little word of advice: don’t move here if you’re not a fan of long, frustrating car rides – you’ll thank us later!

8. West Virginia: The Mountain State

The Blue Ridge Mountains and nature-filled beauty are enough to draw anyone in, but are they enough to make them stay? Not according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which reports that West Virginia is one of two states in the US to not see population growth in 2023 – something that has plagued this state for nearly 15 years.

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So, why is that? Well, let’s start with the infrastructure – which is one of the worst in the country. The education system isn’t helping, as it consistently ranks in the bottom five in the US. West Virginia also has a rising opioid and drug crisis, a poor healthcare system, and high poverty rates.

7. North Dakota: The Peace Garden State

North Dakota consistently ranks as one of the best places to raise a family, so why wouldn’t someone want to move to the Peace Garden State in 2024? Let’s just say it’s one of the most isolated and boring states in the US. Intrastate travel is tedious, there isn’t much to do, and it lacks diversity.

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If that’s not enough to draw you away, North Dakota has one of the harshest winters – you get all four seasons, but winter is the longest and roughest. Even the summers are unbearable, often reaching the 90s with high humidity. Unfortunately, even if you wanted to move to ND, the housing shortage wouldn’t allow it.

6. Indiana: The Hoosier State

Indiana isn’t a total loss. It’s home to various quality universities, has a low cost of living, and boasts a low crime rate. Unfortunately, it also has a rising drug abuse problem, a lack of public transportation, minimal nightlife activities (unless you live in Indianapolis), and a lack of diversity (which translates to poor cuisine).

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Like most states in the Midwest, Indiana features poor air quality and an overwhelmingly harsh winter season. The lake-effect snow is heavy, the winds are bone-chilling, and the temperatures are below freezing. Having four seasons helps, but the warm and humid summers are nothing to brag about.

5. Idaho: The Gem State

It might be the Gem State, but Idaho is far from a hidden gem in the housing market. The high cost of living and shortage of affordable housing make it extremely difficult to buy a home. It also has a poor education system, lacks diversity, and is severely isolated – with rural areas making up more than 88% of the land.

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Many people complain that Idaho residents aren’t welcoming to those with liberal or progressive views. When you combine that with the isolation and extreme weather conditions (hot and dry summers, long and harsh winters), it’s clear why so many people don’t feel at home in Idaho.

4. Florida: The Sunshine State

It has some of the best weather and is one of the most popular retirement destinations in the country, but you’re better off saving it as your next vacation spot – not your next home. No state income tax is nice, but it’s accompanied by high sales and property taxes to go along with an obnoxious cost of living.

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To make matters worse, Florida is highly prone to a wide range of natural disasters – including floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, tropical storms, and wildfires. The bugs are annoying, alligators are active, and invasive species are everywhere. Oh, and the state’s healthcare system is getting worse every year.

3. Utah: The Beehive State

If Utas was high on your list of potential moving destinations, consider building your beehive elsewhere. It has some good qualities (education, cost of living, housing costs) but also features some of the highest tax rates, overcrowding in certain areas, and a Mormon-based culture.

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Its snow-filled winters are great for those who enjoy snowboarding, but not so much for those who dislike shoveling and freezing temperatures. When it’s not snowing, Utah experiences 800 to 1,000 wildfires every year – making it one of the most wildfire-prone states in the entire US.

2. Louisiana: The Pelican State

Affordable living, one-of-a-kind cuisine, impeccable music scene, Southern hospitality – don’t let these things cloud your judgment. Louisiana remains one of the most dangerous states in the US. Poverty is at an all-time high, crime rates are worsening, the economy is crashing, and its public education system is horrendous.

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It’s no wonder why Louisiana was one of two states to not experience population growth in 2023 – we previously mentioned the other one (West Virginia). It’s the most polluted state in the country, has one of the worst healthcare systems, and residents notoriously have a low life expectancy.

1. California: The Golden State

Last but not least, we have California – a great vacation spot, but the worst place to live in 2024 and beyond. Unless you’re a millionaire, good luck finding a home in the Golden State – the median price for a home in CA is $843,340, according to the California Association of Realtors.

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Even if you can afford a home, California boasts one of the highest costs of living in the US – with an aggressive 7.25% state sales tax. Traffic is frustrating, cities are largely overcrowded, and wildfires are inevitable – as are earthquakes, mudslides, and flooding. As you can see, this state loses its allure quite quickly.