Worst and Best States for Opportunity in The U.S.

Last updated on December 19th, 2023 at 10:16 am


An opportunity in a state or country is a chance given to residents or citizens to take advantage of available tools to explore their potential for success.

The United States is referred to as the land of opportunity because it is a country where everyone has access to social justice, freedom of expression, and space to make their dream a reality through a conducive environment.

But in opportunity rankings, some states are better than others because they create and grant citizens and residents the tools to succeed, the US News research says.


This research shows that the policies of some states in the U.S. cannot only boost their confidence in bringing their dream into reality but can also enhance their capacity to properly harness their potential.

So, which states create opportunities for their residents? The study uncovers which state is truly the land of opportunity for prosperity and success.

Impediment to opportunity in the U.S.

For millions of people around the world that apply for visas and seek opportunities to reside and work in the U.S, this study will be a guide for you.

As there are opportunities to succeed in the country, historic, racial and some economic impediments still exist in some of the 50 states. This includes gender and racial disparities.

States with the best opportunity

This research is significant because we are taking into cognizance the interest of investors around the world who might want to relocate to explore business opportunities in the U.S.

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So, which states have the best opportunity?


Iowa with 56,273 sq mi or 145,746 sq. km of area is the best state for the opportunity and there are lots of factors that have boosted the ranking of the small US state in this regard. For instance, the midwestern state has an equal employment opportunity commission.

Key rankings:

Affordability: 4

Economic opportunity: 12

Equality: 27

In the last report of the happiest states by HouseFresh, Hawkeye State is ranked number four. Overall, it is ranked 12 and ranked 19 by infrastructure and 14 by crime and correction. Above all, Iowa is a place students, retirees, and young families can call home.


Popularly as the Land of 10,000 lakes, Minnesota also houses the largest shopping mall in the U.S. Mall of America. The state is the second with the best opportunity.

In the overall ranking, Minnesota is the second-best U.S state, occupying significant positions in the following sectors: Opportunity: 2; Infrastructure: 9, and Natural environment: 10 among others.

New Hampshire

Ranked as the fourth best state in the U.S in the overall ranking as against no. 2 in 2019, New Hampshire is the third best by opportunity.

Commonly known as the Granite State for its granite formations and quarries, the state is ranked no. 1 in crime and corrections and no. 2 in terms of natural environment.


Known for its huge agricultural products that include poultry, soybeans, pork, and dairy products, considered one of its major economies, Missouri is the fourth state for creating tools for residents to succeed.

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The state is also ranked 15 in fiscal stability and rapidly developing its infrastructure, ranking 27.  Data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis in 2021 ranked Missouri 22 with Gross State Product standing at $295.73 billion USD.


Michigan is one of the states that maintain the same ranking as 2019 as the 38 best U.S state in the US News ranking. Known as the home of automobiles, Michigan is also famous for tourism and agriculture.

Worst U.S. States for Opportunity

California, New Mexico, Louisiana, Nevada, and New York are the worst states for an opportunity. It’s unbelievable that California, the largest economy in the U.S sits at the bottom of the U.S News ranking.

In terms of affordability, expectedly, California ranks 49. That’s understandable considering the cost of living in the Golden State. It ranks 22 for economic opportunity and 35 for equality.

According to US News ranking, here are the US states with the best opportunity.

StatesOpportunityAffordabilityEconomic OpportunityEquality
Iowa 141227
New Hampshire33817
West Virginia188474
New Jersey1937623
North Dakota23211349
South Dakota27142350
North Carolina28244226
Rhode Island32451517
South Carolina38253943
New York46363828
New Mexico49264842
Credit: US News


Based on the scorecard of ranking used by the global news firm, including affordability, equality, and economic opportunity, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Missouri, and Michigan are the best states that grant tools to succeed to their citizens.

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Conversely, California which has lots of business grants to encourage entrepreneurs occupies the bottom of the ranking, followed by four other states. It is important to note that the Golden State prides itself on the most expensive state to buy a home and reside in.

We hope this ranking will help you to make decisions in case you are planning to immigrate in the United States for an opportunity.


  • Opeyemi Quadri

    Ope is a finance writer and researcher with 10+ years of experience in content creation. His interests cut across decentralized finance, investment, foreign exchange, government policies and politics.

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