Florida, California, Hawaii Top States Where Americans Want to Live

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The FINANCIAL — For the first time since 2001, Florida, our nation’s 27th state, is back on top as Americans’ most desired habitation destination. When asked where – excluding their current state – they would most like to live, The Sunshine State is at the top of the list. Sunshine and waterfront acreage are consistent themes at the top of this list, with California (2) and Hawaii (3) rounding out the top three. Turning away from beachfront territories, Colorado (4) and New York (5) close out the top five states Americans would like to live in.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,232 U.S. adults surveyed online between November 11 and 16, 2015.

Despite some re-ordering, this year’s top five were, for the most part, also top-five honorees in 2013 (the last time this question was asked); the sole exception is New York, which edged into the top-five after a sixth place showing last time around. Texas, meanwhile, drops out of the top five and into 6th place this year.

The remaining 9 states on the “top 15” list include diverse geographies, though most do fall within a few general categories:

The coasts are well-represented: Along with Florida, the Carolinas – North (7) and South (12) – and Georgia cover most of the southeastern United States beachfront. Meanwhile, Oregon (9) and Washington (14) make for full west coast coverage (when combined with California);

Perhaps for some it’s not the coast but the warmth which takes precedence, as landlocked-but-sunny states Arizona (8) and Tennessee (10) also make the list;

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Hawaii’s partner in non-contiguity (though its opposite on the size and weather spectrums), Alaska (11), makes an appearance; and
Pennsylvania (15) represents the mid-Atlantic while rounding out the top 15.

Of course, many states have both admirers and detractors. California may be 2nd on the list of states Americans would like to live in, but it also tops the list of states where Americans would least like to dwell. New York and Alaska may both be top 15 performers when Americans say where they would like to live, but they also round out the top three states where Americans would not want to live (2 and 3, respectively). Mississippi (4) and Texas (5) complete the top 5 for the dubious list, with Alabama (6), Florida (7), Illinois (8), Michigan (9) and the District of Columbia (10) completing the top 10.

Favorite and Least Favorite Cities

Focusing in on cities Americans would (and wouldn’t) want to live in, Americans continue their love/hate relationship with The Big Apple. New York, NY has topped The Harris Poll’s list of cities where Americans most want to live (excluding where they live now) for well over a decade, but it has also topped the list of cities they’d least like to live in since the question was first asked in 2010.

California and Florida are well represented among the top 10 most desired cities, with San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco nabbing the 2nd, 4th and 6th spots for the Golden State, while Miami and Orlando bring the 5th and 10th spots home to the Sunshine State.

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Denver, CO (3) fills in the lone gap in the top five, while Honolulu, HI (7); Atlanta, GA (8) and Seattle, WA (9) fill out the rest of the top 10.

The top three cities Americans would least want to live in have remained the same since this question was first asked in 2010, with the aforementioned New York, NY at the top, followed by Detroit, MI (2) and Los Angeles (3). Chicago, IL repeats in 4th place, while Dallas, TX (5) rounds out the top five. Miami, FL (6); San Francisco, CA (7); Houston, TX (8); Washington, DC (9) and Las Vegas, NV (10) complete this less desirable top 10 list.


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