Top 10 States to be Young In

Between student loans, high unemployment for their age group and a bleak future for Social Security, America's youth is facing a tough situation. Here are 10 states off the beaten path that have a lot going for young adults.

The future is looking a little bleak for the America’s young adults right now. The economy is still rocky, jobs are hard to find, they’re laden with student loan debts and they realize that if they want to retire they only have themselves to rely on since Social Security won’t be much help.

There are bright spots with some states having more favorable conditions for young people. MoneyRates.com analyzed nine economic and lifestyle factors to rank the 10 states where youth rules. These states are a good place for young people to get a strong start on life.

The economic factors considered were employment for young people (ages 20 to 24) based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics; insurance costs for young drivers from Insure.com; cost of a college education according to The College Board; and affordability of housing from the Census Bureau’s median rental costs.

Lifestyle factors analyzed were youth-oriented retailing (MoneyRates.com chose the number of Abercrombie & Fitch stores per million residents); nightlife, based on number of bars per million residents that made Esquire Magazine’s Best Bars in America; healthfulness based on number of gyms; youthfulness of the state by finding the percentage of the state’s population in the 18 to 24 age group; and availability of living space based on the Census Bureau’s rental vacancy rate.

The list is slightly unconventional, but it might be good to look off the beaten path.

10. New Hampshire

Downtown Concord, N.H.

Youth unemployment rate: 8.7%

Percentage of population aged 20 to 24: 9.3%

Average cost of higher education: $26,234

Median rental cost: $918

College is a more expensive, but the state has a decent employment rate for young people. The state scored high on the availability of bars, fitness clubs and youth-oriented stores.

9. Utah

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park

Youth unemployment rate: 8.5%

Percentage of population aged 20-24: 11.51%

Average cost of higher education: $5,745

Median rental cost: $793

More than 11% of the state’s population is in the 20 to 24 age group, plus it has a very low unemployment rate for young adults and college tuition is very low.

8. Alaska

Peak Three near Anchorage

Youth unemployment rate: 12.80%

Percentage of population aged 20-24: 10.54%

Average cost of higher education: $15,431

Median rental cost: $1,007

One of the most youthful states in the country, Alaska had high stats in most of the lifestyle categories. However, it has the nation’s lowest rental vacancy rate.

7. Vermont

Burlington

Youth unemployment rate: 12.8%

Percentage of population aged 20-24: 10.37%

Average cost of higher education: $23,361

Median rental cost: $829

The average four-year tuition costs are among the highest in the nation, but rental costs are low and Vermont has more fitness clubs per capita than any other state.

6. Delaware

Downtown Wilmington across the Christina River. Copyright Tim Kiser | Wikipedia.org.

Youth unemployment rate: 11.4%

Percentage of population aged 20-24: 10.12%

Average cost of higher education: $12,192

Median rental cost: $949

This tiny state has low tuition rates and a high amount of top-rated bars and youth-oriented stores. However, public transportation is recommended since Delaware has the nation’s highest auto premiums for adults ages 20 to 24 with an average rate of $3,006.

5. Nebraska

Sunken Gardens in Lincoln

Youth unemployment rate: 7.9%

Percentage of population aged 20-24: 9.99%

Average cost of higher education: $13,574

Median rental cost: $644

Nebraska has a lot going for it, making it good for retirees as well as people in medical school. Rental rates are more than $150 below the national average and unemployment is low.

4. Montana

Resort at Big Sky. Wikipedia.org

Youth unemployment rate: 14.7%

Percentage of population aged 20-24: 9.56%

Average cost of higher education: $14,431

Median rental cost: $627

Rental rates are low, as is college tuition, but the state has a high number of health clubs and top-rated bars.

3. Iowa

Des Moines

Youth unemployment rate: 11.3%

Percentage of population aged 20-24: 10.04%

Average cost of higher education: $17,057

Median rental cost: $611

Car insurance premiums are the lowest in the nation, plus rental rates are extremely low as well.

2. South Dakota

Sioux Falls, S.D.

Youth unemployment rate: 8.4%

Percentage of population aged 20-24: 10.01%

Average cost of higher education: $14,900

Median rental cost: $562

Although the state is lacking in youth-oriented retailing, apartments are dirt cheap with the second lowest rates in the nation. Plus, unemployment is low.

1. North Dakota

Art Fest in Grand Forks

Youth unemployment rate: 5.3%

Percentage of population aged 20-24: 12.05%

Average cost of higher education: $10,774

Median rental cost: $564

The unemployment in North Dakota is the lowest in the country and its economy is booming right now, getting the state high marks in the economic categories. Plus, the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences ranked in the top 10 most popular medical schools.

Read more:

Best States for Young People — MoneyRates.com