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The Worst States to Live in (According to People Who Live There)

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People who reside in Montana and Alaska are more likely to say their state is the best place to live, while people in Rhode Island and Illinois are more likely to say their state is the worst, Gallup reports.

Residents who have the highest opinion of their states:

Montana: 77%
Alaska: 77%
Utah: 70%
Wyoming: 69%
Texas: 68%
Hawaii: 68%
New Hampshire: 67%
North Dakota: 66%
Colorado: 65%
Vermont: 61%
Oregon: 61%
Minnesota: 61%

Residents who have the lowest opinion of their states:

Rhode Island: 18%
Illinois: 19%
Mississippi: 26%
Louisiana: 27%
Michigan: 28%
New Mexico: 28%
New Jersey: 28%
Maryland: 29%
Missouri: 29%
Connecticut: 31%

In general, the pollsters argue that Americans who have the highest opinion of their states report having high trust in their state government and are less negative about the state taxes they pay (based on past Gallup polls) than the residents who think their states are the worst. Gallup adds:

Most of these states have relatively low populations, including Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, and Alaska — the four states with the smallest populations in the nation. Texas, the second most populated state, is the major exception to this population relationship. Although it is difficult to discern what the causal relationship is between terrain and climate and positive attitudes, many of the top 10 states are mountainous with cold winters. In fact, the two states most highly rated by their residents — Montana and Alaska — are among not only the nation’s coldest states but also both border Canada.

Gallup interviewed at least 600 residents in each state between June and December 2013, measuring for the first time “whether residents view their states as ‘the best possible state to live in,’ ‘one of the best possible states to live in,’ ‘as good a state as any to live in,’ or ‘the worst possible state to live in.’ The margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points.

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Write to Olivia B. Waxman at olivia.waxman@time.com