Whether you’re considering a move or looking for bragging rights for your hometown, some states of the union are far greener than others. A recent study from WalletHub, the credit-score website, compared each of the 50 states on 23 key metrics, including red states vs. blue states, to see which places are really doing their part to take care of the environment (spoiler alert: blue states win).
Here’s how things shape up across the good old US of A when it comes to environmental quality, eco-friendly behaviors and climate-change contributions.
If You Want to Breathe the Freshest Air…
Take yourself to Wyoming, the Dakotas, Vermont or New Mexico for the highest air quality. And even though Arizona is right next door to New Mexico, avoid its temptations, given that it ranks as one of the poorest states for air quality, along with Indiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois and California.
If You Dream of Planting Gardens of All Kinds…
Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin are home to the highest soil quality. Your veggies and flowers are far less likely to thrive in Montana, Rhode Island, Wyoming, Arizona and New Mexico, which rank as having the lowest soil quality.
If You See the Value in Biking and Hybrid Cars…
Settle in New York, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Utah or Pennsylvania if you want to live in a state that has the lowest gasoline consumption (in gallons) per capita. Beware of gas guzzlers in Mississippi, South Carolina, Maine, Wyoming and North Dakota.
If You’re a Big Believer in Recycling…
You’ll find kindred spirits in Maine, Minnesota, Arkansas, California and New Hampshire when it comes to the highest percentage of recycled municipal solid waste. The folks who don’t separate their paper and plastic are more likely to be found in Arizona, Mississippi, Alaska, Oklahoma, Utah and Louisiana.
It’s a Toss-Up
There is confusing crossover between states — some are at the top of one ranking while in other rankings they’re dead last. The Dakotas, for instance, have great air quality but awful gas consumption. Population may have something to do with it, or perhaps the sheer size of a state — the Dakotas are some of the least-populated states, but they have far more wide open spaces than, say, tiny Vermont. Getting from place to place in North or South Dakota simply requires more fuel.
Love Where You Live
Carbon footprint, sustainable living efforts and green energy sources all contribute to a state’s success at going green and staying green. Vermont, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York and South Dakota hold the top five spots, respectively, for environmentally friendly states. Even though Arizona seems to end up as a loser in many categories, overall, it ranks in the middle (28). Bringing up the rear are Alabama, North Dakota, Kentucky, Louisiana and West Virginia.
No state is perfect when it comes to environmental friendliness. The variables are many, including climate, population, economic powerhouses, public transportation and more. Choose the home that speaks to you, and do your best to be kind to the environment in your own ways.