Where Millennials Struggle the Most Financially in the United States

Written by Carly Hallman

Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are individuals born from the early 1980s to the mid-to-late 1990s. Different sources have defined varying birth years for Millennials — PBS, CBS, ABC Australia, the American Psychological Association, and the Washington Post have all used 1981 to 1996, as does the Pew Research Center. Oxford Living Dictionaries describes a Millennial as “a person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century.” No matter how they are defined, Millennials are often a topic of heated, pessimistic discussion. With article titles like “America’s Millennials Are Waking Up to a Grim Future” by Bloomberg and “Millennials Are Screwed” by the Huffington Post, it is no wonder that this generation often suffers from disillusionment.

It’s important to note that America is a land of diverse, fluctuating opportunities — Millennials in some regions may fare far better than in others. This infographic examines where in the United States Millennials struggle the most financially using the Millennial Financial Struggle Index. It was created with the following data sets: average student debt per borrower by state, average Millennial salaries by state, estimated time to save for a house down payment (based on national Millennial median income), the relative value of $100 in every state, annual household income needed to afford a two-bedroom rental, unemployment rate by state, and WalletHub’s job opportunities by state index.

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Where Millennials Struggle the Most Financially in the United States Transcript

The Millennial Financial Struggle Index was created with the following data sets: average student debt per borrower by state, average Millennial salaries by state, estimated time to save for a house down payment (based on national Millennial median income), the relative value of $100 in every state, annual household income needed to afford a two-bedroom rental, unemployment rate by state, and WalletHub’s job opportunities by state index.

Average Student Debt per Borrower by State

State Average Student Debt Per Borrower by State
Pennsylvania $36,193.00
Rhode Island $35,371.00
Delaware $34,144.00
New Hampshire $33,462.00
Alabama $31,861.00
Connecticut $31,643.00
New York $31,506.00
South Dakota $31,332.00
Massachusetts $31,319.00
Minnesota $31,231.00
Michigan $30,978.00
New Jersey $30,794.00
Maine $30,321.00
South Carolina $30,310.00
Mississippi $30,268.00
Ohio $29,723.00
Vermont $29,656.00
Wisconsin $29,569.00
Iowa $29,411.00
Indiana $29,405.00
Virginia $29,316.00
Maryland $28,844.00
Illinois $28,424.00
Montana $28,389.00
Georgia $28,376.00
Kentucky $28,078.00
West Virginia $27,608.00
Kansas $27,604.00
Oregon $27,550.00
Texas $27,001.00
Missouri $26,834.00
Louisiana $26,808.00
Colorado $26,662.00
Idaho $26,604.00
Arkansas $26,561.00
Oklahoma $26,270.00
North Carolina $26,164.00
North Dakota $26,080.00
Nebraska $25,501.00
Alaska $25,349.00
Tennessee $25,054.00
Hawaii $24,955.00
Arizona $23,913.00
Florida $23,556.00
Washington $23,359.00
Wyoming $22,524.00
California $22,383.00
Nevada $22,026.00
New Mexico $21,805.00
Utah $18,425.00

Average Millennial Salaries by State

State Average Millennial Salaries by State
Connecticut $74,770.00
Colorado $67,250.00
California $66,979.00
Delaware $65,357.00
Arizona $55,493.00
Massachusetts $50,000.00
Arkansas $47,339.00
New York $45,000.00
New Jersey $45,000.00
Maryland $45,000.00
Washington $45,000.00
Alaska $43,000.00
Minnesota $42,100.00
Virginia $41,400.00
Rhode Island $40,500.00
Illinois $40,300.00
Pennsylvania $40,000.00
New Hampshire $40,000.00
Wisconsin $40,000.00
Iowa $40,000.00
North Dakota $40,000.00
Nebraska $40,000.00
Hawaii $39,000.00
Maine $38,000.00
Vermont $38,000.00
Oregon $38,000.00
Indiana $37,500.00
Ohio $37,400.00
Kansas $37,200.00
Wyoming $37,200.00
Utah $37,100.00
Michigan $37,000.00
Texas $37,000.00
South Dakota $36,000.00
Missouri $36,000.00
Georgia $35,000.00
Kentucky $35,000.00
Louisiana $35,000.00
Oklahoma $35,000.00
North Carolina $35,000.00
Nevada $35,000.00
Tennessee $34,600.00
West Virginia $33,000.00
Idaho $33,000.00
Florida $33,000.00
Montana $32,700.00
South Carolina $32,400.00
Alabama $32,000.00
New Mexico $32,000.00
Mississippi $31,900.00

Estimated Time to Save for a House Down Payment (Based on National Millennial Median Income)

Assuming Millennials save 20% of their salary each month with a goal of affording a 20% down payment

State Estimated Time (years) to Save for a House Down Payment (based on national Millennial median income)
Hawaii 8.40
California 8.00
Oregon 6.40
Colorado 6.20
Washington 5.80
Montana 5.80
Nevada 5.70
Idaho 5.70
Massachusetts 5.60
Florida 5.60
New York 5.50
Utah 5.40
Arizona 5.10
Rhode Island 5.00
North Carolina 5.00
South Carolina 4.90
Texas 4.80
Georgia 4.80
Tennessee 4.80
New Mexico 4.80
Delaware 4.40
Virginia 4.40
Connecticut 4.30
New Jersey 4.20
Maine 4.20
Vermont 4.20
Louisiana 4.20
Maryland 4.10
Alabama 4.10
New Hampshire 4.00
Mississippi 4.00
South Dakota 3.90
Alaska 3.80
Arkansas 3.70
Minnesota 3.70
Illinois 3.70
Wyoming 3.70
Kentucky 3.60
Nebraska 3.50
Oklahoma 3.50
Pennsylvania 3.40
Wisconsin 3.40
Michigan 3.40
North Dakota 3.30
Indiana 3.30
Missouri 3.30
Kansas 3.20
West Virginia 3.20
Ohio 3.00
Iowa 2.90

Annual Household Income Needed to Afford a Two-Bedroom Rental

Represents the hourly wage (working a full-time job) a household must earn to afford a two-bedroom rental without paying more than 30% of their income.

State Annual Household Income Needed to Afford a Two-Bedroom Rental
Hawaii $75,158.00
California $67,976.00
New Mexico $62,454.00
New York $62,454.00
Maryland $60,406.00
Massachusetts $59,571.00
New Jersey $58,603.00
Washington $55,886.00
Connecticut $51,799.00
Alaska $51,576.00
Colorado $49,780.00
Virginia $49,276.00
Vermont $46,585.00
New Hampshire $46,426.00
Delaware $45,439.00
Florida $44,716.00
Oregon $44,214.00
Illinois $42,304.00
Rhode Island $41,526.00
Pennsylvania $40,616.00
Texas $40,185.00
Minnesota $39,141.00
Maine $38,966.00
Nevada $38,660.00
Arizona $38,390.00
Utah $36,952.00
Georgia $36,459.00
Michigan $35,057.00
Louisiana $34,597.00
Wisconsin $34,371.00
Wyoming $34,236.00
North Dakota $34,190.00
South Carolina $34,080.00
North Carolina $34,004.00
Montana $33,545.00
Tennessee $32,749.00
Kansas $32,584.00
Nebraska $32,580.00
Indiana $32,359.00
Missouri $32,148.00
Idaho $32,122.00
Oklahoma $32,047.00
Ohio $31,723.00
Iowa $31,226.00
Alabama $30,466.00
Mississippi $30,188.00
Kentucky $29,955.00
South Dakota $29,816.00
West Virginia $29,336.00
Arkansas $28,794.00

Job Opportunities by State

Based on MarketHub’s study of 29 key indicators of job market strength, opportunity, and healthy economy. Factors include quantity of job opportunities, highest employment growth, highest monthly average starting salary, job satisfaction, share of engaged workers, disability-friendliness, commute time, and more. Scores are out of 100.

State Job Opportunities by State
Washington 71.45
Colorado 70.04
Minnesota 65.13
Utah 64.00
New Hampshire 62.41
Tennessee 61.84
Vermont 61.34
Massachusetts 61.23
Florida 60.67
Texas 59.96
Nebraska 59.74
North Dakota 59.59
South Dakota 59.21
New Jersey 59.14
Nevada 59.13
Wisconsin 59.13
California 58.81
Virginia 58.42
Maryland 57.79
Delaware 57.73
Rhode Island 57.35
Kansas 57.13
Connecticut 56.97
Maine 56.84
Arizona 56.36
Iowa 56.06
Idaho 55.85
New York 53.80
Oregon 53.08
Georgia 52.72
Illinois 51.81
Hawaii 50.09
Indiana 49.80
Michigan 49.79
Montana 49.16
Missouri 49.13
Ohio 48.93
South Carolina 48.60
Oklahoma 48.00
Arkansas 47.88
Wyoming 47.06
North Carolina 46.41
New Mexico 44.60
Alaska 44.05
Alabama 43.52
Pennsylvania 41.94
Louisiana 41.38
Kentucky 40.18
Mississippi 39.92
West Virginia 33.61

The Relative Value of $100 in Every State

State The Relative Value of $100 in Every State
Mississippi 115.74
Alabama 115.47
Arkansas 115.07
West Virginia 114.16
Kentucky 113.90
South Dakota 113.25
Oklahoma 112.36
Ohio 111.98
Missouri 111.73
Tennessee 110.86
Iowa 110.86
South Carolina 110.74
Indiana 110.74
Louisiana 110.62
Nebraska 110.50
Kansas 110.50
North Carolina 110.01
North Dakota 109.29
Georgia 108.58
Wisconsin 107.76
Idaho 107.53
Michigan 107.18
New Mexico 106.84
Montana 106.27
Arizona 104.28
Wyoming 103.41
Texas 103.20
Utah 102.77
Nevada 102.67
Minnesota 102.56
Maine 101.63
Pennsylvania 101.63
Illinois 101.11
Rhode Island 100.40
Florida 100.30
Oregon 100.20
Delaware 99.80
Vermont 98.43
Virginia 97.75
Colorado 97.09
Alaska 94.88
Washington 94.79
New Hampshire 94.43
Massachusetts 92.76
Connecticut 92.00
Maryland 91.32
New Jersey 88.34
California 87.41
New York 86.51
Hawaii 84.46

Sources:

Here are some additional highlights from our Millennial Financial Struggle Index analysis.

Top 5 States Where Millennials May Struggle the Most Financially:

  1. Hawaii (216.79)
  2. New York (186.93)
  3. Alaska (182.76)
  4. New Mexico (181.42)
  5. Oregon (167.14)

Top 5 States Where Millennials May Thrive the Most Financially:

  1. North Dakota (60.89)
  2. Nebraska (65.97)
  3. Iowa (66.51)
  4. Utah (82.53)
  5. Arkansas (82.92)

The Seven Factors That Went Into the Millennial Financial Struggle Index:

Let’s get even more granular! Here are the states where Millennials will fare the worst based on all seven individual factors we took into consideration in the creation of our index:

The 5 States With the Highest Average Student Debt Per Borrower

  1. Pennsylvania, $36,193.00
  2. Rhode Island, $35,371.00
  3. Delaware, $34,144.00
  4. New Hampshire, $33,462.00
  5. Alabama, $31,861.00

The 5 States With the Lowest Average Millennial Salaries

  1. Mississippi, $31,900.00
  2. Alabama, $32,000.00
  3. New Mexico, $32,000.00
  4. South Carolina, $32,400.00
  5. Montana, $32,700.00

The 5 States With the Highest Estimated Time to Save For a House Down Payment for Millennials (Years)

  1. Hawaii, 8.40
  2. California, 8.00
  3. Oregon, 6.40
  4. Colorado, 6.20
  5. Montana, 5.80

The 5 States With the Lowest Relative Value of $100

  1. Hawaii, $84.46
  2. New York, $86.51
  3. California, $87.41
  4. New Jersey, $88.34
  5. Maryland, $91.32

The 5 States With the Highest Annual Household Income Needed to Afford a Two-Bedroom Rental

  1. Hawaii, $75,158.00
  2. California, $67,976.00
  3. New York, $62,454.00
  4. New Mexico, $62,454.00
  5. Maryland, $60,406.00

The 5 States With the Highest Unemployment by State (by Percentage of Workforce)

  1. Alaska, 6.50%
  2. New Mexico, 5.10%
  3. West Virginia, 5.10%
  4. Arizona, 5.00%
  5. Mississippi, 4.90%

The 5 Worst States to Find a Job (Based on WalletHub’s Job Opportunity Index)

  1. West Virginia, 33.61
  2. Mississippi, 39.92
  3. Kentucky, 40.18
  4. Louisiana, 41.38
  5. Pennsylvania, 41.94

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