New Hampshire Most Livable State

When it comes to the most livable state in the nation you can't do better than New Hampshire, according to a recent survey.

The state ranked highest in the Kansas-based Morgan Quitno Press survey, which has been crunching geographical numbers for 16 years.

New Jersey ranked fifth on the list, with New York weighing in at No. 32 and Connecticut at No. 10.

But in terms of quality-of-statistical life, nowhere could beat out New Hampshire. Its citizens enjoy low unemployment, low crime rates, high household income and high levels of education, Morgan said, making top dog for the second straight year.

The survey is based on 44 factors including health, public safety, home ownership, marriage rates, percentage of eligible voters and even percentage of sunny days.

Categories with a negative factor were higher crime rates, state prison incarceration rates, student-to-teacher ratios and bankruptcy rates.

New Jersey did well because it has the highest high school graduation rate in the nation, highest median family income and highest median household income, said James Hughes, dean of Rutgers School of Planning and Public Policy.

"If New Jersey seceded from the union, we'd be the wealthiest country on earth," said Hughes, a New Jersey native.

The least livable places, in order, were South Carolina (46), Kentucky (47), Arkansas (48), Mississippi (49) and Louisiana (50).

Hurricane Katrina was not a major factor because Louisiana rated No. 49 last year.

States that had the greatest changes of fortune were Arizona and Indiana. Arizona moved up from 36 to 29 on the survey. Indiana went the other way, slipping from 21 last year and plunging to No. 36.

Quitno also has a survey of best and worst cities - and Camden, N.J., is the worst.

"New Jersey is the fifth most livable state and yet it has the most dangerous city," said Morgan. "You figure it out."