With Independence Day just around the corner, one company did a study to see how financially independent each state is. Jill Gonzalez, an analyst for WalletHub, said Utah is the second most independent state in the nation - just behind Colorado.
WalletHub is a personal finance website that gathers tons of data for studies like this: “2017’s Most and Least Independent States.” Gonzalez said their data team compared the fifty states based on five sources of dependency: consumer finances, the government, the job market, international trade and personal vices. Each of those categories are broken down into 32 key indicators.
“Utah did really well across the board,” Gonzalez said. “It actually has the highest percentage of households with rainy-day or emergency funds. About two times more households have the types of savings than compared to say Florida, West Virginia and New Mexico, which ranked toward the bottom of that specific metric.”
After adjusting for the cost of living, Utah has the highest median household income in the nation. According to Gonzales, that is twice as much as places like West Virginia or even New York State.
“We also saw that Utah did very well and has a very low percentage of households that are receiving public assistance or enrolled in the SNAP program,” Gonzalez said.
Unsurprisingly, Gonzalez said Utah has the lowest percentage of adult smokers and the second lowest percentage of adult binge drinkers, which are those personal vices that effect financial independency.
Even though Utah ranks very well nationally, Gonzales said there are a few things the Beehive state could continue to work on.
“Its highest mark was in the international trade dependency, so a little more relied on especially things like federal jobs,” Gonzalez said. “But even that ranked 13th so really no marks were in the bottom half of these rankings.”
Gonzales said Utahns should be happy to know they are living in a self-sustaining state.
“Right now I would say that Utah is really doing its part here, especially with its job market,” Gonzalez said. “We’re seeing Utah has some of the lowest un-employment rates in the country, its job growth rate is around five percent year over year which is a huge number. Typically we see that hover around the one or two percent mark. So Utah, especially when it comes to its civilian job market is really paving the way and should be an example for some other states.”