The 10 Most and Least Lucky States in America

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Young woman crossing her fingers and feeling lucky
Dean Drobot /

This story originally appeared on

Feeling lucky? Or maybe not so lucky?

There’s no denying that some people seem far luckier than others. You know who I’m talking about, the kind of person who seems to stumble into big promotions and always wins the office raffle.

It got us thinking, are some places luckier than others? Are there even whole states where lotto tickets are more likely to be winners, people live longer lives, and inexplicably have fewer accidents?

To answer this question, and in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we ran the numbers to find the luckiest states in the whole country.

How We Determined This

Man analyzing data on a laptop
fizkes /

We examined six factors to find the luckiest states:

  • Number of lotto winners
  • Median income
  • Low unemployment
  • Average life expectancy
  • Weather-related fatalities
  • Car accident deaths per 100,000 people

We decided luck could be broken down into two broad categories: health and finances.

For finances, we started by looking at the obvious, lottery winnings. It’s hard to get luckier than random numbers and a couple of bucks making you a millionaire.

For this, we combined the number of Powerball and Jackpot wins in each state. The more winners, the luckier state. Not all state have lotteries (unlucky them), so states without received the lowest rank.

Of course, everyday financial luck matters too. So we then looked at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics‘ unemployment numbers and median household salary according to the American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau. The lower the unemployment and the higher the salary, the luckier the state.

From there we moved to health. After all, what is money without your health? We first examined average life expectancy according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Of course, it’s hard to be unluckier than dying in an unexpected accident. So we included one of the largest causes of accidental death: car accidents. The greater the number of accidental car deaths per 100,000 according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the unluckier the state.

In a similar vein, we looked at fatalities in a one-year period from extreme weather. For this data we turned to the National Weather Service.

All factors were ranked and evenly averaged together to uncover the luckiest and unluckiest states.

1. Minnesota

Victoria, Minnesota
Susan Rydberg /

Big Lotto Winners: 22
Life Expectancy in Years: 81
Car Accident Deaths Per 100,000 People: 7

The luckiest state in the whole country is Minnesota.

Minnesotans have an impressive life expectancy of 81 years. This is helped by generally good job opportunities and a smaller-than-average chance of death by car accident or extreme weather.

2. New Jersey

Hoboken, New Jersey
Mags951 /

Big Lotto Winners: 33
Life Expectancy in Years: 80
Car Accident Deaths Per 100,000 People: 6

When you think New Jersey, you probably don’t think lucky. However, New Jersey is the second-luckiest state in the U.S.

What makes New Jersey so lucky? A disproportionately high number of lotto winners, strong wages and low accident risks. What happy odds.

3. New Hampshire

Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Sean Pavone /

Big Lotto Winners: 12
Life Expectancy in Years: 80
Car Accident Deaths Per 100,000 People: 7

Since New Hampshire is the most Irish state, maybe they have the luck of the Irish. That would certainly explain the low unemployment and high incomes.

4. Massachusetts

Springfield, Massachusetts
Sean Pavone /

Big Lotto Winners: 9
Life Expectancy in Years: 81
Car Accident Deaths Per 100,000 People: 5

In fourth place is Massachusetts. Massachusetts is tied for the lowest extreme weather and car accident fatalities.

5. New York

Albany, New York
Sean Pavone /

Big Lotto Winners: 50
Life Expectancy in Years: 81
Car Accident Deaths Per 100,000 People: 5

If you live in New York, buying a lottery ticket isn’t quite as big of a gamble. The Empire State has had an impressive 50 Powerball and Jackpot winners.

Toss in low car accident risks, and New York is looking pretty lucky.

6. Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah
f11photo /

Big Lotto Winners: 0
Life Expectancy in Years: 80
Car Accident Deaths Per 100,000 People: 8

Utah has no lotteries but is still plenty lucky. Utah has some of the lowest unemployment in the nation. As anyone who’s been laid off or fired can tell you, that makes Utahans fortunate workers.

6. Washington

Seattle, Washington
Sean Pavone /

Big Lotto Winners: 6
Life Expectancy in Years: 80
Car Accident Deaths Per 100,000 People: 7

In sixth place is Washington. Only 6.8 people for every 100,000 die in a car accident in Washington each year.

While any number of deaths is unlucky, that is significantly better than the national average of 12.

7. Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island
Nagel Photography /

Big Lotto Winners: 9
Life Expectancy in Years: 80
Car Accident Deaths Per 100,000 People: 5

Tiny Rhode Island is brimming with luck. Absolutely zero Rhode Islanders died of extreme weather according to the National Weather Service in the year examined.

9. Connecticut

Hartford, Connecticut
Sean Pavone /

Big Lotto Winners: 8
Life Expectancy in Years: 81
Car Accident Deaths Per 100,000 People: 7

In ninth place is Connecticut. Residents of Connecticut are long-lived and well-paid.

Toss in low accident fatalities, and it’s easy to see that Connecticut has favored odds.

10. Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii
Filip Carmen /

Big Lotto Winners: 0
Life Expectancy in Years: 82
Car Accident Deaths Per 100,000 People: 8

As if living in paradise wasn’t lucky enough, Hawaiians are luckier than 40 other states.

Hawaiians have a life expectancy of 82.3 years, the highest in the whole country. That gives Hawaiians a long time to enjoy their life in paradise.

And Here Are the States That Aren’t So Lucky

Sad woman
eldar nurkovic /

Now you know the states where the glass is always inexplicably half full, even when no water has been poured.

However, not all states share their good fortune. Some states have mediocre life expectancies, even worse job prospects, and an oddly high propensity to die in car wrecks. Yikes.

You can see the unluckiest of the unlucky below.

  1. Mississippi
  2. Alabama
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Tennessee
  5. New Mexico
  6. Arkansas
  7. Louisiana
  8. Kentucky
  9. Nevada
  10. South Carolina

Unfortunately, these states have the cards stacked against them.

However, they shouldn’t feel so glum.

After all, as philosopher Bruce Springsteen says, “When it comes to luck, make your own.”

You could just be one job application away from landing a job (and salary!) that makes you feel pretty lucky. Or one lotto ticket away from not needing a job at all.

Although that last one seems less likely.

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