Top States for Business

America’s 10 best states to live in 2016

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Best places to call home

Erik Isakson | Getty Images

Think you live in the best possible place? Or are you looking for someplace better? America's Top States for Business ranking is here to help. Our Quality of Life category, worth 325 points, grades all 50 states on measures of livability including crime, health, the environment, things to see and do, and inclusiveness. You can read our full study and see our methodology here. By the numbers, these 10 states are tops for quality of life.

10. Montana

View of Bearhat Mountain above Hidden Lake at Logan Pass in Glacier National Park, Montana.
Wolfgang Kaehler | Getty Images

One reason this state can call itself Big Sky Country is that there's no smog to obscure the breathtaking vistas. The air here is the cleanest in the nation. The state is inclusive, though it lacks statewide antidiscrimination provisions for LGBT residents.

2016 Quality of Life score: 228 out of 325 points
Strength: Environment
Weaknesses: Health, crime rate
2015 Quality of Life rank: No. 13

9. Iowa

Visitors walk past food vendors at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa.
Getty Images

If you're looking for a happy, healthy heartland life, the Hawkeye State may be the place for you. They say nothing compares to the Iowa State Fair, where this year you can get funnel-cake-battered bacon on a stick. But overall, the state is relatively lacking in things to do.

2016 Quality of Life score: 233 out of 325 points
Strengths: Environment, health, low crime rate
Weakness: Attractions
2015 Quality of Life rank: No. 9

8. Washington

Seattle, Washington.
Michael Riffle | Getty Images

Let's get this straight once and for all: Miami gets more rain every year than Seattle. The Evergreen State offers a pristine environment, and people here are healthy and happy. The state is relatively inclusive, though there are some gaps in discrimination protections based on age and marital status.

2016 Quality of Life score: 239 out of 325 points
Strengths: Environment, health
Weakness: Inclusiveness
2015 Quality of Life rank: No. 7

7. North Dakota

Peter Beck | Getty Images

Falling oil prices may have hurt North Dakota's famously booming economy, but they have also eased the growing pains that were hampering quality of life here. The Peace Garden State can live up to its nickname again, with low crime and a clean environment. But some might say the lack of attractions makes it a little too peaceful.

2016 Quality of Life score: 242 out of 325 points
Strengths: Low crime rate, environment
Weakness: Attractions
2015 Quality of Life rank: No. 19

6. Oregon

The Willamette River near Portland, Oregon.
Jose 1983 | Getty Images

Oregon's law is clear: No matter who you are or whom you love, you are entitled to "full and equal accommodations" without discrimination. Crime is low, people are healthy, and the air is clean. The state offers exquisite natural beauty as well as the eclectic excitement of Portland, though tourists tend to pass the state by.

2016 Quality of Life score: 245 out of 325 points
Strengths: Inclusiveness, health, low crime rate
Weakness: Attractions
2015 Quality of Life rank: No. 6

5. Maine

Reilly Harvey pulls a cooked lobster from a pot onboard her boat Mainstay Saturday.
Joel Page | Portland Press Herald | Getty Images

What's not to like about a state where fresh lobster is as easy to find as pizza? Mainers are healthy and happy, and the violent crime rate is among the nation's lowest. It's peaceful and quiet up here, though some might say it could use a little more excitement.

2016 Quality of Life score: 246 out of 325 points
Strengths: Low crime rate, health, environment
Weakness: Attractions
2015 Quality of Life rank: No. 5

4. New Hampshire

A woman rock climbing near Rumney, New Hampshire.
Tyler Stableford | Getty Images

Here in the Granite State, people's health is rock solid. It helps that there is ample access to health care and health insurance. The crime rate is low, and the air is clean — but not quite up to that of its neighbors Maine and Vermont.

2016 Quality of Life score: 256 out of 325 points
Strengths: Health, low crime rate
Weaknesses: Air quality, attractions
2015 Quality of Life rank: No. 4

3. Vermont

Skiing in Stowe, Vermont.
Don Landwehrle | Getty Images

With its clean environment, the Green Mountain State is aptly named. Vermont is America's healthiest state, with ready access to care and nearly universal insurance coverage. It also boasts one of the lowest crime rates in the nation. But local attractions are few.

2016 Quality of Life score: 260 out of 325 points
Strengths: Health, low crime rate, environment
Weakness: Attractions
2015 Quality of Life rank: No. 4

2. Minnesota

A man fatbiking on a trail in winter in Duluth, Minnesota.
Ryan Krueger | Getty Images

It makes sense that the home of the internationally renowned Mayo Clinic is one of America's healthiest states. The air in Minnesota is clean if sometimes a little too crisp, and the crime rate is low. The state has well over 10,000 lakes, but attractions overall are relatively few.

2016 Quality of Life score: 269 out of 325 points
Strengths: Health, low crime rate, environment
Weakness: Attractions
2015 Quality of Life rank: No. 3

1. Hawaii

A woman admires the view of Mokulua Islands along a hike from Oahu, Hawaii.
Dana Edmunds | Getty Images

Hawaiians will tell you that Aloha means so much more than hello and good-bye; it also means peace, goodwill and affection. And Hawaii itself means so much more than beaches and hula dancers. America's 50th state is among the most visited. It is healthy, clean and relatively safe. No wonder it is tops year in and year out for quality of life.

2016 Quality of Life score: 295 out of 325 points
Strengths: Health, attractions, environment
Weakness: Crime rate
2015 Quality of Life rank: No. 1