3 Sunny States Remain Top Choices for Where Americans Would Like to Live

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – November 9, 2011 – Excluding their current state, if Americans had to say where they would most like to live, the top three mentions are states typically associated with sunshine and the beach: Hawaii (1), California (2) and Florida (3). These states have consistently been in the top 3 the last 8 times this question has been asked. However, this year marks the first time since 2001 that California has not been the top mention.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,463 adults surveyed online between October 10 and 17, 2011.

    Rounding out the top 5 this year is Texas (4) and Colorado (5). Texas saw a nice jump this year, up to 4 from 8 last year, while Colorado dropped from 4 last year, to 5 this year.

    The remaining 10 states on the list cover every geographic region of the country:

    • In the Pacific Northwest Oregon (7) and Washington (9) are Top 10 mentions;
    • The Southwest is represented with Arizona (8);
    • Nevada (14) makes the Top 15 for the West;
    • Montana represents the Midwest (13);
    • New York does so for the Northeast (11); and
    • Virginia, Tennessee and South Carolina all come through for the South (10, 12 and 15, respectively).

    Favorite Cities

    In terms of cities Americans would most like to live in, the Top 15 mentions cover a wide range of geographical areas and climates this year as well. Unchanged since 1999, New York is the most frequently mentioned city that Americans would like to live in, followed by San Diego, which remains in the 2nd position, consistent with last year. The third top mention this year is Seattle, which seems to be steadily climbing, up from 4 last year and 5 the previous year. Similarly to the jump Texas made as a desirable state to live in this year (to 4 from 8 last year), it’s city of Dallas also made an impressive showing this year, coming in as the 4th most popular city. This is particularly notable because Dallas was not in the Top 15 last year at all, and only at number 10 the prior year. The countless entertainment and culinary options may be what appeals to some about Las Vegas, which is the 5th top city mentioned this year, followed on the list by San Francisco (=6) and Boston (=6), Chicago (8), Honolulu (9) and Denver (10). The Top 15 this year are rounded out with Nashville (11), Orlando (12), Los Angeles and Portland (tied for 13) and then two southern cities-on opposite sides of the country-are tied for 15: Atlanta and Phoenix .

    Least Favorite Cities

    While fantasizing about where you would most like to live can be fun, it can be equally fun to think about where you might least like to live. Thinking about these places can make a harsh Northeast winter or a sweltering Southern summer seem not as bad, depending on your geographic woes. Although New York has been the top favorite city for some time, it’s also an extremely unappealing place for many people and it comes in, similarly to last year, as the least favorite city to live in. Despite reports of a rebirth, comeback and major gentrification efforts, Detroit remains as the 2nd least popular city, followed by Los Angeles (3), Washington D.C. (4) and Chicago (5). While some people are feeling excited about Texas, many are not as Dallas and Houston come in at 6 and 7 on the least favorite city list respectively. Further down the least favorite city list is New Orleans (8) and Miami (9), followed by four polarizing cities, which appear on both the favorite and least favorite lists: San Francisco (=10 least favorite), Last Vegas (=10), Atlanta (12) and Phoenix (13). Tied for 14 on the least favorite list are Cleveland, OH and Newark, NJ.

    So What?

    While sun-belt states have traditionally dominated the Favorite State list, this year with the inclusion of Washington, Oregon, Montana and New York in the Top 15, the list seems more diverse. And, looking at the Least Favorite City list, where 8 of the top 15 also appear on the most Favorite City list, it’s clear what appeals to some definitely does not appeal to all.

     

    TABLE 1

    STATES WHERE MOST PEOPLE WOULD LIKE TO LIVE – APART FROM THEIR OWN STATE

    If you could live in any state in the country except the state you live in now, what state would you choose to live in?

    Base: All U.S. Adults

     

    1997

    1998

    1999

    2000

    2001

    2002

    2003

    2005

    2006

    2007

    2009

    2010

    2011

    Hawaii

    7

    =7

    =9

    7

    3

    3

    3

    3

    2

    3

    3

    2

    1

    California

    3

    3

    2

    5

    2

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    2

    Florida

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    2

    2

    2

    3

    2

    2

    3

    3

    Texas

    10

    =7

    5

    =10

    12

    14

    7

    =8

    5

    6

    4

    8

    4

    Colorado

    4

    2

    3

    2

    4

    4

    4

    4

    7

    5

    5

    4

    5

    North Carolina

    6

    4

    4

    3

    7

    5

    8

    =8

    4

    4

    =6

    6

    6

    Oregon

    9

    9

    15

    14

    9

    10

    11

    7

    10

    9

    10

    7

    7

    Arizona

    2

    5

    6

    4

    6

    6

    6

    6

    9

    8

    =6

    5

    8

    Washington

    8

    12

    8

    6

    5

    9

    10

    11

    6

    =10

    =6

    10

    9

    Virginia

    14

    11

    =9

    =8

    =14

    =12

    9

    12

    12

    =10

    *

    =14

    10

    New York

    *

    =15

     

    =10

    8

    8

    5

    5

    8

    7

    11

    9

    11

    Tennessee

    5

    6

    13

    15

    10

    7

    *

    10

    11

    =10

    9

    11

    12

    Montana

    *

    *

    7

    =10

    11

    11

    13

    15

    15

    *

    15

    =14

    13

    Nevada

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    12

    *

    *

    *

     

    13

    14

    South Carolina

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    =12

    *

    15

    = Tied for that position

    * Not in top 15.

    NEW OR RETURNING TO TOP 15 THIS YEAR

    South Carolina (15)

    Dropped Out of Top 15 This Year

    New Jersey (was 12)

     

    TABLE 2

    TOP FIVE STATES – BY AGE AND GENDER

    If you could live in any state in the country except the state you live in now, what state would you choose to live in?

    Base: All U.S. adults

    Generation

    Gender

    Rank

    Echo Boomers (18 to 34)

    Gen X (35 to 46)

    Baby Boomers (47 to 65)

    Matures (66+)

    Men

    Women

    1

    California

    Hawaii

    Florida

    Hawaii

    Florida

    Hawaii

    2

    Texas

    Florida

    North Carolina

    Arizona

    California

    California

    3

    Colorado

    California

    Hawaii

    Florida

    Hawaii

    Florida & Texas

    4

    Hawaii & Florida

    Texas

    California

    Texas

    Texas

    5

    Oregon

    Texas

    California

    Colorado

    North Carolina

     

    TABLE 3

    U.S. CITIES PEOPLE WOULD MOST LIKE TO LIVE IN OR NEAR TO

    If you could live in or near any city in the country except the one you live in or nearest to now which city would you choose?

    Base: All U.S. Adults

     

    1997

    1998

    1999

    2000

    2001

    2002

    2003

    2005

    2006

    2007

    2009

    2010

    2011

    New York, NY

    1

    2

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    San Diego, CA

    =7

    =7

    9

    5

    =2

    8

    2

    2

    3

    2

    4

    2

    2

    Seattle, WA

    2

    4

    2

    3

    4

    3

    =9

    5

    4

    3

    5

    4

    3

    Dallas, TX

     

    11

     

     

     

    9

     

     

     

     

    10

     

    4

    Las Vegas, NV

     

    =15

    12

    =6

    =5

    =14

    4

    3

    5

    5

    8

    3

    5

    San Francisco, CA

    =5

    1

    3

    =6

    =2

    2

    3

    4

    2

    4

    =2

    5

    =6

    Boston, MA

    =7

    =7

    7

    9

    =7

    12

    =13

    11

    10

    12

    7

    10

    =6

    Chicago, IL

    10

    =12

    5

    =6

    =7

    =6

    6

    6

    9

    11

    6

    12

    8

    Honolulu, HI

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    =13

    8

    6

    7

    *

    14

    9

    Denver, CO

    4

    =5

    6

    4

    =5

    =6

    =9

    7

    =7

    =9

    =2

    9

    10

    Nashville, TN

    11

    =9

    11

    *

    *

    *

    *

    15

    *

    *

    12

    =7

    11

    Orlando, FL

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    12

    *

    14

    6

    14

    11

    12

    Los Angeles, CA

    *

    14

    =13

    =12

    11

    10

    5

    12

    11

    =9

    15

    6

    =13

    Portland, OR

    12

    =12

    =15

    =12

    =13

    =14

    8

    10

    =12

    14

    *

    =15

    =13

    Atlanta, GA

    =5

    3

    4

    2

    9

    5

    11

    9

    *

    *

    13

    =7

    =15

    Phoenix, AZ

    3

    =5

    10

    =10

    10

    *

    7

    13

    =12

    8

    *

    *

    =15

    = Tied for that position

    * Not in top 15

     

    cities New OR RETURNING to top 15 this year

    Dallas (4), Phoenix (=15)

    Cities THAT dropped out of top 15 this year

    Miami (was 13), Raleigh-Durham (was =15)

     

    TABLE 4

    LEAST FAVORITE CITY

    And, which city would you least like to live in?

    Base: All U.S. Adults

     

    2010

    2011

    New York, NY

    1

    1

    Detroit, MI

    2

    2

    Los Angeles, CA

    3

    3

    Washington, DC

    7

    4

    Chicago, IL

    4

    5

    Dallas, TX

    9

    6

    Houston, TX

    5

    7

    New Orleans, LA

    =10

    8

    Miami, FL

    6

    9

    San Francisco, CA

    8

    =10

    Las Vegas, NV

    =13

    =10

    Atlanta, GA

    *

    12

    Phoenix, AZ

    =10

    13

    Cleveland, OH

    =15

    =14

    Newark, NJ

    *

    =14

    = Tied for that position

    * Not in top 15

     

    cities New OR RETURNING to top 15 this year

    Atlanta (12), Newark (=14)

    Cities THAT dropped out of top 15 this year

    Philadelphia (was 12), Boston (was =13), Memphis (was =15)

     

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between October 10 and 17, 2011 among 2,463 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

    All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

    Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

    These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

    The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

    J40806

    Q880, 885, 890

    The Harris Poll® #116, November 9, 2011

    By Samantha Braverman, Sr. Project Researcher