CT Ranks 15th Among Best States for Millennials, Analysis Reveals

The only state in the nation with a higher percentage of millennials living with their parents than Connecticut is New Jersey.  That is just one finding in a study of the best and worst states for millennials, in which Connecticut ranked fifteenth overall.  Why do so many millennials in Connecticut live with mom and dad in Connecticut?  Analysts say that high housing costs are to blame. Pushing Connecticut toward the top is the state’s third place ranking in the Education & Health category.  Pulling the state down are rankings of 41st in Affordability, 29th in Economic Health and 23rd in Quality of Life.  The state ranked 17th in Civic Engagement among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The best states for millennials, according to the analysis by the website WalletHub, are the District of Columbia, North Dakota, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Iowa, Wisconsin, Utah, Nebraska and Colorado.  Among the other New England states, New Hampshire came in at #12, Vermont at #14, Rhode Island at #26 and Maine at #28.

Connecticut's #15 ranking is filled with plusses and minuses in the component elements of the study.  The state, for example, has the 7th highest average annual cost of early childcare as a share of average earnings for millennials, at 23.85 percent. In housing cost for millennials, Connecticut ranks 38th, the average two-bedroom rent being 36.99 percent of this age group's average earnings, WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez points out.

The state has the second highest percentage of millennials who visited a dentist in the past year at 74.60 percent; the 8th highest percentage of millennials who had a routine checkup in the past year at 66.37 percent; and the 7th smallest percentage of millennials with no doctor visits in the past year due to cost, at 11.70 percent.

According to the Pew Research Center, millennials are expected to overtake Boomers in population in 2019 as their numbers swell to 73 million and Boomers decline to 72 million. Generation X (ages 36 to 51 in 2016) is projected to pass the Boomers in population by 2028.

The five dimensions, mentioned above, were weighted to determine an overall score on a 100 point scale using thirty relevant metrics including the cost of living, rate of home ownership and insurance, average student loan debt, voter turnout rate, unemployment rate, percentage diagnosed with depression and the average price of a latte at Starbucks.

Data used to create the rankings were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Council for Community and Economic Research, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United Health Foundation, TransUnion, Corporation for National and Community Service, Indeed, Child Care Aware of America and WalletHub research.

Three Connecticut Cities Among Nation’s Top 300 Fastest Growing Economies

Bridgeport is not only Connecticut’s largest city by population, it is the city which has expanded – in socioeconomic terms – more than any other in the state between 2008 and 2014, according to an analysis released by WalletHub. Bridgeport ranked at number 230 nationally, one of three Connecticut communities – all in Fairfield County – that reached the top 300 across the country.  The others are Stamford, ranked at number 265, and Norwalk, at number 293.Bridgeport_CT

In 2014, the U.S. recorded its lowest population gain since the Great Depression. Growth stood at .73 percent, largely in contrast with the 5 percent of the 1990s, a period of prosperity, WalletHub pointed out.  Demographer William H. Frey of the Brookings Institution attributed the decline to the economic downturn. Not only did the crisis deter job-seeking migrants from flocking to the U.S., but it also discouraged couples from having children, he noted. Meanwhile, population numbers shifted across states, creating short- and long-term effects on local economies, WalletHub indicated.

In order to identify the cities that have expanded most rapidly in socioeconomic terms between 2008 and 2014, WalletHub compared 515 U.S. cities of varying sizes across 10 key metrics, ranging from population growth to unemployment rate decrease.

The other Connecticut cities that ranked on the overall list of cities were New Britain (344), Danbury (355), Hartford (374), New Haven (425), and Waterbury (504).

Eleven of the twelve top-ranked cities – regardless of size - were all in Texas, led by Odessa, Frisco, Midland, Mission College Station, and Killeen.  When the list was broken down by city population, Connecticut did not have a top-100 city in economic growth.wh-best-badges-150x1503

On the list of small cities, Norwalk ranked at 109, New Britain at number 129 and Danbury at number 132.  Among mid-size cities, Bridgeport was ranked at number 110, Stamford ranked at number 123, Hartford was at number 187 and New Haven and Waterbury were at 212 and 239 respectively.  Midsize cities are those with between 100,000 and 300,000 people; small cities have fewer than 100,000 people.

Large cities with the most growth were Austin, Miami, Fort Worth, Denver and Corpus Christi.  At the bottom of the large city list were Mesa, St. Louis, Tucson, Cleveland and Detroit.  Leading the list of mid-size cities were five Texas communities; on the list of small cities Texas had four of the five top-ranked communities exhibiting the most growth.

The factors considered included socio-demographic landscape (population growth, working-age population growth, and poverty rate decrease), and jobs and economic environment (median household income growth, unemployment rate decrease, job growth, ratio of full-time to part-time jobs, and growth of regional GNP per capita).

mapJoan Fitzgerald, Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University, told WalletHub: “It is not an accident that many of the fastest growing cities have thriving high tech and biotech sectors along with financial services and usually a strong health care sector.  But another priority has to be balance.  In many cities, manufacturing loses out over other uses.”

Added Boston University Professor of Economics Kevin Lang: “it is not so much that population growth encourages employment as that employment opportunities encourage population growth.  Of course, this, in turn, creates further employment opportunities.”

Last month, the  Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford metro area ranked second nationally among the top ten best places for female entrepreneurs, in an analysis by  Nerdwallet, a personal finance information service geared toward helping consumers make informed financial decisions.  That ranking analyzed the U.S. Census Bureau’s survey of business owners and data from the Small Business Administration to come up with the national rankings. The top ranked city for female entrepreneurs was Boulder.  Joining Norwalk-Stamford-Bridgeport in the top five were Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Santa Cruz -Watsonville, and Santa Rosa.  Researchers found that seven of the top 10 metro areas for female business owners -- based on business climate, local economic health and financing opportunities -- are in California or Colorado.

The data sources used in the WalletHub analysis included the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Bureau of Economic Analysis.



Connecticut Energy Costs are Third Highest in the US, Analysis Finds

The only states in the nation with higher monthly energy bills for consumers are Mississippi and Hawaii. Connecticut is ranked as the 3rd most energy expensive state in the country, according to a new analysis by WalletHub, which used six key metrics to rank the swh-best-badges-150x150-2tates according to their tendency to produce the highest or lowest monthly energy bills. The analysis points out that “lower prices don’t always equate with lower costs, as consumption is a key determinant in the total amount of an energy bill.” Connecticut’s monthly energy cost for consumers, according to the analysis, is $404, ranking the state 49th out of 51 (the 50 states plus the District of Columbia). Mississippi’s total monthly cost paid by consumers averages $414, while Hawaii’s is $451.

In terms of specific energy sources, the state ranked 50th in monthly electric cost ($143) and 48th in the cost of natural gas ($94). Perhaps due to the size of Connecticut, the state ranked 14th in fuel cost, at $167 per month, despite the state’s gas tax being among electricity pricethe highest in the nation. (see breakdown below)

In the United States, 7.1 percent of the average consumer’s total income is spent on energy costs, including fuel, natural gas and electricity.

The states with the least expensive energy costs for consumers, taking consumption into account, are Colorado ($301), Washington State ($302), Montana ($305), Rhode Island ($307), Nebraska ($312), the District of Columbia ($314), Pennsylvania ($317), Arkansas ($319), Delaware ($319) and Iowa ($319).

The other New England States, in addition to Rhode Island landing towards the top and Connecticut near the bottom, were bunched in the middle: Massachusetts ranked #35, New Hampshire #26, Vermont #28, and Maine #32. natural gas

Breaking out prices from consumption, Connecticut’s energy picture for consumers as compared with other states, is:

  • 49th – Price of Electricity
  • 16th – Electricity Consumption per Consumer
  • 44th – Price of Natural Gas
  • 48th – Natural Gas Consumption per Consumer
  • 46th – Price of Fuel
  • 10th – Fuel Consumption per Driver

The analysis was released in July because it tends to be the hottest month of the year in the contiguous U.S., and as a result it has the highest energy consumption.wallethub map

If you’re wondering how all this was calculated, WalletHub provides the answer: (Average Monthly Consumption of Electricity x Average Retail Price of Electricity) + (Average Monthly Consumption of Natural Gas x Average Natural Gas Residential Prices) + [Average Fuel Price * (Average Monthly Vehicle Miles Traveled / Average Car Consumption / Number of Drivers)] = Average Monthly Energy Bill Consumers Pay in Each State

WalletHub, described as “the social network for your wallet,” provides data to help readers “make smart financial decisions.” The site points out that “during the summer, when many Americans undergo major life transitions such as relocating to start a new job or start a family, the difference in energy costs among states becomes an important financial consideration.”  Connecticut ranks #49.