The Beach Beckons: Florida, California, Hawaii Top States Where Americans Want to Live

As for cities, Americans both love and hate The Big Apple

05:00 AM EST Dec 16, 2015 Rating
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The Beach Beckons: Florida, California, Hawaii Top States Where Americans Want to Live

NEW YORK, N.Y. – For the first time since 2001, Florida, our nation’s 27th state, is back on top as Americans’ most desired habitation destination. When asked where – excluding their current state – they would most like to live, The Sunshine State is at the top of the list. Sunshine and waterfront acreage are consistent themes at the top of this list, with California (2) and Hawaii (3) rounding out the top three. Turning away from beachfront territories, Colorado (4) and New York (5) close out the top five states Americans would like to live in.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,232 U.S. adults surveyed online between November 11 and 16, 2015.

Despite some re-ordering, this year’s top five were, for the most part, also top-five honorees in 2013 (the last time this question was asked); the sole exception is New York, which edged into the top-five after a sixth place showing last time around. Texas, meanwhile, drops out of the top five and into 6th place this year.

The remaining 9 states on the “top 15” list include diverse geographies, though most do fall within a few general categories:

Of course, many states have both admirers and detractors. California may be 2nd on the list of states Americans would like to live in, but it also tops the list of states where Americans would least like to dwell. New York and Alaska may both be top 15 performers when Americans say where they would like to live, but they also round out the top three states where Americans would not want to live (2 and 3, respectively). Mississippi (4) and Texas (5) complete the top 5 for the dubious list, with Alabama (6), Florida (7), Illinois (8), Michigan (9) and the District of Columbia (10) completing the top 10.

 

 

Favorite and Least Favorite Cities

Focusing in on cities Americans would (and wouldn’t) want to live in, Americans continue their love/hate relationship with The Big Apple. New York, NY has topped The Harris Poll’s list of cities where Americans most want to live (excluding where they live now) for well over a decade, but it has also topped the list of cities they’d least like to live in since the question was first asked in 2010.

California and Florida are well represented among the top 10 most desired cities, with San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco nabbing the 2nd, 4th and 6th spots for the Golden State, while Miami and Orlando bring the 5th and 10th spots home to the Sunshine State.

Denver, CO (3) fills in the lone gap in the top five, while Honolulu, HI (7); Atlanta, GA (8) and Seattle, WA (9) fill out the rest of the top 10.

The top three cities Americans would least want to live in have remained the same since this question was first asked in 2010, with the aforementioned New York, NY at the top, followed by Detroit, MI (2) and Los Angeles (3). Chicago, IL repeats in 4th place, while Dallas, TX (5) rounds out the top five. Miami, FL (6); San Francisco, CA (7); Houston, TX (8); Washington, DC (9) and Las Vegas, NV (10) complete this less desirable top 10 list.

 


TABLE 1a

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

2013

2015

Florida

1

1

1

1

1

2

2

2

3

2

2

3

3

3

1

California

3

3

2

5

2

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

2

1

2

Hawaii

7

=7

=9

7

3

3

3

3

2

3

3

2

1

2

3

Colorado

4

2

3

2

4

4

4

4

7

5

5

4

5

5

4

New York

*

=15

*

=10

8

8

5

5

8

7

11

9

11

6

5

Texas

10

=7

5

=10

12

14

7

=8

5

6

4

8

4

4

6

North Carolina

6

4

4

3

7

5

8

=8

4

4

=6

6

6

8

7

Arizona

2

5

6

4

6

6

6

6

9

8

=6

5

8

7

8

Oregon

9

9

15

14

9

10

11

7

10

9

10

7

7

9

9

Tennessee

5

6

13

15

10

7

*

10

11

=10

9

11

12

=12

10

Alaska

15

15

=9

13

=14

=12

15

14

*

15

*

*

*

15

11

South Carolina

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

=12

*

15

=12

12

Georgia

11

14

12

=8

13

15

14

11

13

13

14

*

*

*

13

Washington

8

12

8

6

5

9

10

11

6

=10

=6

10

9

10

14

Pennsylvania

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

14

14

*

*

*

=12

15

= Tied for that position

* Not in top 15.

 

NEW OR RETURNING TO TOP 15 THIS YEAR

Georgia (13)

 

DROPPED OUT OF TOP 15 THIS YEAR

Virginia (was 11)

 

 

TABLE 1b

TOP FIVE STATES – By Generation & 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

Millennials
(18 to 35)

Gen X
(36 to 50)

Baby
Boomers
(51 to 69)

Matures
(70+)

Men

Women

1

California

California

Florida

Hawaii

California & Florida (TIE)

Florida

2

Florida

Florida

Hawaii

Florida

Hawaii

3

New York

Hawaii

Arizona & California (TIE)

North Carolina

Hawaii

California

4

Hawaii

Tennessee

California

Colorado & New York (TIE)

Oregon

5

Colorado

North Carolina

Oregon

Arizona

Colorado

 


TABLE 2

STATE WOULD LEAST LIKE TO LIVE IN

“And, which state would you least like to live in?”

Base: All U.S. Adults

 

2013

2015

California

1

1

New York

3

2

Alaska

2

3

Mississippi

4

4

Texas

7

5

Alabama

8

6

Florida

5

7

Illinois

=11

8

Michigan

6

9

District of Columbia

9

10

North Dakota

13

11

Arizona

=11

12

Oklahoma

*

13

Kansas

=14

14

Arkansas

*

=15

Missouri

*

=15

= Tied for that position

* Not in top 15.

 

NEW TO TOP 15 THIS YEAR

Oklahoma (13), Arkansas (=15), Missouri (=15)

 

DROPPED OUT OF TOP 15 THIS YEAR

New Jersey (was 10), Idaho (was =14), Louisiana (was =14) 


TABLE 3a

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

2013

2015

New York, NY

1

2

1

1

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

2

2

Denver, CO

4

=5

6

4

=5

=6

=9

7

=7

=9

=2

9

10

=7

3

Los Angeles, CA

*

14

=13

=12

11

10

5

12

11

=9

15

6

=13

3

4

Miami, FL

13

*

*

=14

=13

11

=15

*

*

15

*

13

*

9

5

San Francisco, CA

=5

1

3

=6

=2

2

3

4

2

4

=2

5

=6

4

6

Honolulu, HI

*

*

*

*

*

*

=13

8

6

7

*

14

9

5

7

Atlanta, GA

=5

3

4

2

9

5

11

9

*

*

13

=7

=15

14

8

Seattle, WA

2

4

2

3

4

3

=9

5

4

3

5

4

3

6

9

Orlando, FL

*

*

*

*

*

*

12

*

14

6

14

11

12

*

10

Las Vegas, NV

*

=15

12

=6

=5

=14

4

3

5

5

8

3

5

11

11

Phoenix, AZ

3

=5

10

=10

10

*

7

13

=12

8

*

*

=15

=15

12

Maui, HI

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

13

Portland, OR

12

=12

=15

=12

=13

=14

8

10

=12

14

*

=15

=13

=7

14

Austin, TX

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

15

15

*

11

*

*

13

15

= Tied for that position

* Not in top 15

 

CITIES NEW OR RETURNING TO TOP 15 THIS YEAR

Orlando, FL (10); Maui, HI (13)

 

CITIES THAT DROPPED OUT OF TOP 15 THIS YEAR

Boston, MA (was 10); Chicago, IL (was 12); Nashville, TN (was =15)

 


TABLE 3b

TOP FIVE STATES – By Generation & Gender

"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

 

Generation

Gender

Rank

Millennials
(18 to 35)

Gen X
(36 to 50)

Baby
Boomers
(51 to 69)

Matures
(70+)

Men

Women

1

New York, NY

New York, NY

San Diego, CA

San Diego, CA

New York, NY

New York, NY

2

Los Angeles, CA

Seattle, WA

New York, NY

Honolulu, HI

San Diego, CA

San Diego, CA

3

Denver, CO

Denver, CO

Austin, TX & Denver, CO (TIE)

Phoenix, AZ

Los Angeles, CA & Miami, FL (TIE)

Denver, CO

4

Miami, FL

Honolulu, HI &  San Diego, CA (TIE)

New York, NY

Honolulu, HI

5

San Francisco, CA

Honolulu, HI

Atlanta, GA & Miami, FL (TIE)

San Francisco, CA

Atlanta, GA

 

 

TABLE 4

CITY WOULD LEAST LIKE TO LIVE IN

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

Base: All U.S. Adults

 

2010

2011

2013

2015

New York, NY

1

1

1

1

Detroit, MI

2

2

2

2

Los Angeles, CA

3

3

3

3

Chicago, IL

4

5

4

4

Dallas, TX

9

6

10

5

Miami, FL

6

9

5

6

San Francisco, CA

8

=10

14

7

Houston, TX

5

7

=7

8

Washington, DC

7

4

6

9

Las Vegas, NV

=13

=10

9

10

Anchorage, AK

*

*

*

11

Phoenix, AZ

=10

13

=11

12

St. Louis, MO

*

*

*

13

Atlanta, GA

*

12

=11

14

Seattle, WA

*

*

*

15

= Tied for that position

* Not in top 15

 

CITIES NEW OR RETURNING TO TOP 15 THIS YEAR

Anchorage, AK (11); St. Louis, MO (13); Seattle, WA (15)

 

CITIES THAT DROPPED OUT OF TOP 15 THIS YEAR

Philadelphia, PA (was =7); Boston, MA (was 13); Orlando, FL (was 15)


Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between November 11 and 16, 2015 among 2,232 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, The Harris Poll 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 Poll 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 our 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 The Harris Poll.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

The Harris Poll® #80, December 16, 2015

By Larry Shannon-Missal, Managing Editor, The Harris Poll

About The Harris Poll®

Begun in 1963, The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys measuring public opinion in the U.S. and is highly regarded throughout the world. The nationally representative polls, conducted primarily online, measure the knowledge, opinions, behaviors and motivations of the general public. New and trended polls on a wide variety of subjects including politics, the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs, science and technology, sports and entertainment, and lifestyles are published weekly. 

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