New Hampshire – median income $66,303 – is the richest state in 2011. Its 7.1% poverty rate is the nation’s lowest; its 5.2% unemployment is 4th lowest. Connecticut - $65,958 – is second. Its 8.3% poverty rate is second lowest; its 9.1% unemployment is 19th highest. New Jersey - $65,173 – is third. Its 9.8% poverty rate is 7th lowest; its 9.5% unemployment is 14th highest. Mississippi is the poorest state. Its median income is $36,850; its 21.3% poverty rate is the nation’s highest; and its 10.4% unemployment is 7th highest. This list was based on the 2010 census – which Mississippians may want censured.
In 2011 New York is the state with the highest cigarette tax - $4.35 per pack. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids, “Tobacco tax increases are one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking and other tobacco use, especially among kids”. Every 10% increase in cigarette prices supposedly reduces youth smoking by about 7% and total cigarette use by about 4%. Missouri has the lowest cigarette tax - $0.17 followed by Virginia - $0.30; Louisiana - $0.36; Georgia - $0.37; and Alabama - $0.425. Because the national average is $1.46, it seems some states are just “blowing smoke”.
Fort Collins, Colorado is the city with the safest drivers. That’s according to Allstate’s 2011 “America’s Best Drivers Report”. For the second year in a row the average driver was involved in a collision every 14 years – 29% below the national average. The other cities completing the top 10 were Boise, Idaho; Lincoln, Nebraska; Chandler, Arizona; Huntsville, Alabama; Knoxville, Tennessee; Springfield, Missouri; Reno, Nevada; Eugene, Oregon; and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Washington D.C. was 200th among the 200 largest cities for the third year straight. The accident rate was 60% higher than the national average – proof politicians “drive us crazy”.
However, Washington, D.C. is #1 when it comes to traffic congestion. That’s according to the 2011 Urban Mobility Report. Washington averages a 74-hour delay for commuters yearly. Chicago was second with 71 hours followed by Los Angeles with 64, Houston with 57, New York with 54 and Baltimore with 52. More commuting hours means more gas. For Washington it was an extra 37 gallons per commuter; for Chicago, 36; for Los Angeles, 34; for Houston, 28; and for New York and Baltimore, 22. Nationally, that was a cost of about $750 in time and gas per commuter – a cost that requires “paytience’.