If quality of life is very important to you and you're looking for a state to either start or relocate your company, you might want to pay close attention to CNBC's Top States for Business rankings. Our findings have been reliably consistent and stable during the past few years.
It's rare for a state to crack the top 10 in the Quality of Lifecategory, as Utah did this year, and those that fall out of the top 10 rarely fall far. Massachusetts slipped to 11 from 10.
Two states thousands of miles apart have alternated the No. 1 and 2spots for four of the past five years. 2012, the sixth-annual rankings, brings yet another flip-flop between them.
New Hampshire knocked Hawaiifrom the top spot, trading places from 2011's rankings . The Granite State also placed first in 2009.
Rounding out the top five: Vermontfinished third for the third year in a row; Maine took fourth place, vs. sixth in 2011; and Minnesotaranked fifth — vs. eighth a year ago — tying North Dakota.
South Dakota, Colorado, WyomingandUtah ranked seventh through 10th, respectively.
The Quality of Life category, worth 350 points, is relatively straight forward. Criteria include air and water quality, health care, crime rate and local attractions.Page 1 of 2 | Next Page