13 Luckiest States in America, Ranked
Where are the luckiest places to live in the U.S.? That is what SlotSource.com set out to find when it began looking into the states where hitting the jackpot was more likely than breaking a mirror.
It began by reviewing how many Powerball and Jackpot lottery wins each state had in the last five years. Then, it looked at how many people died due to unintentional causes or suffered injuries due to extreme weather during the same timeframe. Next, it took in the average inches of rainfall found in each state before reviewing the Happiness Index of the locals, which factored the number of hours a person works, job security, income growth and depression on its metrics scale.
The results found the following 13 states to be as lucky as lucky can be. Since winning the jackpot is still a longshot, we also turned to Forbes' list of richest billionaires in each state to see exactly who had a bit of luck in these places.
In the 1800s, people headed to California by the thousands to strike it rich as gold was discovered in "them thar hills." The land bathed in golden sunlight is also rich in vineyards producing some of the world's best wines — and arguably the best American wines.
This is the state where dreams come true and the unknown seek celebrity status. The biggest stars take home gold of their own in gilded award statues and box office revenues. Of all its billionaires (and there are 165!), Larry Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle Corporation, is the most successful. Owning 98 percent of the Hawaiian island of Lanai, he's worth $59 billion.
Lucky Golden State
Number of lottery wins: 41
Average rainfall: 22.2
Number of accidental deaths: 369
Happiness index: 63.14
You'll find many of the lucky states are found in the Northwestern states of the U.S. People are happier, and deaths by unintentional causes are lower, although winning a jackpot is rarer. Still, they remain lucky, including those in Wyoming. The state was the first to grant rights for women to vote and the first to elect a female governor. Is its spot in the top 13 perhaps related to this "luck?"
Women are lucky when it comes to wealth as well. Jacqueline, John and Forrest Mars each inherited a third of their family's candy company, Mars Inc. The makers of Snickers, M&Ms, 3 Musketeers and other popular worldwide candies, Jaqueline and John are both worth $28.9 billion today. (Their brother passed away, but his shares stayed in the family, passed down to his four daughters — now that's a lucky family.)
Lucky Cowboy State
Number of lottery wins: 0
Average rainfall: 12.9
Number of accidental deaths: 35
Happiness index: 48.9
The fourth largest state in the country, Montana has more cattle than humans — one person for every 74 cows in the 147,000-square-mile state. Nearly 30 percent of the land is public and the residents are lucky enough to have 53 state parks and seven state forests to enjoy. Oh, yeah, they get nine national parks, too.
When Dennis Washington borrowed $30,000 to start a construction company, little did he know it would become such a success it would lead to his $5.5 billion net worth and investments in mining, railroads and shipping. Just lucky?
Lucky Big Sky Country
Number of lottery wins: 4
Average rainfall: 15.3
Number of accidental deaths: 58
Happiness index: 51.08
Not only does Arizona serve as home to one of the world's Seven Wonders, the impressive Grand Canyon, but its land is also rich in copper left behind by volcanoes millions of years gone. Native Americans used the copper long before Westerners arrived and discovered its value. Although the natives were not so lucky with the arrival of newcomers stripping the land, the Navajo have the largest reservation in the U.S. — nearly 10 million acres.
Arizona also has its share of billionaires. The man with the highest net worth, Arturo Moreno, made his money in billboards and is the first Mexican-American to own a major league team, the Anaheim Angels. When Moreno, who is worth $3.3 billion, bought the team in 2003, he spent $184 million. The team is now worth 10 times that today — a very lucky investment!
Lucky Copper State
Number of lottery wins: 14
Average rainfall: 13.6
Number of accidental deaths: 136
Happiness index: 52.92
9. South Dakota
South Dakota may seem worlds away with its miles of open land, lots of which is part of the National Park System, but it's the parks that make it a precious addition to the U.S. The state is lucky for its surroundings that have become Badlands National Park, Wind Cave Nation Park, Mammoth Site, Custer State Park, Crazy Horse Memorial and Mount Rushmore.
Its top billionaire, T. Denny Sanford, is also quite generous. With a net worth of $2 billion from banking and credit card services, he's given half of that to Sanford Health, which funds 43 non-profit hospitals. How lucky are the residents to have such a kind neighbor?
Lucky Mount Rushmore State
Number of lottery wins: 3
Average rainfall: 20.1
Number of accidental deaths: 56
Happiness index: 60.8
8. New Jersey
The people of New Jersey often get teased for being second-best to New York, but they'll be the first to say they are the lucky ones. They have the famous Jersey Shore with Atlantic City (the East Coast's Las Vegas equivalent), more diners to grab a bite at all hours than any other place in the world and Bruce Springsteen.
It's lucky John Overdeck was born a math prodigy and earned a medal when he was 16 in the International Mathematical Olympiad. His ability with numbers resulted in him co-founding Sigma Investments and succeeding in hedge funds — he's now worth $6.1 billion.
Lucky Garden State
Number of lottery wins: 31
Average rainfall: 47.1
Number of accidental deaths: 123
Happiness index: 58.1
Is Indiana lucky? Just ask those who climb into a fast car to race 500 laps in the biggest car race in the world, the Indianapolis 500. Or try those who believe in Santa and discover he has a home in a city that bears his name.
When Carl Cook was just a boy, his family moved from Chicago to Bloomington, launching Cook Group medical device manufacturing. Today, he runs the family business and is worth $8 billion. Not bad!
Lucky Hoosier State
Number of lottery wins: 41
Average rainfall: 41.7
Number of accidental deaths: 160
Happiness index: 50.2
5. Idaho (tie)
The "Gem State," Idaho received its nickname because it is the world's only area with more semi-precious stones than all of Africa. That's more than 72 different gem types, to be exact. Imagine the lucky soul who stumbled upon a large jade or topaz stone?
Idaho's No. 1 billionaire, Frank VanderSloot, has a net worth of $3.5 billion, but he's probably luckiest for owning 117,500 acres of gorgeous land in Idaho and Montana.
Lucky Gem State
Number of lottery wins: 6
Average rainfall: 18.9
Number of accidental deaths: 84
Happiness index: 63.09
5. Nebraska (tie)
If you think Nebraska is the "Great American Desert," as it was once called, you'd be wrong. The agricultural state is ripe for crops and has more miles of river than any other U.S. state.
Of course, the state's wealthiest citizen is world-renowned. Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway and a heavy investor is worth $67.5 billion. (Yet he still lives in the house he bought for $31,500 in 1958.) He'll be the first to tell you his success has nothing to do with luck.
Lucky Cornhusker State
Number of lottery wins: 10
Average rainfall: 23.6
Number of accidental deaths: 69
Happiness index: 59.11
4. North Dakota
In a land as sweet as honey (it's the country's largest producer of the sweet bee creation), nearly 90 percent of the land is used for agriculture — making it a key source of the nation's food.
The state doesn't have any billionaires but Gary Tharaldson, a hotelier, is close to becoming the first. If he were a little luckier he would have made it in 2020 but Covid hit and the market dropped.
Lucky Peace Garden
Number of lottery wins: 0
Average rainfall: 17.8
Number of accidental deaths: 36
Happiness index: 65.62
The home to the Mighty 5, Utah claims the beauty of some of the country's most amazing national parks: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion.
The state's wealthiest resident, Gail Miller of Salt Lake City, has a net worth of $1.7 billion after her Toyota dealership grew into a powerhouse company. That expanding business allowed her to become one of the lucky few to own a NBA basketball team, the Utah Jazz.
Lucky Beehive State
Number of lottery wins: 0
Average rainfall: 12.2
Number of accidental deaths: 74
Happiness index: 67.84
The 12th largest state in the country is filled with lucky ducks. The state that borders Lake Superior and is filled with "10,000" lakes is the nation's "Star of the North."
The state is home to six billionaires, including Glen Taylor, estimated at $2.9 billion. He has a stake in the Minnesota Star Tribune and the Minnesota Timberwolves NBA team.
Lucky Land of 10,000 Lakes
Number of lottery wins: 22
Average rainfall: 27.3
Number of accidental deaths: 146
Happiness index: 67.26
1. New York
If you can make it in New York's largest city, New York City, you can make it anywhere. The home to the most billionaires in the country, the city has 72 residents who land on Forbes' list of 400 wealthiest Americans. The richest? That would be Michael Bloomberg. The former mayor is estimated to be worth nearly $48 billion.
But the entire state is lucky. It's "Empire State" nickname doesn't come from Manhattan's famous skyscraper but for its prosperity and growth. George Washington, himself, even saw New York as "the seat of the empire." Lucky thing he was right.
Lucky Empire State
Number of lottery wins: 49
Average rainfall: 41.8
Number of accidental deaths: 129
Happiness index: 57.35