It’s getting harder and harder for middle class families to make it on a daily basis, let alone save enough money for a down payment on a house and/or save enough money for retirement. Since 1999, median incomes have dropped in all but two states.

According to SmartAssets, the online financial information services company, “Many Americans in the middle class demographic (defined as an annual income of $35,000 – $100,000) wonder how much they can really save.

SmartAssets gathered data from the US Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics on all 50 states plus the District of Columbia in an effort to calculate the best states in the country for middle class people. SmartAssets dialed into 8 key metrics:

  • Percentage of middle class households
  • Percentage below middle class households
  • Number of new middle class jobs
  • Percentage of growth in middle class jobs
  • Property ta rates
  • Income tax rates
  • Median home value
  • Homeownership rate

Here are SmarAssets’s Top 5 States for the Middle Class

  1. Utah
    1. Percentage of middle class households – 49.1%
    2. Percentage of middle class job growth – 55%
    3. Middle class income tax rate – 19.7%
    4. Median home value – $250,300
    5. Homeownership rate – 70%
    6. Overall score – 100
  2. Wyoming
    1. Percentage of middle class households – 46.2%
    2. Percentage of middle class job growth – 59%
    3. Middle class income tax rate – 15.7%
    4. Median home value – $209,500
    5. Homeownership rate – 69%
    6. Overall score – 97.57
  3. South Dakota
    1. Percentage of middle class households – 49.1%
    2. Percentage of middle class job growth – 23%
    3. Middle class income tax rate – 15.3%
    4. Median home value – $160,700
    5. Homeownership rate – 67%
    6. Overall score – 82.59
  4. Idaho – tie with North Dakota
    1. Percentage of middle class households – 48%
    2. Percentage of middle class job growth – 31%
    3. Middle class income tax rate – 19%
    4. Median home vale – $189,400
    5. Homeownership rate – 68%
    6. Overall score – 81.78
  5. North Dakota – tie with Idaho
    1. Percentage of middle class households – 45.7%
    2. Percentage of middle class job growth – 105%***
    3. Middle class income tax rate – 16%
    4. Median home value – $184,100
    5. Homeownership rate – 63%
    6. Overall score – 81.78

Rounding out SmartAssets’s Top 10 States for the Middle Class are

  1. Arizona – tied with Tennessee
  2. Tennessee – tied with Arizona
  3. Nebraska
  4. Nevada
  5. Ohio – tied with Minnesota
  6. Minnesota – tied with Ohio

SmartAssets encourages the middle class to, “Go West. The best states for the middle class are clustered in the Western part of the country.”

SmartAssets ranks the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island as the lowest and the most difficult for the middle class due to high tax burdens, low homeownership rates and unaffordable housing.