Americans value independence. We fought hard for it during the American Revolutionary War, and in the present day, we celebrate not only our freedom from the British crown but also our strong ability to rely upon ourselves as individuals. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an especially big test of our independence, as for large amounts of time Americans were forced to stay much more isolated from others than usual. Thankfully, the distribution of the vaccine has allowed most restrictions to be removed.
The pandemic didn’t just keep people physically apart, though. It has also caused lasting financial hardship, which has led some people to become at least temporarily more dependent on support from the federal government. Other people have become more dependent on personal vices, such as drinking and drugs, due to isolation and stress.
In order to find out where Americans are the most self-reliant despite COVID-19, WalletHub compared the 50 states based on five sources of dependency: consumer finances, the government, the job market, international trade and personal vices. We broke down these categories into 39 key indicators of independence in order to determine which states are most self-sustaining.
- Montana has the lowest share of private industry workers employed by foreign-owned firms, at 1.81 percent. That’s four times lower than in South Carolina, the highest at 7.57 percent.
- Pennsylvania and Michigan have the lowest share of government workers (local, state and federal), at 10.70 percent. Alaska has the country’s highest share, at 25.90 percent.
- New Hampshire has the lowest share of residents in poverty, at 7.40 percent – 2.6 times lower than in Mississippi (19.60 percent).