America’s Riskiest States Revealed

America’s Riskiest States Revealed

The odds are, we all have a friend or family member who’s not against taking a risk now and then, whether it’s moving from home or starting a new job. But does risk-taking come more naturally to different people depending on which U.S. state they live in? We decided to find out!

Delving into the data, we can reveal which U.S. regions see the highest rate of domestic migration, as well as which are most open to extreme sports, starting a new business, cryptocurrency investments, and playing the lottery. Read on to see where your favorite states rank!

Which U.S. states are home to the biggest risk-takers?

Taking top spot as the riskiest U.S. region, we have the mountain state of Wyoming, with an index score of 34.8 out of 50. This is contributed to by a remarkable 1,219 and 937 Google searches for extreme sports and cryptocurrency per 10,000 people, respectively, as well as more state-to-state migrants (523) and new business applications (67.1) per 10,000 people than any other state, 

Next up, Delaware comes away with an index score of 27.2, ahead of Hawaii (23.7) and Vermont (22.4). Delving into the data, Delaware ranks second for new business applications (40.3), Hawaii sees a higher rate of Google searches for extreme sports than any other state (2,369), and Vermont ranks third for extreme sport (1,235) and cryptocurrency searches (896). 

In fifth, Rhode Island scores 21.8, followed by North Dakota (21.7), Alaska (20.6), and Nevada (19.6), while New Hampshire (19.4) and Montana (17.9) complete the top ten riskiest states. Meanwhile, just missing out, New England’s Massachusetts ranks 11th, despite recording significantly more annual lottery ticket sales per capita than any other state ($805.30) – 76% more than nearby New York ($455.93).

At the other end of the table, however, Louisiana (3.2), Alabama (4.0), and Mississippi (5.1) are the three most risk-averse U.S. states, followed by Wisconsin (5.7) and Iowa (6.0). 


Which U.S. states rank top for each risky factor?

We’ve looked at the ten riskiest states overall, but which regions rank top for each factor we’ve considered? 

Annual lottery sales per capita

While perhaps not the riskiest endeavor, there is some risk associated with playing the lottery. After all, your odds of winning are near-impossible.

Joining Massachusetts and New York among the states with the highest rate of annual lottery sales per capita, we have Rhode Island ($429.88), Georgia ($429.51), and Michigan ($408.51), while South Carolina just misses out ($397.11). 

Google searches for extreme sports

Comparing each U.S. state by the number of Google searches they record for extreme sports per 10,000 people, none come close to Hawaii (2,369). In fact, the Aloha State registers almost twice as many as the next-closest state, Nevada (1,264). Meanwhile, Vermont (1,235), Wyoming (1,219), and Delaware (1,187) complete the Top 5. 

New business applications

Often considered to be a huge financial risk, we’ve ranked each state according to the number of new business proposals made each year. 

Coming out on top, with more requests than any other U.S. state, is Wyoming. Wyoming records more than 50% more new business applications per 10,000 (67.1) than second-place Delaware (40.3), and just under three times as many as Florida (24.6) in third. Georgia (21.0) places fourth, ahead of Colorado (17.5) and Utah (17.5) in a tie for fifth. 

State-to-state migrants

Ranking regions by the volume of migrants moving from elsewhere in the country, Wyoming is the area with the highest rate of state-to-state migration – with 523 movers per 10,000 people. Next up, North Dakota sees 481 new residents, followed by Alaska (456), Idaho (441), and Nevada (432). 


Considered to be a volatile investment that even the most experienced minds find difficult to predict, cryptocurrency can be regarded as a risky bet. So, we’ve ranked each state according to the number of Google searches for the various coins. Placing first, Wyoming records 937 searches per 10,000 people, followed by North Dakota and Vermont, while Rhode Island and Alaska complete the Top 5. 


Comparing a string of exciting criteria, from investments to extreme sports, it’s interesting to see which states are most open to high-risk decisions and which prefer to play it safe – including a few surprises! 


To determine America’s riskiest states, we created an index that considered five key factors with individual weightings adding up to 50. 

  • Annual Lottery Sales per Capita: The average amount a person from that state spends on lottery tickets over the course of a year.
  • Searches for “Extreme Sports” (per 10,000 of population): Annual Google search volume for the terms ‘Skydiving’ and ‘Bungee Jumping’ in each state.
  • Business Applications (per 10,000 of population): The number of business applications made during a year.
  • State Migration Rates (per 10,000 of population): The number of people living in a state who were previously residents of a different state the year before.
  • Cryptocurrency Searches: Annual Google search volume for the term ‘Cryptocurrency’ in each state.

To create the ranking, we combined the score of each factor to get a final index score out of 50. The higher the score, the riskier the state.