Americans are the fattest people in the world, not just stereotypically but statistically too. In fact, almost 40% of the U.S. population aged 15 and older is obese. But such a finding should come as no surprise, considering the huge availability of fast-food and increasingly cheaper grocery items that have negatively altered our diets. Unfortunately, the extra pounds have inflated the costs of obesity-related medical treatment to between $147 billion and $210 billion a year and annual productivity losses due to work absenteeism to around $4.3 billion.
But certain places are more responsible than others for tipping the scale in favor of bad health. To identify them, WalletHub compared 100 of the most populated U.S. metro areas across 19 key indicators of weight-related problems. Our data set ranges from share of physically inactive adults to projected obesity rates by 2030 to healthy-food access. Read on for our findings, expert advice on tackling America’s growing obesity problem and a full description of our methodology.
One big point of difference among state economies is the tax burden of the average citizen. This number varies greatly. But what are the reasons behind why some states tax their residents more or less?
If a state can afford not to tax its residents at high rates, there are multiple explanations. One is that their economic policies are sound and the state economy is doing well. But another is that the state gets disproportionately more funding from the federal government than states with harsher tax codes.
The Verdict: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best rewards credit cards on the market. With Sapphire Preferred, the average person would earn roughly $1,475 in net rewards value over the course of two year’s use. And that’s with the card’s $95 annual fee factored in, too (Chase is a WalletHub partner). The core of this offer is a $600 to $750 initial rewards bonus, which can cover the cost of the card’s membership fees for over six years.
Sapphire Preferred continues to pay for itself by providing two points per dollar spent on travel and dining as well as one point per dollar spent on everything else. When redeemed for cash back, these points are worth a penny each but jump to 1.25 cents each when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Innovation is a principal driver of U.S. economic growth. In 2019, the U.S. will spend an estimated $581 billion on research and development — more than any other country in the world and about 25% of the world’s total — helping the nation rank No. 6 on the Global Innovation Index. According to the results of the ranking, knowledge and technology outputs are America’s particular strengths.
But certain states deserve more credit than others for America’s dominance in the tech era. These states continue to grow innovation through investments in education, research and business creation, especially in highly specialized industries.
epending on where you live, college basketball may have even more draw than the professional level does. For example, the most profitable team, the Louisville Cardinals, is worth an astounding $43.9 million. But the sport is about much more than the money; it’s about the players and the entertainment value. Which cities provide the most exciting teams to root for?
That’s a tough question to answer, as each city has its own unique basketball history and charm. Graduates also tend to favor their alma mater, while others may have an understandable loyalty to their hometown.
Tax season is stressful for everyone. But it’s especially difficult for those of us who can't afford to pay the IRS. Fortunately, there are several ways to make an unmanageable tax obligation easier to handle. Many aren't all that expensive, either.
Which approach is best depends largely on how long you’ll need to come up with Uncle Sam's cash. Naturally, the short-term solutions are far more attractive than the options available to folks with more serious financial difficulties.
With Tax Day fast approaching, the nearly 1 in 3 Americans who wait until April to file their returns have a lot of catching up to do. And that’s a recipe for costly mistakes. Taxes are complex under normal circumstances, and things only get tougher when you add a time crunch to the mix. With that in mind, WalletHub compiled a list of last-minute tax tips and reminders to make paying Uncle Sam as painless as possible.
These tips are the product of WalletHub’s industry research as well as interviews with numerous experts in relevant fields, such as individual taxation, tax law and consumer psychology. Take this advice to heart, and tax season will be a breeze. You can (ac)count on it!
Tax season can be a costly, confusing time of year, with Uncle Sam expecting an on-time tribute and all sorts of schemers angling to steal refunds. The history of tax fraud is just as long as that of taxes, you see.
Tax season can be stressful for the millions of Americans who owe money to Uncle Sam. Every year, the average U.S. household pays more than $7,800 in federal income taxes, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And while we’re all faced with that same obligation, there is significant difference when it comes to state and local taxes. Taxpayers in the most tax-expensive states, for instance, pay three times more than those in the cheapest states.
Surprisingly, though, low income taxes don’t always mean low taxes as a whole. For example, while the state of Washington’s citizens don’t pay income tax, they still end up spending over 8% of their annual income on sales and excise taxes. Texas residents also don’t pay income tax, but spend 1.83% of their income on real estate taxes, one of the highest rates in the country. Compare these to California, where residents owe almost 5% of their income in sales and excise taxes, and just 0.77% in real estate tax.
The U.S. Declaration of Independence speaks about the “pursuit of happiness” as a universal right. However, everyone gets joy from different things, whether it’s family, friends, activities, entertainment or work. What people might not realize is that where you live may also determine how happy you are.
Location plays a hand in how bright or gloomy our days are. For years, researchers have studied the science of happiness and found that its key ingredients include a positive mental state, healthy body, strong social connections, job satisfaction and financial well-being. However, money can only make you so happy – people who make $75,000 a year won’t get any higher satisfaction from more money.
Credit card debt statistics speak to the financial health of American households. They can also foreshadow over-borrowing bubbles, changes to lending standards, and other trends with the potential to impact our wallets.
We started 2018 owing more than $1 trillion in credit card debt. We ended it $67 billion deeper in the hole after an expensive second half of the year. Things began on an encouraging note, as Americans repaid $40.8 billion in credit card debt during Q1 2018 – the second-largest quarterly payoff ever and an apparent turning point in consumers’ addiction to overspending. But we added almost $108 billion in credit card debt back to our tab over the next three quarters instead, putting household finances on a decidedly more negative track heading into 2019.
The Verdict: You can’t spell “Prestige” without the letters in “trip.” And you might be able to take a few of those for free, thanks to the Citi Prestige® Card. That is, of course, if you can handle one to the bank to fetch some cash for the card’s steep annual fee. Indeed, this travel rewards card costs a whopping $495 per year – a fact that alone limits its use to wealthy frequent travelers who charge a significant amount to plastic.
If you fit that description, then it’s at least worth considering what Prestige actually has to offer. This includes an initial bonus worth up to $500 in airfare, $250 each year toward airline expenses, and solid spending-based rewards.
Believe it or not, the first ever St. Patrick’s Day parade didn’t take place in Ireland. Its roots are actually in the U.S., though some say Boston while others claim New York. Regardless, what began as a Catholic feast day and gained more recognition with a parade in the 18th Century is today one of America’s biggest cultural holidays. More than 31 million people in the U.S. claim Irish ancestry – that’s over six and a half times the population of Ireland. As this lucky group of people expanded over the centuries, so too did American St. Paddy’s Day traditions. Chicago, for instance, gained fame for dyeing its river green, while other places are now known for their elaborate pageants, pub crawls or long processions of marching bagpipers. This year, Americans are projected to spend $5.6 billion on the holiday .
But not every city that celebrates St. Patrick’s Day is worth kissing the Irish for. WalletHub compared 200 of the largest cities across 17 key metrics to find the best places to wear green and save some, too. Our data set ranges from Irish pubs and restaurants per capita to lowest price for a three-star hotel on St. Patrick’s Day to weather forecast. Read on for the list of winners, insight from a panel of experts and a full description of our methodology. For cool stats about the holiday, check out our St. Patrick’s Day infographic.
It’s tax season, and Uncle Sam is back to collect what’s due. But some Americans are hit harder by taxes than others. The Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, or ITEP, found in its latest report that many taxes — including property taxes, sales taxes, and some state and local taxes — are regressive. That means they take more money out of the pockets of Americans in the lower- and middle-income brackets than from wealthier families.
After accounting for all taxes, in fact, “The nationwide average effective state and local tax rate is 11.4 percent for the lowest-income 20 percent of individuals and families, 9.9 percent for the middle 20 percent, and 7.4 percent for the top 1 percent,” according to the ITEP. Such findings have brought the question of fairness to the forefront of the current tax season.
In 2019, women in some parts of America still get the short end of the stick — even as they outnumber men in most states. For instance, women represent nearly two-thirds of all minimum-wage workers in the U.S. Their political representation also suffers, as women make up 51% of the U.S. population but only 25% of the Senate and 23.4% of the House of Representatives. And the prevalence of sexual harassment remains a prominent issue in 2019’s political landscape.
In order to determine how women are faring and where they can find the best opportunities relative to where they live, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 24 key indicators of living standards for women. Our data set ranges from median earnings for female workers to women’s preventive health care to female homicide rate. Read on for our findings, expert insight from a panel of researchers and a full description of our methodology.
Airline loyalty is hard to come by. Most travelers are willing to jump to another jet for the slightest discount. Yet roughly 7% of flights are paid for with points or miles, according to PWC. So there’s obviously value in committing to a carrier. You just have to find the right one.
To help you earn more free flights and other assorted perks, WalletHub compared the 10 largest domestic airlines’ loyalty rewards programs across 23 key metrics, ranging from the value of a rewards point or mile to blackout-date policies.
Money management is a life skill that unfortunately isn’t taught as often as it should be. It’s a skill that everyone should want to learn too, as it can bring about flawless credit and freedom from debt. But a survey of consumer financial literacy reflects a growing need for financial instruction in U.S. households. Only 55 percent of adults, for instance, give their knowledge of personal finance high marks, and just two in five maintain a budget and keep an eye on their spending.
It’s clear that some Americans are better than others at handling their finances. In order to determine where they live, WalletHub compared more than 2,500 cities based on 10 key indicators of money management. Our data set ranges from average credit score to average number of late payments to mortgage debt-to-income ratio. Read on for our findings and expert advice from a panel of researchers.
Depending on where you live, property taxes can be a small inconvenience or a major burden. The average American household spends $2,279 on property taxes for their homes each year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and residents of the 27 states with vehicle property taxes shell out another $440. Considering these figures and the rising amount of debt in America, it should come as no surprise that more than $14 billion in property taxes go unpaid each year, the National Tax Lien Association has found.
And though property taxes might appear to be a non-issue for the 36 percent of renter households, that couldn’t be further from the truth. We all pay property taxes, whether directly or indirectly, as they impact the rent we pay as well as the finances of state and local governments.
Many Americans view hard work as the path to achieving the American Dream. We work so hard, in fact, that we put in more hours at our jobs than several other industrialized countries. The average U.S. worker puts in 1,780 hours per year – 70 hours more than the average in Japan, 266 more than the U.K. and 424 more than Germany.
But some U.S. cities represent the strong work ethic that helped to build the world’s biggest economy better than others. In order to determine which cities outwork the rest of America, WalletHub compared the 116 largest cities across ten key metrics. Our data set ranges from employment rate to average weekly work hours to share of workers with multiple jobs. Read on for our findings, expert insight from a panel of researchers and a full description of our methodology.