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. However, this year has been an especially big test of our independence, as Americans have been forced to stay much more isolated from others than usual during the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the financial hardship resulting from the pandemic, many people have become at least temporarily more dependent on the federal government, which has given out trillions of dollars in aid to individuals, as well as to state and local governments. Other people have become more dependent on personal vices, such as drinking and drugs, during the time of self-isolation.
In order to find out where Americans are the most self-reliant despite coronavirus, 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. Read on for our findings, methodology and expert advice on overcoming our reliance on others
Reliance on others can be challenging to overcome. For the best ways to achieve greater independence in several of the dependency categories we examined in this report, we asked a panel of experts to share their thoughts on the following key questions:
- Is it fair that some states are more dependent than others on the federal government?
- How will the Federal Government condition future funding based on state-specific measures taken during the pandemic?
- What tips do you have for a person who wishes to increase his or her financial independence? What are some first steps?
- What tips do you have for a person who wishes to reduce his or her job dependency? Should they try to join the “gig” economy?
- Should presidential campaigns be publicly funded in order to help ensure the president is as independent as possible from special interests?
- Should states try to make their economies more or less dependent on international trade? How?
How will the COVID-19 impact on the global economy and world trade affect production and consumption in the long term?