NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With education being an essential step on the path to financial security, would you want to live in a state where your kids couldn't get the best education?

For the vast majority in the U.S., the quality of schools are a major factor in deciding where to live.

The worst schools, kindergarten through high school, seem to be concentrated in two geographical areas -- the southwest and along the Gulf Coast, with Mississippi ranked the worst, according to WalletHub, a Web site with personal finance tools and information. 

The findings are one part of a new study that measured "taxpayer ROI," or, the quality of services provided by the government compared with the amount paid in taxes. (Check out states with best and worst taxpayer ROI.) Quality of schools was one of six factors considered.

To find the best and worst states for education, WalletHub analyzed 12 key metrics, from student-teacher ratios and dropout rates to test scores and bullying incident rates. WalletHub points out that in comparing schools, the amount of state funding a school system receives is important, but it's not the only determinant of quality.

States with the highest student dropout rates included Alaska, Georgia, New Mexico, Oregon, Nevada and the District of Columbia, while states with the lowest school dropout rates included Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Wisconsin and Vermont.

WalletHub used data to create these rankings from the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Center for Educational Statistics, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Education Association, the Kids Count - Anney E. Casey Foundation, the Center for Financial Literacy - Champlain College, Stopbullying.gov, U.S. News & World Report and K12.com.

Here are the 10 worst states for K-12 schools. When you're done be sure to check out which states have the best schools.


10. Kentucky

With approximately 4.4 million residents, Kentucky was named the tenth worst state for education by WalletHub. Kentucky had 83% of its residents above the age of 25 with at least a high school degree for the five years through 2013, and 21.5% with a bachelor's degree or higher in the same time period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

The state reported an unemployment rate of 5.1% in March, lower than the national average of 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

9. South Carolina

With approximately 4.8 million residents, South Carolina was named the ninth worst state for education by WalletHub. Approximately 84.5% of its residents above the age of 25 had at least a high school degree as measured during the five years through 2013, and 25.1% had a bachelor's degree or higher in the same time period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

The state reported an unemployment rate of 6.7% in March, higher than the national average of 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


8. Arizona

With approximately 6.7 million residents, Arizona was named the eighth worst state for education by WalletHub. Approximately 85.7% of its residents above the age of 25 had at least a high school degree as measured during the five years through 2013, while 26.9% had a bachelor's degree or higher in the same time period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Arizona reported an unemployment rate of 6.2% in March, higher than the national average of 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


7. Arkansas

With approximately 3 million residents, Arkansas was named the seventh worst state for education by WalletHub. Approximately 83.7% of its residents above the age of 25 had at least a high school degree as measured during the five years through 2013, while 20.1% had a bachelor's degree or higher in the same time period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Arkansas reported an unemployment rate of 5.6% in March, higher than the national average of 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

6. West Virginia

With approximately 1.9 million residents, West Virginia was named the sixth worst state for education by WalletHub. Approximately 83.9% of its residents above the age of 25 had at least a high school degree as measured during the five years through 2013, while 18.3% had a bachelor's degree or higher in the same time period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

West Virginia reported an unemployment rate of 6.6% in March, higher than the national average of 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


5. New Mexico

With approximately 2 million residents, New Mexico was named the fifth worst state for education by WalletHub. Approximately 83.6% of its residents above the age of 25 had at least a high school degree as measured during the five years through 2013, while 25.8% had a bachelor's degree or higher in the same time period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

New Mexico reported an unemployment rate of 6.1% in March, higher than the national average of 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

4. Nevada

With approximately 2.9 million residents, Nevada was named the fourth worst state for education by WalletHub. Approximately 84.6% of its residents above the age of 25 had at least a high school degree as measured during the five years through 2013, while 22.4% had a bachelor's degree or higher in the same time period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Nevada reported an unemployment rate of 7.1% in March, higher than the national average of 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


3. Louisiana

With approximately 4.7 million residents, Louisiana was named the third worst state for education by WalletHub. Approximately 82.6% of its residents above the age of 25 had at least a high school degree as measured during the five years through 2013, while 21.8% had a bachelor's degree or higher in the same time period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Louisiana reported an unemployment rate of 6.6% in March, higher than the national average of 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


2. Alabama

With approximately 4.8 million residents, Alabama was named the second worst state for education by WalletHub. Approximately 83.1% of its residents above the age of 25 had at least a high school degree as measured during the five years through 2013, while 22.6% had a bachelor's degree or higher in the same time period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Alabama reported an unemployment rate of 5.7% in March, higher than the national average of 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


1. Mississippi

With approximately 3 million residents, Mississippi was named the worst state for education by WalletHub. Approximately 81.5% of its residents above the age of 25 had at least a high school degree as measured during the five years through 2013, while 20.1% had a bachelor's degree or higher in the same time period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Mississippi reported an unemployment rate of 6.8% in March, higher than the national average of 5.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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