Sometimes settling down to raise a family in a healthy, stable environment requires moving to a new state. Every state has its pros and cons and sometimes requires a trade-off in wants and needs. For example, some states may have lower income taxes or costs of living, but not so great education systems, while other states may have the opposite. However, these trade-offs can be mitigated by knowing which U.S. states have the best combinations of qualities ideal for raising a family.
There isn't a universal way to determine which states are the best for raising a family. After all, you could probably find people from all 50 states that would tout the benefits of raising a family within their own states. However, WalletHub published a study looking at several factors determining which states are better to raise a family.
WalletHub compared all 50 states across 52 key indicators of family-friendliness. Each indicator is placed into one of five categories:
- Family Fun
- Health & Safety
- Education & Child Care
Every state is scored from zero to 100 based on each indicator.
Best States to Raise a Family
According to WalletHub's study, Massachusetts is the best state to raise a family. Massachusetts received a score of 60.88, ranking third for Education & Child Care and sixth for Affordability. Massachusetts residents have the second-highest educational attainment levels in the U.S., just behind D.C., and have access to some of the best school systems. Additionally, Massachusetts also has the fourth-lowest infant mortality rate.
Minnesota is the country's second-best state to raise a family. Minnesota ranks fifth for Health & Safety and Socio-economics. Minnesota has the second-lowest share of families in poverty and the highest median family income of $93,584. Minnesota also has the fifth-lowest separation and divorce rate in the U.S.
3. North Dakota
Coming in at third is North Dakota, which ranks second for Education & Child Care and first for Socio-Economics. North Dakota has the third-highest median family income and third-most affordable housing in the U.S. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is about $779 per month, and the median home value is $236,358. North Dakota also has the second-lowest separation and divorce rate.
4. New York
With a score of 59.80, New York is considered the fourth-best state to raise a family. New York ranks second for Family Fun and fifth for Affordability. New has plenty of attractions, such as New York City, beaches, skiing, and more. Unfortunately, New York lacks significantly in Socio-economics, where it ranks 47th. New York has the country's lowest median family income and a relatively high poverty rate of over 13%.
Vermont is the fifth-best state for raising families. Vermont ranks first for Health & Safety, fourth for Socio-economics, and fifth for Education & Child Care. Vermont has a very low overall crime rate and has the fourth-lowest violent crimes per capita of 1.7 incidents per 1,000 people. Vermont is also considered the healthiest state in the U.S., with one of the country's highest public health funding at $157 per person and the second-highest number of primary care physicians per 100,000 people.