Children can grow into wonderful adults just about anywhere, but there are clues to finding the best place to raise yours. Local attributes such as available resources and support systems, living costs and vaccination rates can guide you.
A recent study by WalletHub ranked all 50 U.S. states from best to worst for raising a family by scoring each according to 51 metrics spread across five categories: affordability, health and safety, education and child care, socioeconomics, and family fun.
The cost of housing and insurance, savings rates, mortgage debt and other metrics were considered under affordability. Data on vaccination rates, availability of pediatricians and other health services, as well as environmental quality, crime rates and road safety were among those considered under health and safety. Job opportunities, divorce rates, poverty and unemployment rates came under the socioeconomic rubric. Finally, the share of families with children, the share of children living near parks or playgrounds, and the preponderance of attractions designed for fun, play, fitness and sports were weighed in the category of family fun.
Some spotlights: Iowa had the most affordable housing, while California had the least (no surprise there). Utah had the most families with young children per capita, while West Virginia had the fewest. And per capita child-care costs were lowest in South Dakota and highest in Nebraska.
This week’s chart shows the 10 best and 10 worst states in which to raise a child, according to the study, as well as the individual categories that most helped or hurt their rankings.