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Best and Worst States to Raise a Family In

The 10 Worst States to Raise a Child In

Where you live and decide to raise your family is largely decided by factors such as where you grew up or where you find work, but apparently there are some states that are much better to raise kids in than others.

Things like school districts, taxes, and career opportunities play large parts in choosing a place to settle, but finding a state that has the best combination of all the qualities you're looking could prove to be difficult. To help, WalletHub released findings from an in-depth study comparing "40 key indicators of family-friendliness" — such as median family salary, divorce rate, and unemployment rate — to determine a definitive ranking of the best and worst states (including the District of Columbia) to raise a family in.

Read through for their rankings as well as some notable highlights from the study.

10 Worst States to Raise a Family In

  1. Alabama
  2. West Virginia
  3. Georgia
  4. Arizona
  5. Alaska
  6. Nevada
  7. Louisiana
  8. District of Columbia
  9. Mississippi
  10. New Mexico

10 Best States to Raise a Family In

  1. North Dakota
  2. New Hampshire
  3. Vermont
  4. Minnesota
  5. Nebraska
  6. Massachusetts
  7. New Jersey
  8. Iowa
  9. Connecticut
  10. South Dakota

Although your state may or may not have fallen into either of the top 10 lists, you can refer to the study to see where it fell overall based on its individual category ratings.


Notable highlights:

  • Utah, though in neither top 10 list, has the most families with children and the lowest divorce rate (16.22 percent, 1.8 times lower than in the District of Columbia, where it is highest at nearly 30 percent).
  • Mississippi, though second to worst, had the lowest childcare costs based on median family income — 2.8 times lower than in DC, which has the highest costs.
  • New Hampshire's share of families living below poverty level is 3.1 times lower than Mississippi's, where it's highest.
  • The percentage of families receiving food stamps is 3.6 times lower in Wyoming than DC.
  • Wyoming has the highest median family annual income adjusted for cost of living ($79,732), while Hawaii has the lowest ($48,111).
  • The most affordable housing can be found in Iowa, Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Kansas, whereas homes in Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, Hawaii, and DC are the least affordable.
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