Best and Worst States to Raise a Family

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“It takes a village to raise a child” is an old proverb, probably of African origin, that reflects the importance of community for families. Millennialsthe generation born between 1981 and 1996are now at the age when they’re having children and are reassessing where and how they want to live and work, at least in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic and perhaps their newfound ability to telecommute. (Read how every state’s population has changed since 2010.)

24/7 Tempo has developed a list of the best and worst states in which to raise a family, using data compiled by the credit reporting and advice site WalletHub. The site compared states across five key dimensions: family fun; health and safety; education and child care; affordability; and socio-economics. 

The dimensions were evaluated using 52 variously weighted metrics, including share of families with young children, pediatricians per capita, quality of public schools, housing affordability, job opportunities and security, and separation and divorce rate. (Data on the total number of families in each state comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey one-year estimates.)

The top-ranked states are Massachusetts and Minnesota, both liberal places proud of their civic engagement. Massachusetts has near-universal health insurance, while Minnesota’s politics and culture have been described as “highly progressive by national standards.” Both are among the best-educated states in the nation and are home to numerous universities and colleges. 

The bottom-ranked states are New Mexico and Mississippi ranked last, both of which scored badly when it comes to socio-economics. Nevada did rank fourth in the nation for family fun, but other factors dragged it down to No. 41 overall. (These are the states with the best and worst economies.)