Stability is key when it comes to raising happy, healthy kids. For this reason, parents often make an effort to put down roots sooner rather than later.
Deciding where to live can be a daunting task, but knowing which states are the most family-friendly could make the deliberation process easier. So, which states boast the best combination of qualities that matter to parents?
To find out, personal finance website WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia to see which ranked as the most family-friendly in 2017. The ranking was determined by looking at 40 key indicators, including median family salary and housing affordability.
North Dakota tops the list for family-friendliness, and New Mexico was found to be the worst for families. New Hampshire, which ranked second best, had the lowest share of families living below poverty level (5.6%).
Divorce rates were also considered in the study. WalletHub found that Utah has the lowest divorce rate. At just over 16%, Utah’s divorce rate is 1.8 times lower than in DC, where it is the highest at nearly 30%.
Additionally, the study revealed that Mississippi has the lowest child-care costs (adjusted for median family income), around 6% -- 2.8 times lower than in the District of Columbia, where they are highest at 17.41%. California was found to have the lowest infant-mortality rate.
These were the ten best states for families, according to the analysis:
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- South Dakota
Worst states for families
New Mexico was ranked worst for families, as it had one of the highest violent crime rates and among the highest percentage of families living below poverty level.
WalletHub ranked these states among the worst for raising a family:
- West Virginia
- District of Columbia
- New Mexico