The 5 Best Places to Raise a Family in the U.S.
Raising a family in 2020 was more difficult than in years past. Parents had to balance working from home with general day-to-day household tasks, as well as help their children adjust to remote learning and feel somewhat comfortable during the pandemic.
Want more articles like this?
Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inboxSign up for free
A recent analysis from MoneyRates compared states across the U.S. in an attempt to identify which are best for raising families. The study gathered data on each state surrounding nine key factors:
- Cost of living
- Academic performance
- Youth banking options
- College affordability
- Safety from violent crime
- Availability of daycare
- Children’s health
- Neighborhood amenities
- Broadband connectivity
Data across all nine factors were averaged, with each being weighted equally. However, in reality, some of these categories have taken on special significance due to the pandemic. For example, the availability of daycare is even more important with in-person learning being curtailed in many areas and broadband connectivity is essential to both students and work-from-home parents.
Best 5 States to Raise a Family
Topping the list for the second consecutive year, the Garden State ranks in the top 10 for six of the nine categories evaluated: academic performance, access to youth checking accounts, safety from violent crime, availability of daycare, child health, and access to broadband. New Jersey’s flagship college, Princeton University, is often revered as one of the best universities in the world. And its state university, Rutgers, is often considered to be within the top 100 best colleges in America, making this area an excellent place to raise future college students.
Home to Harvard, MIT, Boston University, and other prestigious colleges, it’s no wonder that Massachusetts ranks first in academic performance. It’s also in the top 10 for access to broadband, availability of daycare, neighborhood amenities, and access to youth checking accounts.
Utah is the only state in the top five not located in the Northeastern United States. Not only is it first in broadband access, Utah ranks in the top 10 for academic performance, college affordability, and neighborhood amenities. Over the last decade, Utah’s been considered one of the fastest-growing states in the U.S. Expect it to be on this list for years to come.
The Constitution State ranks in the top 10 for academic performance, access to youth checking accounts, safety from violent crime, and availability of daycare. Home to Yale University and the University of Connecticut (UConn), children in Connecticut have access to a great education while parents have access to good jobs and daycare.
New Hampshire is second-best in the nation for academic performance and safety from violent crime. It also made the top 10 for availability of daycare and broadband connectivity. However, it is the second-most expensive state for public college tuition. First on the list is its neighbor Vermont.
Wyoming, Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, and New York round out the rest of the top 10 in MoneyRates’ list.
“The pandemic has made Americans rethink how they raise their kids,” says Richard Barrington, senior financial analyst for MoneyRates. “That may also lead them to reconsider how much help they get from their home state to raise their families. Many parents will likely pay more attention now to things like the quality of healthcare in the area and the accessibility of public parks.”
“We don’t create this list to tell people where to live,” explains Barrington. “Rather, the idea is to make people aware of how their state may be making it easier or harder for them to raise a family.”
Key Contrasts Between the Best and Worst States
- Hawaii’s cost-of-living is more than twice as much as 20 other states.
- Utah and Washington State residents are a fifth more likely to have broadband than those in Mississippi and five other states.
- Wyoming is the best state for college affordability, where the cost is a third as much as in Vermont.
- Delaware has over four times as many daycare employees as Utah relative to the number of children in the state under 10.
- Colorado residents are more than three times as likely to have nearby access to parks, sidewalks, libraries, and recreation centers than families living in Mississippi.
- The violent crime rate in Maine is less than one-seventh that of Alaska and New Mexico.
Share your thoughts below.