Real Estate News & Commentary

The 5 Best Places to Raise a Family in the U.S.

Expertise: Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Real Estate News & Commentary
25 Articles Written
Mother Carrying Son And Daughter As They Play In Park

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 inbox

Sign 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:

  1. Cost of living
  2. Academic performance
  3. Youth banking options
  4. College affordability
  5. Safety from violent crime
  6. Availability of daycare
  7. Children’s health
  8. Neighborhood amenities
  9. 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.

Related: Top 10 Markets Where Spacious Homes Are Most Affordable in 2020

Best 5 States to Raise a Family

  1. New Jersey

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.

  1. Massachusetts (Tied)

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.

Related: Top 5 Markets Where Buyers Are Facing Bidding Wars (& Where Competition Is Much Less Fierce)

  1. Utah (Tied)

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.

  1. Connecticut

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.

Related: Where Is the Housing Market Headed in 2021? Top 10 Predictions From an Economic Expert

  1. New Hampshire

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.

Questions? Comments?

Share your thoughts below.

BiggerPockets is the nation’s largest and most active real estate investing social network, designed to simplify and enhance networking, deal-making, data evaluation, education, marketing, and transactions for investors, consumers, and professionals.
    Nathan G. Real Estate Broker from Cody, WY
    Replied 14 days ago
    Fake news! Wyoming doesn't exist. :)
    Keenan Fitzpatrick Flipper/Rehabber from Anchorage, AK
    Replied 14 days ago
    Alaska making it on there right at the end.
    Jeff Bosaw Rental Property Investor from Saint Louis, MO
    Replied 12 days ago
    I feel like per capita statistics per state is a crapshoot. 1 bad part of the state makes the entire state look bad due to the low population.
    Jerry W. Investor from Thermopolis, Wyoming
    Replied 13 days ago
    wow, what happened to things like taxes, employment opportunity, beautiful areas to visit, etc. Why the hell is access to checking accounts important to anything and how do you learn about it? How do you rank it?
    Justin Metzger Investor from Charlottesville, Virginia
    Replied 13 days ago
    New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, you are kidding right. Someone needs to rerun their cost of living numbers...
    Emil Alek
    Replied 11 days ago
    Not sure why it wasn't mentioned here but Overall Affordability - was based on cost-of-living data provided by the Council for Community and Economic Research - was taken into account. NJ is 42 CT is 43 NY is 48
    Sean Tobin Real Estate Broker from Spokane, WA
    Replied 13 days ago
    I am surprised Spokane, Washington didn't make it on the list!
    Vaughn K. from Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Replied 13 days ago
    The methodology used is a complete joke! Half of those should be considered some of the WORST places to raise kids. NEW YORK is in the top 10. LOL Most of the best places to raise kids are mid sized cities to suburbs in the midwest, south, or the remaining sane parts of the western states. The fact that people lack the brains to see the results their methodology produces, how clearly dumb the winners are, and even publish stuff like this is ridiculous.

    It's like the lists I've seen that still list Washington state as one of the best places to do business based on stuff like a high number of college grads (who are mostly making coffee at Starbucks mind you, because they got useless degrees) and whatnot. No attention to taxes, cost of labor, cost of real estate, regulatory burden, etc etc etc. Ya know, the things that ACTUALLY matter. I bailed out of there after living there most of my life, because the business environment has gone from being one of the best in the US 10-20 years ago, to trying to play catch up with NY and CA as the worst state to own a business in. As a small business owner who lives in the real world it just makes me LOL when I see stuff like that. I don't understand how these "journalists" can be so out of touch with reality that they have the nerve to publish such obviously wrong info.
    Steven Ashwood
    Replied 13 days ago
    I live in the Northeast, nothing affordable about living here at all. Florida, North Carolina and Texas is where it’s at.
    Rob Bowling Investor from Prospect, Kentucky
    Replied 13 days ago
    There is a reason why alot of people are fleeing these northern states for the south. I might believe this article if it was 40 years ago.
    Tim Parker Investor from Bremerton, Washington
    Replied 12 days ago
    I wonder what asylum the writers live in?
    Ketan P. Real Estate Investor from New Milford, New Jersey
    Replied 12 days ago
    This list is so wrong on so many points. I will debunk it with precise details. I am 48 and grew up in NE, precisely Queens, NY until I got married at age 30 and moved to NJ and bought our first house. Life was a struggle in NY, and NJ. Both have ridiculous unaffordable real estate taxes. NJ is second highest to San Francisco. All the jobs in this area are in NYC. The genius of the system is putting all the jobs on an island and charging daily tolls, or high fairs to get to work. MTA is minting money, and so is Port Authority of NY and NJ. In 2020 thanks to Covid19 people fled NYC and my house price went up. I sold without second thought and moved to GA. In GA, TX and many stated down south, or even mid west you don't get killed my real estate taxes, or a horrible commute to work. I get twice the size, and newer house and half the real estate taxes. However this was just a bonus because I have really moved my kids to a better school system. The NJ school system is so horrible. I was disappointed with what my kids were learning, and how they were learning. I have a 20+ year experience in IT and if I struggled in NE than there is something wrong with the math. You must have went to school in NY because it is below par with the rest of tge world. No joke intended. Go checknthe cost of getting into Princent. This was such an amateur article and insult to the readers.
    Greg H. Broker/Flipper from Austin, Texas
    Replied 12 days ago
    People who actually live in New Jersey are laughing as they will gladly move to make room for you
    Andrew Connolly
    Replied 12 days ago
    2-9 are all part of what the nanny state offers. I would add #10 as "Freedom from government intrusion". That would eliminate 3 of the 5, but soon no state will have any of that, so maybe it doesn't matter. Agree with the re-checking cost of living comments.
    Kurt Buchert from New Orleans, Louisiana
    Replied 12 days ago
    Yep!
    Dana Wappler
    Replied 12 days ago
    Anyone have a decent article about best states to raise a family which considered taxes, accurately evaluates education, business friendly, and cost of living?
    Kurt Buchert from New Orleans, Louisiana
    Replied 12 days ago
    Exactly!
    Kurt Buchert from New Orleans, Louisiana
    Replied 12 days ago
    This is hilarious. Massachusetts!!!??? Connecticut!!!?? Umm...no thanks.
    Dexter Belleza from Waipahu, Hawaii
    Replied 12 days ago
    I am from Oahu, HI and the cost of living here is high as compared to mainland states, as a lot of our products are shipped or flown in. Many families here live in multi-generational households to make the rent or mortgage payments. Just my POV/$.02, Aloha
    Jamie Rose Real Estate Agent from Anchorage, AK
    Replied 12 days ago
    When your list ranks: access to youth checking accounts - but not: clean air, or outdoor activities, etc - a place like New Jersey wins... hahaha what a joke. If I ever left Alaska - where I have 1gig internet at home btw. 4 of my top 5 choices wouldn't end up in the northeast. None of them would. We all get our own opinions though - and the poster's is showing.
    Keenan Fitzpatrick Flipper/Rehabber from Anchorage, AK
    Replied 12 days ago
    We had a good laugh about this criteria in the office.
    Colleen F. Investor from Narragansett, Rhode Island
    Replied 12 days ago
    I am not surprised by what's on the list. I grew up in NJ and lived in MA for many years but keep in mind there is no state that is homogenous enough for this to be true at a state level. Real Estate is local. The main reason the northeast leads because its dense and for alot of the criteria density matters. Of course there are more education opportunities and daycares if there are more people. That said I love NJ but lower cost of living isn't one of it's assets. CT and MA also aren't cheap so I have to wonder what they are using for data.
    Juliet Bongianni
    Replied 12 days ago
    I am sorry, is it April 1, or did someone let The Onion write a prank piece for BP? Honestly, joking, right?!
    Joanne Tsai from Millburn, New Jersey
    Replied 6 days ago
    haha, I had to run out of the bay area to escape all the crime and drug problems when my son was born. So I agree that NJ is in comparison better than CA. but I wouldn't say NJ is that affordable at all. But once you've lived in CA, things will only look better from there. ;)
    John Murray from Portland, Oregon
    Replied 5 days ago
    I grew up in Monmouth County NJ, the place is a crap hole. The smell of IFF, the mosquito swarms, humidity, and cold winters are just a few points of the crap hole. Land at Newark, enjoy the stink of driving on the Turnpike or Parkway and the garbage on the beaches. The last of NJ I had to endure was BCT at Fort Dix and never lived there ever again. Anyone that stays there has to for some financial reason and as soon as possible should leave.