The US Department Of Agriculture recently estimated the cost of raising a kid for middle-income Americans is about $233,610. And if anyone knows about living with wild animals, like horses and 2-year-olds, it’s those guys. Where you choose to grow you menagerie matters and the good people at WalletHub want to make sure it’s not a glass one. They determined the best and worst states to raise a family in 2017 because oh, the places you will go (to raise your children in an economically-sound environment).
Researchers scored 50 states along with the District of Columbia on 40 key indicators across 4 categories: Family fun, health and safety, education and child care, and everyone’s favorite, affordability. The best state to raise a family is North Dakota, but just barely with a score of 65.81, a mere .22 difference from New Hampshire, the runner-up. Last year’s winner, Vermont, took third followed by Minnesota and Nebraska to round out the top 5.
The worst state to raise a family was New Mexico, which was number 50 for education and child care, and 51 for affordability. Don’t even get them started on Old Mexico. Other states you might want to avoid now that you have a kid are Mississippi, the District of Columbia, Louisiana, and Nevada, which made up the bottom 5.
Still, these are cumulative scores that are relative to your family’s unique needs, so WalletHub organized their data so you can find the most affordable housing (Iowa, Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Kansas), the lowest infant mortality rate (California, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts), the lowest child care costs (Mississippi and South Dakota), and even the lowest divorce rates (Utah, North Dakota, and New Jersey). Wherever you bust a move, it’s still going to be a good old American mixed bag. At least you have experience digging diapers out of those.