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This Map Shows the Best and Worst States to Raise a Family

Where does your state rank?

Policy Genius

Every parent wishes there was a secret formula to help with raising their kid and while we certainly don’t have all the answers to parenting, the first thing you may want to do is consider moving your family to Wyoming. Why? Because the least populated state in the U.S. was recently found to be the best state for raising kids, according to a study from Policy Genius that ranks each state based on how good (or bad) it is for raising a family.

The reason Wyoming landed at the top of list? It’s cheap as hell (extremely low college and childcare costs) and super safe (238 violent crimes per 100,000 people). And Wyoming was far from the only “flyover state to land high on the list, as Utah, Idaho, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Minnesota all made it into the top 10. New Hampshire, Washington Hawaii, and Alaska also made it into the top 10.

On the other end of the spectrum, Washington D.C. was the lowest ranked state (despite not technically being a state) due to its high childcare costs and family poverty rate. It was followed by Louisiana, New Mexico, South Carolina, Michigan, and Alabama.

To compile the list, researchers created the Policygenius Family Friendly Index, which was made up of nine figures that were weighted equally: Percentage of families, percent of families living in poverty, cost of child care, cost of college, divorce rate, infant mortality rate, violent crime per capita, median household income, and housing costs as a percent of income. You can see the full rankings below.


Policy Genius also provided an interactive map based on the rankings, allowing users to quickly locate their state in order to see how it compares to the rest of the country.