Given the cost of raising a kid these days — the most frequently cited figures are all north of $200K — you’ve probably considered shopping around for a better deal in the form of a cheaper place to live. Lucky for you, the data nerds at Wallethub just did a whole bunch of research to determine the best place to have a baby.
The report ranks all 50 states plus Washington D.C. in terms of overall cost (factoring in things like hospital deliveries and toys), the quality of regional healthcare, and something called “baby-friendly environment,” which tallies things like air pollution, availability of childcare, and whether or not the state has a parental leave policy that Mark Zuckerberg would approve of. While the whole list is worth examining — it ranks winner per category as well — there’s one big takeaway: If you want to raise your kid with the best bang for your regional buck, move somewhere that’s sparsely settled.
Coming in first overall is Vermont (49), followed by North Dakota (48), Oregon (27), and Hawaii (40) — other poorly-attended states in the top 10 include Kentucky, Maine, Wyoming, Iowa, and Alaska. The other big takeaway? If you don’t want to raise your kid somewhere with terrible bang for your buck, don’t move to Mississippi, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, South Carolina, or Nevada. The cost of living is low, but the access to Superfund sites is high, high, high.