When it comes to raising a family, some states are better for it than others, according to new research. WalletHub recently released its annual report of the best and worst states to have kids in 2020, based on how family-friendly they are.
To determine the ranking, researchers compared 50 different indicators across the 50 states. Those indicators—which included the quality of the education systems, the cost of child care, and number of pediatricians per capita, for instance—were broken into five main categories based on what both parents and kids alike look for. The five categories were family fun, health and safety, education and child care, affordability and socio-economics.
According to the survey, Minnesota is the best state for families, followed by Massachusetts and North Dakota. Minnesota has the highest median annual family salary (ranking it high in the socio-economics and affordability categories) while Massachusetts performs well in health and safety and North Dakota in education and child care.
At the other end of the spectrum, New Mexico came in last as the worst state for families. It ranked the worst in the education and child care category, thanks to its incredibly high child care costs, divorce rates, and percentage of families living in poverty. Mississippi and Louisiana were both close behind, with both Southern states ranking at the bottom of the list for socio-economics and health and safety (Mississippi has the highest infant mortality rate of all the states, for instance).
And just how important is location for family-rearing? Very, according to the experts who participated in the survey. “A child’s development and the family’s quality of life are greatly influenced by the state they are in,” Erin Casey, PhD, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Oklahoma, told WalletHub. “They go hand-in-hand. The educational and recreational opportunities provided by the state have a great effect on the opportunity for the social-emotional and cognitive development of the children that live there.”
Below are the top and bottom 10 states for raising a family based on the 2020 results. You can find the full list on WalletHub’s website here.
Top 10 states:
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
- New York
- New Jersey
Bottom 10 states:
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
- New Mexico