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These Are 2024’s Best States to Raise a Family, Report Says

The best place to raise a family? For the third year in a row Massachusetts takes the cake. See what states round out the top 10 here.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Updated January 8, 2024
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Raising a family can be challenging on its own, but your surroundings also play a role—including what state you choose to raise your family in. In the past year, as inflation has ballooned, essentials from childcare to groceries and rent have become more expensive, leading families to think twice about where they put their roots down and what might be most affordable. Now, a report from WalletHub, a personal finance website, is evaluating the best states to raise a family.

The annual report determined which states were best for families by comparing the 50 states across 50 key indicators of family-friendliness, including school system quality, housing affordability, healthcare availability, crime rates and more. The indicators were housed under five key dimensions: family fun, health and safety, education and childcare, affordability and socioeconomics. It then ranked the states based on their overall score.

According to the report, the best state to raise a family in is Massachusetts rated number one for the third year in a row. The Bay State earns top marks primarily for its good blend of economic opportunities and safe conditions for children.

“It has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and plenty of job opportunities relative to the labor force, which ensures that parents will be able to provide for their children. It’s not the cheapest state, as housing and childcare costs are relatively high compared to most of the nation, but residents make up for this with fairly high incomes,” WalletHub notes in their findings.

Massachusetts is also home to top tier school systems and when baby is even younger the state is a good place for safeguarding children’s health, offering the best water quality in the country, the highest rate of insured children, and one of the lowest infant mortality rates.

Top scores in cost of living, child care and outdoor acessibility pushes North Dakota up to the second spot. In third place, Minnesota boasts highest life expectancy at birth and some of the best public hospitals in the country. It also encourages children to stay active amid the obesity epidemic, as it has one of the largest shares of children who live in neighborhoods with a park or playground.

In other interesting news, the report found that Utah has the lowest separation and divorce rate, 1.7 times lower than in New Mexico, which has the highest rate. When it comes to early childcare, South Dakota has the lowest average annual cost, 2.5 times lower than in New York, which has the highest.

Without further ado, here are the top 10 best states to raise a family, based on their overall scores.

Top 10 Best States to Raise a Family

  1. Massachusetts
  2. North Dakota
  3. Minnesota
  4. Nebraska
  5. New York
  6. Maine
  7. New Hampshire
  8. South Dakota
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Vermont

For a detailed breakdown of how the cities were scored and to see all 180 cities and their rank, check out the full online report.

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