Here are the best and worst states to raise a family in 2021

Some states are better for raising a family than others.

At least that’s what multiple experts at the personal finance website WalletHub have determined with their Best & Worst States to Raise a Family report for 2021.

WalletHub’s report analyzed the 50 U.S. states in five categories, which were broken down “across 52 key indicators of family-friendliness,” including family fun, health and safety, education and child care, affordability and socio-economics.

WalletHub’s top 5 best states to raise a family

In ascending order, the top five states to raise a family are Vermont, New York, North Dakota, Minnesota and Massachusetts.

Vermont notched the fifth place overall with high marks in socioeconomics as well as education and child care. The Green Mountain State is ranked No. 1 in health and safety and No. 4 for the fewest violent crimes per capita.

New York is said to be the fourth best for raising a family. The Big Apple ranked No. 2 for family fun after California, and surprisingly ranked No. 5 for affordability despite also being ranked No. 48 for having the least affordable housing. Additionally, New York is in the top 10 for education and child care.

Montpelier, Vermont
Montpelier, Vermont
Getty Images/iStockphoto

North Dakota is third on the list and stands out for being ranked No. 1 in socioeconomics and No. 2 in education and child care. The Peace Garden state tied at No. 3 for the highest median family income and most affordable housing. Other notable marks include its No. 7 ranking in health and safety and No. 14 ranking in affordability.

Minnesota snagged second place in WalletHub’s ranking. The North Star State is ranked No. 1 in highest median family income and No. 4 in the lowest percentage of family poverty. Metrics Minnesota tied for the No. 5 spot for were in in socioeconomics, health and safety and the lowest separation or divorce rate. Education and child care round out Minnesota’s top marks as No. 8 in the country.

Massachusetts is reportedly the best state to raise a family. The Bay State is ranked No.1 in health and safety, No. 3 in education and child care, No. 6 in affordability and No. 9 in family fun. Moreover, Massachusetts is said to have the fourth lowest infant mortality rate.

WalletHub’s bottom 5 worst states to raise a family

On the opposite side of WalletHub’s list, the bottom five states for families are Oklahoma, Louisiana, West Virginia, Mississippi and New Mexico.

Coming in at 46th place, Oklahoma is in the bottom 10 for family fun, health and safety, education and child care and affordability. The Sooner State’s highest category ranking is 37th place in socioeconomics.

Louisiana is in 47th place and received low marks in three of the five categories WalletHub identified, including health and safety, education and child care and socioeconomics.  The Bayou State has some the highest instances of infant mortality, violent crime, families living in poverty and separation or divorce.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Getty Images/iStockphoto

West Virginia is in 48th place with it being dubbed the state with the fewest families with young kids and the least fit for family fun. The Mountain State is ranked No. 46 for the highest infant mortality rate and the highest percentage of families living in poverty. West Virginia is also four places away from having the lowest median income in the country.

Mississippi is in 49th place out of 50 U.S. states. The Magnolia State is ranked at the absolute bottom for the highest rate of infant mortality, the highest percentage of family poverty as well as health and safety. Mississippi was also No. 46 in the highest separation or divorce rates and No. 49 in family fun. On a more positive note, the state came in at No. 2 for having the lowest costs for child care.

The worst state to raise a family is New Mexico, according to WalletHub. It is in last place for education and child care and is said to be the state with the third highest child care costs. Moreover, the Land of Enchantment has the third lowest median family income in the country while being the second highest in the number of violent crimes per capita. New Mexico also has some of the highest rates of family poverty, separation and divorce.

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