As home prices have skyrocketed to record highs, families everywhere are trying to figure out where they can make their money stretch the furthest without compromising on the essentials like a good education for their children.
It turns out, the best places to raise a family are in the Northeast. Massachusetts overtook Minnesota this year to become the top state in which to raise a family, according to a recent report from personal finance website WalletHub.
“Location is a very important factor in raising a healthy and stable family,” says WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. “While moving is still difficult at the moment because of the pandemic, there is a vaccine on the horizon. This means that hopefully, toward the end of the year families could start considering moving to a state that will best suit their needs and wants.”
WalletHub analyzed 52 factors, including home affordability, to come up with its findings. Its analysis was organized into five categories: family fun, health and safety, education and child care, affordability and socioeconomics, which includes things like unemployment rates.
Massachusetts earned high markets for its high-quality (albeit expensive) child care and education, good parental leave policies, lots of family fun facilities, and health and safety policies. It also had one of the lowest infant mortality rates.
However, while there’s a lot for families in the state to love, it is expensive. The state is known for its high taxes, pricey cost of living, and costly homes.
The median home list price in the state was $609,500 in December, according to the latest realtor.com® data. That’s nearly double, or 44% higher than, the $340,000 median price tag nationally.
Half of the top 10 states were in the snowier, more expensive Northeast.
“Northeastern states tend to rank higher in terms of education and child care. They also scored points when it comes to opportunities for family fun, like parks and recreational centers,” says Gonzalez.
“Most children in these states have health insurance coverage, there are a lot of pediatricians, and life expectancy in general is higher in this part of the country,” she continues. “Crime rate is lower here as well, and there are good schools that also offer extracurricular activities, and plenty of child day care services to choose from.”
Massachusetts was followed by Minnesota, which fell from first place last year and had a median list price of $295,000. Next up were North Dakota, at $236,300; New York, at $569,550; and Vermont, at $325,050. Rounding out the top 10 were New Hampshire, at $379,050; New Jersey, at $436,700; Washington, at $500,000; Connecticut, at $385,050; and Utah, at $550,000.
Which states are the least family-friendly?
On the other end of the spectrum were the states where it’s the hardest to raise a family in.
The South, despite its relative affordability with lower taxes, cost of living, and real estate prices, dominated the bottom of WalletHub’s list of the best places to raise a family in. That’s due to the region’s lower marks in education and child care, health and safety, and socioeconomic considerations, such as the percentage of families living in poverty.
New Mexico was named the least family-friendly state by WalletHub. Low high school graduation rates as well as high child care costs, violent crime rates, and percentage of families living in poverty hurt the state’s standing.
One plus in New Mexico‘s favor was its $279,950 median home price—about a fifth less than the national home cost. The state is also popular with retirees attracted to its dry heat and natural beauty.
The rest of the bottom 10 were Mississippi, West Virginia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama, South Carolina, Arizona, and Nevada.