These Are the Best and Worst States to Raise Kids

A new report looks at trends in child well-being across the country to determine where in the U.S. is best to raise children. Where does your state rank?
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A new Annie E. Casey Foundation report on trends in child well-being says New Hampshire is the best state in which to raise kids, while Mississippi is the worst.

Researchers looked at Population Reference Bureau data from 2015 and found that states in the Northeast and upper Midwest tended to be the best for raising children. Southeastern, Southwestern, and Appalachian states, where the report notes the lowest levels of household income can be found, ranked the lowest.

The report looked at several factors to determine the states' rankings, including health care, education, family resources, and community resources.

Here are the top 10 states for overall child well-being:

1. New Hampshire
2. Massachusetts
3. Vermont
4. Minnesota
5. Iowa
6. Connecticut
7. Utah
8. New Jersey
9. North Dakota
10. Virginia

Meanwhile, these are the 10 lowest ranking states:

10. Texas
9. Georgia
8. West Virginia
7. Alabama
6. Arkansas
5. Arizona
4. Nevada
3. Louisiana
2. New Mexico
1. Mississippi

Researchers noted several uplifting trends among the data, overall. For instance, parental employment and wages are up. More kids than ever have health insurance. And teens are more likely to graduate from high school, less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, and teen birth rates have dropped.

But it's not all good news: Child poverty rates remain high, and sadly, more families live in high-poverty neighborhoods. The report also points out that far too many kids are below grade level in the crucial subjects of reading and math. Furthermore, racial and ethnic disparities remain.

The takeaway from this report isn't necessarily that you should pack up your family and move to New Hampshire, of course. But if you are considering a move, it may be worth reviewing the data. If you like where you live, but are unhappy with the state of health care, education, or employment rates, act. Lobby your congressperson. Get involved! Be a force for positive change.

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and soon-to-be mom of 4. Find her on Facebook and Instagram where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of yoga.

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