Best State to Raise a Family: Top 10 States to Consider in 2024

Krystal DeVille

cardboard cut out family next to a map of the world.

There are plenty of places to raise a kid in the US, and of course, kids are raised in every state. But, with so many choices, what’s the best state to raise a family? Families seek places where family fun, security, and opportunity converge to create an environment that’s not just livable but better for all everyone.

How do we measure the key indicators of family-friendliness, socio-economics criteria, and violent crimes per capita that make a state the best place to raise a family? As we go over the 10 best states to raise a family in 2024, prepare to be enlightened and possibly even surprised. 

According to comprehensive research, Massachusetts ranks as the top state for raising a family. This finding is based on key factors such as education quality, healthcare accessibility, and family-friendly activities.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choosing the best state to raise a family requires careful consideration of various factors, from family income to housing affordability.
  • Access to educational attainment, job opportunities, affordable housing, and healthcare are all important considerations for median-home families.
  • Safety and well-being, including crime rates, healthcare access, and environmental factors, rank in the top major concerns for each family in the U.S.

Key Factors in Family-Friendly States

When it comes to finding a state to raise a family, there are several factors to consider. Moving to a new state in the U.S. has its unique advantages and challenges, and it’s important to weigh these when making a decision.

Some of the most important factors include education, health and safety, affordability and cost of living, and family recreation and fun.

Education and Child Care

Education is a critical factor in choosing a family-friendly state. In our analysis, we found that states with higher median annual family income often correlate with better-funded education systems.

According to new studies, states that invest more in education often have higher quality schools and better childcare services, making them among the best for raising a family.

WalletHub compared the 50 states based on these metrics to help identify the top five states for education and childcare.

Health and Safety

Health and safety are crucial factors for families. Access to quality healthcare is important for families, with many families preferring states with good healthcare systems, hospitals, and clinics.

Safety is also a top priority, with parents seeking states with low crime rates, safe neighborhoods, and good emergency services.

Affordability and Cost of Living

In today’s economic environment, characterized by high inflation, certain unique opportunities arise. Aspects such as affordability and cost of living have become increasingly crucial. Families are looking at the annual family income to housing cost ratio to determine which states are the most affordable to live in.

Some of the top three states may offer higher incomes but also have significantly higher housing costs and cost of childcare.

Family Recreation and Fun

Family recreation and fun are also important factors for families looking for states in the country. Parents want their children to have access to parks, playgrounds, and other outdoor activities such as:

  • Family-friendly attractions
  • Museums
  • Entertainment options

Top States for Raising a Family

After conducting extensive research, here are some of the top states for raising a family in 2024.

StateEducation RankingMedian Household IncomeCrime RateCost of Living
VermontHighModerateVery LowModerate
New HampshireHighHighVery LowModerate
North DakotaModerateModerateVery LowLow

Northeastern Gems: Massachusetts and Vermont

A lake in Massachusetts with a little boat on it.

The Northeastern region, particularly New England states like Massachusetts and Vermont, stands out for families.

Massachusetts also, not just one of the more expensive states, excels in education and healthcare, ranked first for health according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It’s an ideal city for Massachusetts residents who value quality schools, including the most prominent like:

  1. Harvard University
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The state, sometimes requires moving to a new location, addresses inflation but also offers quality living, meeting various family wants and needs.

Vermont is also ranking high as a kid-friendly state known for its scenic beauty, strong community ties, and overall affordability. The state has a low crime rate and a high quality of life, making it a great place to raise a family.

Midwest Pride: Minnesota and Nebraska

Often underestimated, the Midwest, with states like Minnesota is also known for its robust economy, ranked second in the nation according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and is a trend in education and outdoor activities.

Nebraska, boasting a high quality of life, also offers quality schools, affordable housing and a welcoming community feel, making it an appealing choice for families assessing overall affordability.

The Northern Advantage: New Hampshire and North Dakota

Small fishing boat next to dock in Massachusetts.

The Northern region of the United States is often associated with harsh winters and rural landscapes, but it also offers some of the best options for raising a family. New Hampshire and North Dakota are two states in this region that offer a great quality of life for families.

New Hampshire, famous for its strong economy, also offers the following benefits to its residents such as:

  • Quality schools
  • Low crime rate
  • Abundance of outdoor activities

The state also has a strong economy and a high median household income, making it an attractive option for families looking for financial stability.

North Dakota, known for its affordable housing and friendly communities, provides a unique blend of a low crime rate and high quality of life, echoing the data from the Census Bureau about the region’s attractiveness for families.

Evaluating Economic Factors for Family Life

excited family carrying boxes into a new home on moving day.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Economic considerations are crucial when deciding on the best state to raise a family. Here are some of the economic factors that families should consider:

Housing and Living Expenses

Housing and living expenses can significantly affect a family’s budget. Families should look for states with affordable housing options and a low cost of living.

According to WalletHub, Virginia, Minnesota, and Illinois are among the states with the highest median family income and affordable housing options. Families should also consider the property tax rates in the state they are considering.

Income and Employment Opportunities

Income and employment opportunities are crucial factors for families when deciding on the best state to raise a family. Families should look for states with job opportunities that match their skills and experience. They should also consider the unemployment rate in the state they are considering.

According to CNBC, Massachusetts is the best state to raise a family if you make over $70,000 a year, with a total score of 65.21.

Insurance and Healthcare Costs

Insurance and healthcare costs are significant expenses for families. Families should look for states with affordable healthcare options and low insurance premiums. They should also consider the quality of healthcare in the state they are considering.

According to U.S. News & World Report, Massachusetts topped the list of the best states to raise a family, receiving high marks for education and affordability.

Safety and Wellbeing

a family of three looking at a new home outside.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Crime Rates and Public Safety

When it comes to raising a family, safety is a top priority for most parents. The crime rate is an important factor to consider when choosing the best state to raise a family.

Fun Fact: The states with the lowest violent crime rates per capita are Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and North Dakota.

Public safety is also a crucial aspect to consider. It is important to have a strong police force and emergency services available to ensure the safety of the community.

Healthcare Services and Facilities

Access to quality healthcare services and facilities is another important factor to consider when raising a family. The availability of hospitals and pediatricians is crucial for the health and well-being of children.

Additionally, the number of pediatricians per capita is also an important factor to consider.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors can also play a crucial role in the safety and well-being of a family. Air pollution, for instance, can have negative effects on the health of children.

According to TravelingRauf, the states with the lowest levels of air pollution are Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey.

Challenges and Considerations

Family waking in the woods during March
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

The Impact of Socioeconomics

When considering the best state to raise a family, it is important to take into account the impact of socioeconomics. Poverty, income inequality, and unemployment rates can all have a significant impact on a family’s well-being.

Education Quality and Access

Education is another important factor to consider when choosing a state to raise a family. The quality of the school system and access to higher education can have a significant impact on a child’s future success.

Some of the highest-ranked public education systems in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report are the following:

  1. Massachusetts
  2. New Jersey
  3. Connecticut

Dealing with High Inflation and Debt

High inflation and mortgage debt can also be significant challenges for families. In addition, states with high inflation rates can make it more difficult for families to make ends meet.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top factors to consider when choosing a state for family life?

When choosing a state for family life, several factors come into play. The quality of education, healthcare, safety, and cost of living are some of the top factors to consider. A state with good employment opportunities, recreational activities, and a welcoming community can also make a difference.

How does the cost of living impact the decision on where to raise a family?

The cost of living is a significant factor to consider when deciding where to raise a family. A state with a high cost of living can put a strain on a family’s finances, while a state with a low cost of living can ease the financial burden. It’s crucial to consider factors such as housing, food, and healthcare costs when deciding on the best state to raise a family.

Which states offer the best education systems for children?

Several states offer excellent education systems for children. Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut are some of the states with the best education systems in the country. These states have high graduation rates, quality teachers, and strong academic programs.

What are the safest cities for raising children in the US?

Safety is a top priority for families when choosing a place to raise their children. Some of the safest cities for raising children in the US include Irvine, California; Cary, North Carolina; and Naperville, Illinois. These cities have low crime rates, excellent schools, and family-friendly communities.

How do employment opportunities vary for families across different states?

Employment opportunities can vary significantly across different states. States such as California, New York, and Texas have some of the highest employment rates, while states such as West Virginia, Mississippi, and Alaska have some of the lowest.

What are the benefits of raising a family in a Southern state?

Southern states such as Texas, Florida, and Georgia offer several benefits for families. These states have a lower cost of living, warmer weather, and a strong sense of community. Southern states also offer excellent job opportunities, quality education systems, and a variety of recreational activities for families.


In choosing the best state to raise a family in 2024, it’s important to balance several key factors. Look for a place that offers a good mix of quality education, affordable living, healthcare access, and low crime rates. Each state has its unique strengths, so the best choice will depend on what matters most to your family, whether it’s excellent schools, safety, or cost of living.

Ultimately, the ideal state for your family is where you can find a balance of these elements to provide a nurturing and stable environment for growth and happiness.

About Krystal DeVille

Hello! I’m Krystal DeVille. By day, I wear many hats: a homeschool teacher, wife, and mother. By night, I’m a fervent journalist, pouring my thoughts and experiences onto paper. Parenthood, for me, has been an exhilarating roller-coaster filled with emotions, invaluable lessons, and moments of sheer joy. With three wonderful kids of my own, I’ve journeyed through the highs and lows — from sleepless nights to their very first steps and those unforgettable proud parent moments.

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