Report: Best and WORST States to Raise a Child

Report: Best and WORST States to Raise a Child
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A report recently released by the nonprofit Annie E Casey Foundation shows New Hampshire is the best place to raise a child, ranking at the top for good healthcare, education, community structures, and economic welfare. But how do the other states compare for parenthood? [1]

New Mexico ranks as the worst state for child-rearing for its infant mortality, and high levels of exposure to alcohol, drug use, and poverty.

The authors of the report claim theirs is the most comprehensive analyses to date of the many factors that affect children beyond child services.

The report, called Kids Count, was an attempt to provide a better perspective on children than what U.S. Census Bureau data has to offer. The 2010 survey failed to count at least 1 million youngsters across the country, and the mistake could negatively impact childcare and funding for the foreseeable future.

Read: American Food Insecurity on the Decline but Still Widespread

Each state was ranked according to:

  • Health
  • Education
  • Family and community
  • Economic well-being

Each factor was influenced by drug use, poverty, funding of healthcare services, and other aspects that impact the lives of children.

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Laura Speer, co-director of the report and associate director of policy reform and advocacy for the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, said:

“Our measures are not just about the well-being of children in the moment of childhood but also measures that the research shows are connected to success in adulthood.

We wanted to capture, as much as we could, the range of factors that impact a child’s life – not just what happens in school, not just what’s happening in the economy – all of these things have an impact on children’s lives.” [2]

New Hampshire came out on top overall but didn’t top any of the individual categories. [1]

Read: How Poverty can Lead to Stress-Related Obesity

North Dakota’s high average salaries and low poverty rate placed it at the top of the best states in terms of economic well-being. North Dakota was followed by Nebraska and New Hampshire. Louisiana came last ahead of Mississippi and New Mexico.

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New Jersey was ranked 1st in the education category for its high proficiency in reading standards and strong education funding. Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire came in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, respectively. New Mexico, Nevada, and Alaska came 50th, 49th, and 48th respectively.

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The health category was topped by Massachusetts due to the state’s top-notch healthcare facilities and broad insurance coverage, followed by New Hampshire, New Jersey, and New York. Alaska, Wyoming and New Mexico came last.

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And when it came to family and well-being (living with both parents who have a good education and are not in poverty), Utah ranked first. New Hampshire and Vermont were the second and third best. Mississippi came last followed by New Mexico and Louisiana.

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Read: Education, Access to Healthy Food is Key in Ending Junk “Food Deserts”

While data on childhood obesity, or how the justice system affects different kinds of children by state, there was enough data on systemic disadvantages to show investigators that black, American Indian and Latino kids were worse off than their white or Asian peers. [2]

These 10 states were ranked best overall:

  • New Hampshire
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • Minnesota
  • Iowa
  • Utah
  • Connecticut
  • Vermont
  • Nebraska
  • Virginia.

The bottom 10 states included:

  • Arkansas
  • Alabama
  • Texas
  • Oklahoma
  • Arizona
  • Alaska
  • Nevada
  • Mississippi
  • Louisiana
  • New Mexico

Additional Sources:

[1] Daily Mail

[2] Fatherly