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The Best States For Raising Smart, Healthy, Successful Kids

Photograph by Twenty20

Parents worry about every little thing when it comes to their kids, especially their financial future. (Call us all the names you want, we're just doing our jobs.) We all know knowledge is a power, but knowledge is also getting really expensive. Quality, enriching daycare costs more than some state's college tuition. And speaking of college tuition, that's not getting any cheaper either.

So, how much—exactly—will it cost to lock in on an academic career for your child? Are you sitting down?

According to CNN, $250,000 is the going rate for a middle-income family to raise a successful child in today's market. (Should we start aiming for mediocre?)

If it seems as though wealthy parents have the upper hand in the academic arena, it's because they do. They have no problem jumping off their wallets to give their kids’ the best education because they can. This often means finding new housing in better neighborhoods or private schools they can scrape up the tuition for.

We'd all do the same if we could. But some places are easier to accomplish this than others. The Annie E. Casey Foundation just released its annual Kids Count Data Book, which compares all 50 states with each other in different areas that impact kids. From their big yearly data crunch, the group ranks the states in terms where kids may fare best over, but also in more specific categories like economic, education, health, family and community.

You'll either find comfort or book a U-haul.

For overall best places to raise kids, New Hampshire is the surprise top rank. Then comes a more expected Massachusetts and next is Vermont (mmm... ice cream). (In summary, New England?)

Ranked lowest were states along the southern rim of the U.S.: Louisiana, then New Mexico and last Mississippi.

WARNING: If your state isn't in the Top 10, remember there are four other categories that affect a child's well being and so you still have a shot.

Keep in mind that the report includes comprehensive detail regarding unemployment, racial gaps, teen births, high school graduation rates and other elements that can jeopardize a child's academic future. It is a thorough outline and an excellent starting point for any new parent, and we highly recommend combing through the lists, if not the data itself.

Here are the rankings in the overall category, followed by the Top 10 within each subcategory.

2017 Overall Rankings

1. New Hampshire

2. Massachusetts

3. Vermont

4. Minnesota

5. Iowa

6. Connecticut

7. Utah

8. New Jersey

9. North Dakota

10. Virginia

11. Nebraska

12. Wisconsin

13. Maine

14. Washington

15. Kansas

16. Maryland

17. Hawaii

18. Pennsylvania

19. Illinois

20. Idaho

21. South Dakota

22. Colorado

23. Delaware

24. Ohio

25. Missouri

26. Montana

27. Wyoming

28. Indiana

29. Rhode Island

30. New York

31. Oregon

32. Michigan

33. North Carolina

34. Kentucky

35. Tennessee

36. Oklahoma

37. California

38. Alaska

39. South Carolina

40. Florida

41. Texas

42. Georgia

43. West Virginia

44. Alabama

45. Arkansas

46. Arizona

47. Nevada

48. Louisiana

49. New Mexico

50. Mississippi

There's a bit of a shuffle in the rankings when the data is broken out to specifically look at economic well-being.

Ranked lowest were states along the southern rim of the U.S.

Top 10 for Economic Well-Being

1. North Dakota

2. Minnesota

3. Iowa

4. New Hampshire

5. Utah

6. Nebraska

7. Kansas

8. Wisconsin

9. Vermont

10. South Dakota

Again everything resorts itself for education specifically.

Top 10 States by Education Domain Rank

1. Massachusetts

2. New Jersey

3. New Hampshire

4. Connecticut

5. Vermont

6. Iowa

7. Virginia

8. Minnesota

9. Wisconsin

10. Nebraska

Next up, health.

Top 10 States by Health Domain Rank

1. Minnesota

2. Massachusetts

3. Connecticut

4. Vermont

5. Washington

6. New York

7. Iowa

8. Hawaii

9. California

10. Illinois

For overall best places to raise kids, New Hampshire is the surprise top rank.

Top 10 States by Family and Community Domain Rank

1. Vermont

2. New Hampshire

3. Utah

4. Minnesota

5. North Dakota

6. Maine

7. Massachusetts

8. Iowa

9. Connecticut

10. Hawaii

Vermont is on all the top 10 lists and New Hampshire is on most of them. What's in the water up there, and is it something the rest of the country should be drinking?

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