12 Best States to Raise a Family, Based on Key Factors

Published February 19, 2021
family in a national park

When starting a family, there is much to be considered. What will you name your baby, what values will you emphasize, and where should you raise your family? Deciding where to put down roots is a major life decision, but when it comes to family-friendly states: these are the best states to raise a family in.

Best States to Raise a Family Depends on Your Values

Each of the 50 states has so many draws as well as unique challenges. The one that you decide to go with for home base will ultimately reflect what you most value in life. Whether it's economic stability, outdoor living, education, or otherwise, pick a state that speaks to you personally.


Taking care of a family is not cheap, so wherever you choose to live, you'll want to make sure that financial stability exists there. Nebraska is currently one of the best states to land a job in. Per The Nebraska Department of Labor, men and women are equals in the workforce, and the unemployment rate here is extremely low. Parents looking to work in web development of home health aide services might be particularly drawn to Nebraska as those areas of employment are growing at rapid speed.

mother tickling daughter on rural road


Washington is considered to be one of the best places to live in the U.S.A. by many. Families who value spending time outdoors will have no issue with putting down roots in Washington state. There will never be a shortage of outdoor activities for family living here. With mountains, sea, and some of the best walkability factors around, families can fill their quality time with fresh Pacific Northwest air. That air is some of the cleanest around, too. Washington ranks in the top ten for lowest air pollution. The only thing Washington is missing is an abundance of sun.


Aside from being simply drop-dead gorgeous, Vermont is one of the safest states to live in, so if safety is a family value, then Vermont is worth checking out. With an extremely low crime rate, you can send the kids outside to play without much worry. Just make sure you stock up on winter coats, hats, and jackets because the climate here gets chilly.


Massachusetts is the gem of New England and a prime spot to raise children in, especially if a good education is something that you value. Most parents put good community schools and educational opportunities at the top of their needs and wants lists. When it comes to public schools, Massachusetts ranks number one; it also lands the top stop for the highest ACT scores in the country. Ninety percent of the citizens in Massachusetts have a high school diploma, and roughly 40% of Beantowners have a college degree.


Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and it's also a great place to raise children if a quality health care system is a top priority. Parents want to ensure that should their families fall ill, healthcare will be handled. Hawaii's population is almost completely insured, with only 6% of its people being uninsured. Beautiful scenery, majestic weather, and great health care are all draws to the state, but high costs of living and isolation are things for families to consider.

Stand up paddleboarding family


Many people are moving to Minnesota to start family life. Minnesota is cold, but stunning, with nature and lakes tucked away in just about every corner of the state. Another reason that Minnesota is appealing to parents is its high median income. For those needing to provide for children, it has the highest median family income, at $85,000 per year.

New Hampshire

Several states in the New England area make the grade when it comes to best places to raise families, so it is no surprise that New Hampshire also found its way onto the list. Parents are going to have enough of an uphill battle over the next 18 years, the last thing they want to worry about is poverty levels. New Hampshire has the lowest rate of families living below the poverty line at only 3.4%.

North Dakota

Families looking to live in a state with affordable housing and a high median income should start their search in North Dakota. Aside from affordability, North Dakota has a low poverty rate, falling several points below the national average.


There are few places in the United States that beat out Utah in regard to beauty and rugged wonder. Perhaps that is why the residents here spend so much time outdoors, exploring, adventuring, and generally enjoying nature. Families who value the outdoors will not only fall in love with Utah's scenery and endless activities but will also appreciate the safety factor here. It's one of the safest states to live.

New Jersey

Love the hustle and bustle of high city life? Want to bring your family into the center of everything, but then take the bridge back to greener pastures by the day's end? New Jersey is a prime state for families who want the best of both worlds. The Garden State is also one of the top states to score affordable childcare, something that working families can very much appreciate.


Oregon has the best infrastructure in the country, which many adults consider being crucial to their quality of life. Oregon also provides families with endless outdoor activities and tons of culture to boot. Recent years have seen a dip in Oregon's growth rate, but that doesn't mean that people aren't still wanting to move their families here. Drawbacks to life in the Pacific Northwest include a subpar education system and high housing costs.

mother carrying daughter on beach

New York

Families sometimes don't consider living in fast-paced New York, but perhaps they should. New York is a huge state, with plenty of living opportunities away from the bright lights of The Big Apple. No way will any mom or dad ever wake up on a Saturday morning in New York and say to themselves, "Well, there is nothing to do today."

Your Choice Can Always Change

Isn't it wonderful how fluid life is? Even if you believe that one state is perfect for you, you might change your mind down the road, and that is okay! The beautiful thing about life is that you can pave your own path and follow where your heart leads you. If one place suddenly stops working for you, look for a new place to raise your family!

12 Best States to Raise a Family, Based on Key Factors