A new study looked at the best states to raise a family and for the second year in a row, NJ came in first!

Raising a family has become even more of a challenge during COVID-19 and parents need all the help they can get from their communities. For the analysis of the best states to raise kids MoneyRates looked at where parents received the most help from their home states and where the odds were stacked against them.

New Jersey came in first due to factors including academic performance, safety from violent crime, availability of daycare, child health and access to broadband.

The Best States to Raise a Family in 2021 study looked at nine factors to determine the ranking of all 50 states.

  1. Cost of living
  2. Academic performance
  3. Youth banking options
  4. College affordability
  5. Safety from violent crime
  6. Availability of daycare
  7. Children’s health
  8. Neighborhood amenities
  9. Broadband connectivity

Each state was broken down category, some of which including availability of daycare, which has taken on special significance due to the pandemic as students are on remote learning schedules while parents work. Broadband connectivity, another factor the study considered, has become hugely important as kids need to log on to classes and view and complete assignments.

Here are the top 5 states to raise a family:

1. New Jersey – For the second consecutive year, the Garden State is first overall. It ranks in the top ten for six of nine categories: academic performance, access to youth checking accounts, safety from violent crime, availability of daycare, child health and access to broadband.

2. (tie) Massachusetts  This state is first for academic performance and is in the top ten for access to broadband, availability of daycare, neighborhood amenities and access to youth checking accounts.

2. (tie) Utah  Not only is Utah first in broadband access, but it also ranks in the top ten for academic performance, college affordability and neighborhood amenities.

4. Connecticut – The Constitution State ranks in the top ten for academic performance, access to youth checking, safety from violent crime and availability of daycare.

5. New Hampshire – This state is second-best in the nation for academic performance and safety from violent crime. It also made the top ten for availability of daycare and broadband connectivity. On the downside, it is the second-most expensive state for public college tuition.

Wyoming, Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio and New York also made it to the top ten on the list. While these states rank high in several categories, they do have a higher cost of living.

“The pandemic has made Americans rethink how they raise their kids,” says Richard Barrington, senior financial analyst for MoneyRates. “That may also lead them to reconsider how much help they get from their home state to raise their families. Many parents will likely pay more attention now to things like the quality of in the area and the accessibility of public parks.”

Barrington says that readers should not take the list as a recommendation on where to live (although we already live in the best place!). “Rather, the idea is to make people aware of how their state may be making it easier or harder for them to raise a family.”