GOBankingRates surveyed all 50 states and the District of Columbia to find the best – and worst – states for families to live a “richer life,” defined as high income, job security, safe neighborhoods, affordable childcare and good education.
The company looked at a variety of factors, including:
- Jobs and income: Median household income and the state unemployment rate
- Housing: The survey considered both the median home listing price and the effective state property tax
- Lifestyle: The survey considered state sales tax, annual childcare costs, the cost of groceries and the quality of school districts
- Healthcare: Average family health insurance premium and average percentage of employer contribution
- Safety: The survey considered both violent crime rates and property crime rates.
By these criteria, GOBankRate determined the top 10 states in which to live a richer life:
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
According to the survey criteria, the worst states were:
- District of Columbia
- Rhode Island
- New Mexico
According to GOBankRate, the District of Columbia ranks lowest on the list in large part due to its childcare costs; at $40,472 per year, D.C. childcare costs come in at more than twice the national average. D.C. also has the nation’s highest rate of violent and property crimes, according to the survey.
Number-one finisher New Hampshire, meanwhile, gets a big boost because of its 0% state sales tax.
“There really is no ‘one size fits all’ formula for those trying to decide the best place to raise their families today,” said Kristen Bonner, lead researcher on the study. “Our study examined some of the main concerns families have during this process and found that it is possible to live in states where the cost of living won’t drain your bank account and your children can still attend good schools in a safe environment.”
Are you in one of the best states for living a full life? Granted, that can be hard to define – but a new survey from GOBankingRates is trying.