Your family is a central part of your life. Finding a place where raising children is easier, where they feel at home, and where they will be safe and successful, is incredibly important. Many factors play into this decision, including your income, housing costs, and the crime rates in the areas you are looking into.
Below is a list of all 50 states and statistics for each, but before you get to that, make sure you know which metrics are most important to you. The cost of living in each state will vary, but so will the median family income. Child care costs are also key as you are looking at the best state for you and your family. In addition to these, you will want to find a place where your children will succeed in their education.
Generally, housing and child care costs are lowest in the Midwest and in Southern states, but these states also often have higher crime rates per thousand. High school graduation rates often fluctuate, and there doesn’t seem to be too much correlation between the region of the country and the graduation rate.
Here is a brief ranking of my top 5 states to live in.
Lowest crime rate: New Hampshire (14.22/1000). Crime rate is a huge factor in deciding on a place to live. New Hampshire is a beautiful state located on the east coast of the United States. With it’s high median family income and relatively low-cost housing (for the region), New Hampshire is a great place to raise a family. Additionally, they have a high school graduation rate of almost 90%. Child care is expensive, but high-quality. All in all, New Hampshire should definitely be on your list of possible places to live. The top industries in New Hampshire are electronics manufacturing, telecommunications, and software manufacturing.
Highest median family salary: Maryland ($80,776) Another east coast state! Maryland’s high median household income is probably due in part to its above-average cost of living. Still, it’s a nice state. The crime rate is much higher than New Hampshire’s, but high school graduation rates are still high, and the median home cost isn’t too terrible. Maryland’s top industries include, among others, Information technologies, bio-health and life sciences, and military and federal jobs.
Best housing affordability: West Virginia ($108,236) Besides making a fantastic John Denver song, West Virginia is also a great place to buy a house. On Zillow, you can find houses for under 50,000 dollars (although they are generally fixer-uppers). This kind of affordability is incredible! The crime rate is also impressively low. The graduation rate is around 90%, and child care costs are pretty affordable. The downside of West Virginia is that it might not be the best place to make huge amounts of money, since it has a relatively low median family income. West Virginia’s top industry is coal mining--they actually lead the nation in coal production.
Lowest average child care cost: Mississippi ($4,822 per year) If you are a working parent, child care costs for your kids can take a huge bite out of your paycheck. Mississippi is a great place to live in terms of childcare costs. In fact, the general cost of living in this state is pretty low. Housing is also very affordable, and this makes the median family income stretch much further than it could in many other states. The high school graduation rate is competitive as well. The biggest deterrent to living in Mississippi is probably the crime rate, which is higher than many other states. With the proper security measures, though, you should be just fine. Mississippi’s top industries are agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism.
Highest high school graduation rate: Iowa (91%) As a Midwest native, I was glad to see that the state of Iowa made this list (even if my native Nebraska didn’t). While 91% is not significantly higher than many other states’ graduation rates, Iowa is a beautiful place. With its relatively low crime rate, competitive median family income, and low median home cost, Iowa is a great place to raise your family. Childcare costs are a little more expensive, but not exorbitant, at around 10,000 dollars a year. Iowa’s main industries are social services, manufacturing, and retail. Now that you’ve seen my recommendations, please read on to learn more about America’s other 45 great states!
*Note: in the list below, most of the costs listed are annual costs, excluding the cost of home.
It’s important to feel safe no matter where you’re living. Unfortunately, none of these states have a zero percent crime rate. Cove can help ease your peace of mind by providing you with affordable, DIY security options. Click here to learn more about our full-life home security systems. Especially in places with higher crime rates, it’s important to protect yourself with a security system.