Here Are the Best (and Worst) States for Families to Live a Richer Life

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Is there a place in America where families can have it all– high income, job security, safe neighborhoods, affordable child care, job and a good education? To help make that answer more clear, GOBankingRates surveyed all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia on 12 different factors to find the places families can get the most out of life.

The factors span the following:

  • Jobs and income: median household income and state unemployment rate
  • Housing: median home listing price and effective state property tax
  • Lifestyle: state sales tax, annual child care costs, cost of groceries and school district grades
  • Healthcare: average family health insurance premium and percentage of employer contribution to employee health insurance
  • Safety: violent crime rates and property crime rates


The District of Columbia ranks the lowest on the list due in part to child care costs coming in at $40,473 a year, over twice the nation’s average.

Although Mississippi (ranked 37th) has the lowest median income and a relatively high unemployment rate of 5.9 percent, the state has the lowest child care costs in the country.

Vermont (ranked 16th) has the nation’s lowest rates of violent and property crimes. However, its east coast neighbor, District of Columbia, has the country’s highest rates of similar crimes.

Ohio (ranked 24th) and Indiana (ranked 28th) are tied for the lowest median home price—$140,000.

While Oregon (ranked 30th), Montana (ranked 4th), Alaska (ranked 36th), Delaware (ranked 3rd) and New Hampshire (ranked 1st) all boast 0 percent statewide sales tax, California (ranked 50th) residents are stuck paying a state-level sales tax rate of 7.5 percent.

While Maryland’s median household income is the highest on our list at $74,149—over $20k more than the country’s average — the state’s crime rate, health insurance premium and median home list price are all higher than average, pushing it down to number 25 on our list.

“There really is no ‘one size fits all’ formula for those trying to decide the best place to raise their families today,” says Kristen Bonner, lead researcher on the GOBankingRates 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.”

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