LOS ANGELES, Aug. 15, 2016 -- Is there a place in America where families can have it all–a decent income, job security, safe neighborhoods, affordable child care and a good education, assuming, of course, the bread winners are capable enough to hold down a good job and absorb 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.
- 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–at 51st–due in part to child-care costs coming in at $40,473 a year, more than twice the nation's average. D.C. also has one of the country's highest rates of violent and property crime. Housing and food are among the most expensive in the nation.
Although Mississippi (ranked 37th) has the lowest median income and a relatively high unemployment rate of 5.9%, 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.
While Oregon (ranked 30th), Montana (ranked 4th), Alaska (ranked 36th), Delaware (ranked 3rd) and New Hampshire (ranked 1st) all boast 0% statewide sales tax, California (ranked 50th) residents are stuck paying a state-level sales tax rate of 7.5%.
While Maryland's median household income is the highest on the list at $74,149 — more than $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 the list.
"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 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."
For the full list and further explanation, click here and then click on the words View All at the bottom of the copy.