The Best State to Raise Kids in Is …

Parents looking to give their kids a great childhood might consider heading to New England! Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire are among the best places for families, according to the 25th edition of KIDS COUNT Date Book, producted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The foundation ranks states on their suitability for raising kids, based on four factors: economic well-being, education, health, and family/community.

Minnesota and Iowa rounded out the top five places for raising kids. Coming in at the bottom of the list: Arizona, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Mississippi.

The rankings look at educational indicators, including preschool attendance, reading proficiency by grade four, math skills by grade eight, and high school graduation percentages. Economics factor in as well; the foundation considers the number of children living in poverty, those whose parents lack secure employment, and families with high housing-cost burdens. Access to good health care and highly-rated facilities are also part of the overall ranking equation.

The report shares statistics in each individual category, giving insight into regional highlights. North and South Dakota, with robust job growth and security from energy production, lead in the economic prosperity category. Superior marks for educational opportunity go to Massachusetts and New Jersey. Massachusetts makes the list again for excellent health care, and is joined by Iowa. The leaders in family/community benefits are New Hampshire and Utah.