Thinking about starting a family? These are the states you should do it in.
If you're planning to start a family, there is no shortage of questions you need to consider before picking the right spot to raise children. Are there other kids around for them to spend time with? Are child health services up to par? How do the state's education programs stand up against other regions?
If you feel overwhelmed by those questions, don't worry. The personal finance website WalletHub recently crunched the numbers to figure out exactly which states are the best for families with young kids. They ranked each state on five criteria: family fun; health and safety; education and childcare; affordability; and socio-economics. Taking these scores together WalletHub then gave each state an overall score.
The best state to raise a family in? That title goes to Minnesota. Massachusetts, North Dakota, Vermont and New Hampshire rounding out the top five. So the Midwest and New England are ideal places for raising children.
Coming out dead last (i.e. the place you should never raise kids) was New Mexico. The rest of the bottom states are all from the South: Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia and Alabama.
What about something more specific? Say you're looking for the state with the best education programs so you can raise a couple of little astrophysicists. In that case, you should head to North Dakota and do your damnedest to stay away from Nevada. But what about if you value fun over all else. Then in that case you want California (are you surprised?) and should never, ever go to West Virginia—apparently America's most boring state. And how about if you're money conscious (raising kids is expensive after all), then you should check out Rhode Island, the over-all most affordable state, or maybe Minnesota, which has the highest median family salary.
You can check out out your home state fares on the interactive map above.