The Best States to Raise a Child 


On 27 July 2020, CRC released its fifth annual ranking of the best states to raise a child. Here, you will find the:
  • press release of 27 July
  • state rankings
  • individual ranking, by state, of the ten factors used in the overall ranking
  • comparison of state rankings, 1995-1999
  • sources of the ten factors

 Children's Rights Council
Top Ten States to Raise a Child

 Press Release

 Embargoed until July 27, 2020 at 11:00 AM



   Washington, D.C.---Maine is the best state in which to raise a child, according to the most recent ranking compiled by the Children's Rights Council, a national child advocacy organization.

   Maine has advanced from 8th place in 1998's ranking. Maine  replaces Iowa, 1998's number one state. This is primarily due to an increase in the graduation rate, a decrease of the children in poverty rate, and a decrease in the teen birth rate in Maine.

   CRC's 1999 fifth annual report, ranking all fifty states and Washington, D.C., will be released at a press conference Tuesday, July 27th, in the Senate Dirksen Building, room 562,  at 11 AM.

   The 50 states and the District of Columbia were categorically  measured and then ranked in relation to each other based on ten different criteria. The ten criteria used in 1999 were  the following:

  • the percentage of children referred for investigation of alleged abuse and neglect,
  • the percentage of children not immunized by age two,
  • the high school dropout  rate, the child death rate,
  • the infant mortality rate,
  • the percentage of mothers not receiving prenatal care in the first trimester,
  • the percentage of juvenile arrests,
  • the  percentage of teen births, and
  • the percentage of divorces.

The average of all ten factors was calculated for each state,  and the states were ranked from lowest to highest percentage from 1 to 51. The CRC modified some of the criteria from  previous years to include statistics that are more directly related to children. The method of calculation was also modified to be more mathematically accurate.

   The top ten states in which to raise a child are: Maine (1),  Massachusetts (2), Connecticut (3), Vermont (4), New Hampshire (5), North Dakota (6), Maryland (7), Kansas (8), Wisconsin (9), and Iowa (10).

 Questions? Contact: Ellen, Stephanie, Maryellen 202 547 6227

1999 TOP TEN STATES TO RAISE A CHILD
1.
Maine
2.
Massachusetts
3.
Connecticut
4.
Vermont
5.
New Hampshire
6.
North Dakota
7.
Maryland
8.
Kansas
9.
Wisconsin
10.
Iowa
Ranking of States-1999 Report
1. Maine 27. South Dakota
2. Massachusetts 28. Georgia
3. Connecticut 29. Ohio
4. Vermont 30. Montana
5. New Hampshire 31. Alabama
6. North Dakota 32. West Virginia
7. Maryland 33. Illinois
8. Kansas 34. New York
9. Wisconsin 35. Kentucky
10. Iowa 36. Florida
11. Minnesota 37. Indiana
12 Rhode Island 38. Tennessee
13. Hawaii 39. South Carolina
14. Alaska 40. Oregon
15. Nebraska 41. Idaho
16. Pennsylvania 42. Mississippi
17. New Jersey 43. Arkansas
18. Washington 44. Nevada
19. North Carolina 45. Oklahoma
20. Delaware 46. California
21. Colorado 47. Arizona
22. Utah 48. Texas
23. Virginia 49. New Mexico
24. Missouri 50. Louisiana
25. Michigan 51. Washington D.C.
26. Wyoming    
State
Abuse/
Neglect
Unimmunized
at Age 2
Drop-out
Rate
Children
in
Poverty
Child
Death
Rate
Infant
Mortality
Rate
Alabama 0.0087 0.14 0.12 0.24 0.0003 0.0105
Alaska 0.0189 0.23 0.09 0.0411 0.0003 0.0072
Arizona 0.0172 0.26 0.16 0.26 0.0003 0.0076
Arkansas 0.0143 0.23 0.09 0.23 0.00033 0.0093
California 0.0147 0.24 0.1 0.26 0.00023 0.0059
Colorado 0.0048 0.26 0.1 0.11 0.00024 0.0066
Connecticut 0.0104 0.13 0.05 0.17 0.00024 0.0064
DC 0.022 0.24 0.11 0.4 0.00058 0.0149
Delaware 0.013 0.19 0.1 0.14 0.0002 0.0076
Florida 0.0125 0.21 0.12 0.24 0.00029 0.0075
Georgia 0.0104 0.19 0.13 0.19 0.00031 0.0092
Hawaii 0.0035 0.19 0.05 0.15 0.00021 0.0058
Idaho 0.0265 0.28 0.09 0.18 0.00029 0.0074
Illinois 0.0096 0.24 0.1 0.19 0.00026 0.0086
Indiana 0.008 0.26 0.06 0.13 0.00029 0.0087
Iowa 0.0115 0.24 0.05 0.13 0.00029 0.007
Kansas 0.003 0.18 0.06 0.15 0.00031 0.0083
Kentucky 0.0114 0.19 0.14 0.25 0.00027 0.0075
Louisiana 0.0106 0.23 0.12 0.32 0.00036 0.009
Maine 0.0081 0.13 0.07 0.14 0.00022 0.0044
Maryland 0.0095 0.18 0.07 0.15 0.00025 0.0085
Massachusetts 0.0104 0.13 0.07 0.16 0.0017 0.0005
Michigan 0.015 0.23 0.08 0.19 0.00026 0.0081
Minnesota 0.0056 0.19 0.07 0.14 0.0002 0.0059
Mississippi 0.0106 0.19 0.11 0.3 0.00041 0.0011
Missouri 0.0147 0.22 0.12 0.17 0.0003 0.00076
Montana 0.0245 0.25 0.07 0.19 0.0003 0.007
Nebraska 0.01 0.23 0.08 0.12 0.00028 0.0087
Nevada 0.0125 0.27 0.17 0.14 0.003 0.0062
New
Hampshire
0.0076 0.15 0.06 0.1 0.0018 0.05
New Jersey 0.0086 0.22 0.06 0.14 0.00022 0.0069
New Mexico 0.0086 0.23 0.13 0.3 0.00033 0.0062
New York 0.013 0.21 0.09 0.25 0.00023 0.007
North Carolina 0.0139 0.19 0.12 0.19 0.0003 0.0092
North Dakota 0.0107 0.17 0.05 0.13 0.00024 0.0053
Ohio 0.0111 0.25 0.09 0.19 0.00025 0.0077
Oklahoma 0.0152 0.28 0.1 0.23 0.0003 0.0085
Oregon 0.0084 0.27 0.12 0.17 0.00029 0.0056
Pennsylvania 0.0019 0.18 0.08 0.18 0.00021 0.0078
Rhode Island 0.0103 0.16 0.12 0.17 0.0016 0.0052
South Carolina 0.0103 0.2 0.11 0.24 0.00039 0.0084
South Dakota 0.0066 0.22 0.1 0.17 0.00036 0.0057
Tennessee 0.006 0.22 0.13 0.22 0.0003 0.0085
Texas 0.0082 0.25 0.13 0.25 O.00029 0.0063
Utah 0.013 0.29 0.08 0.1 0.00025 0.006
Vermont 0.004 0.14 0.07 0.13 0.0023 0.0071
Virginia 0.008 0.27 0.08 0.15 0.00023 0.0077
Washington 0.0067 0.2 0.09 0.15 0.00023 0.006
West Virginia 0.0146 0.18 0.09 0.25 0.00031 0.0074
Wisconsin 0.0083 0.2 0.04 0.13 0.00022 0.0073
Wyoming 0.013 0.26 0.08 0.14 0.00036 0.0064
Not
Receiving
Prenatal
Care
Total
Juvenile
Crime
Divorce
Rate
Teen
Birth
Rate
TOTAL
RANK
STATE
0.177 0.0044 0.0057 0.0692 0.07758 31 Alabama
0.191 0.0131 0.0048 0.0484 0.06448 14 Alaska
0.247 0.0164 0.0037 0.0739 0.10461 47 Arizona
0.243 0.0089 0.0054 0.0754 0.090663 43 Arkansas
0.182 0.0085 N/A 0.0626 0.097103 46 California
0.171 0.0145 N/A 0.0495 0.071664 21 Colorado
0.107 0.0112 0.00028 0.0374 0.052292 3 Connecticut
0.323 0.0069 0.0018 0.1021 0.122128 51 DC
0.174 0.015 0.0042 0.0569 0.07009 20 Delaware
0.161 0.01 0.0049 0.0589 0.082509 36 Florida
0.142 0.0102 0.0042 0.0682 0.075451 28 Georgia
0.166 0.0146 0.0036 0.0481 0.063181 13 Hawaii
0.214 0.019 0.0051 0.0472 0.086949 41 Idaho
0.175 0.0225 0.003 0.0571 0.080606 33 Illinois
0.213 0.0111 N/A 0.0561 0.083021 37 Indiana
0.125 0.0089 0.003 0.0378 0.0611349 10 Iowa
0.144 0.0036 0.0035 0.0496 0.060231 8 Kansas
0.142 0.0106 0.0052 0.0615 0.081847 35 Kentucky
0.187 0.0143 N/A 0.0667 0.10644 50 Louisiana
0.111 0.0104 0.0037 0.0314 0.050922 1 Maine
0.112 0.0113 0.0028 0.0461 0.059045 7 Maryland
0.111 0.0044 0.0023 0.0322 0.05225 2 Massachusetts
0.158 0.0066 0.0036 0.0465 0.073806 25 Michigan
0.158 0.0136 0.0028 0.0321 0.06182 11 Minnesota
0.2 0.0122 0.0042 0.0755 0.090401 42 Mississippi
0.14 0.012 0.0043 0.0537 0.073576 24 Missouri
0.174 0.0087 0.00358 0.0386 0.076668 30 Montana
0.161 0.00128 0.0035 0.0387 0.065346 15 Nebraska
0.239 0.0078 0.0075 0.0696 0.09256 44 Nevada
0.104 N/A 0.0054 0.0286 0.056378 5 New
Hampshire
0.186 0.0104 0.0028 0.0354 0.067032 17 New Jersey
0.298 0.0132 0.0043 0.0709 0.106153 49 New Mexico
0.194 0.0075 0.0023 0.0418 0.081583 34 New York
0.161 0.0078 0.0045 0.0064 0.07 19 North Carolina
0.152 0.0149 0.0029 0.0323 0.056834 6 North Dakota
0.149 0.0108 0.0037 0.0504 0.076295 29 Ohio
0.214 0.0097 0.0054 0.0634 0.09265 45 Oklahoma
0.189 0.0128* 0.0042* 0.0508 0.0831* 38* Oregon
0.162 0.0085 0.003 0.0393 0.066271 16 Pennsylvania
0.105 0.0089 0.0029 0.0425 0.06264 12 Rhode Island
0.192 0.008 0.0035 0.0629 0.083549 40* South Carolina
0.179 0.0244 0.0069 0.0395 0.075246 27 South Dakota
0.163 0.0128 0.0058 0.0661 0.08325 39* Tennessee
0.215 0.0118 N/A 0.0735 0.10501 48 Texas
0.162 0.0202 0.0038 0.0428 0.071805 22 Utah
0.119 N/A 0.004 0.0301 0.056278 4 Vermont
0.149 0.0088 0.0039 0.0455 0.072313 23 Virginia
0.166 0.0139 0.0046 0.045 0.068243 18 Washington
0.18 0.0043 0.0045 0.0503 0.078141 32 West Virginia
0.154 0.0286 0.003 0.0366 0.060802 9 Wisconsin
0.174 0.0184 0.0054 0.044 0.0741561 26 Wyoming
*Correction made July 29, 2020

Sources for 1999 report The Best States to Raise a Child

1. Abuse/Neglect-

Source: ACF Press Room-US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families
Figure: Number of Children Referred for Investigation of Alleged Abuse and Neglect 1997
Calculation: (number of children subject of a report referred for investigation) divided by population of the state

2. Not Immunized at Age 2-

Source: 1999 Kids Count Data Book, The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Figure: Percent of 2-year-olds who were immunized: 1997
Calculation: 100 minus (percent of 2-year-olds who were immunized). Converted to decimal form

3. High School Drop-Out Rate-

Source: 1999 Kids Count Data Book, The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Figure: Percent of Teens who are high school dropouts (ages 16-19): 1996
Calculation: Percent of Teens who are high school dropouts. Converted to decimal form

4. Children in Poverty-

Source: 1999 Kids Count Data Book, The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Figure: Percent of children in poverty: 1996
Calculation: Percent of children who live in poverty. Converted to decimal form

5. Child Death Rate-

Source: 1999 Kids Count Data Book, The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Figure: Child death rate (deaths per 100,000 children ages 1-14): 1996
Calculation: (child death rate) divided by 100,000

6. Infant Mortality-

Source: 1999 Kids Count Data Book, The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Figure: Infant mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births): 1996
Calculation: (Infant mortality rate) divided by 1,000

7. Mothers Not Receiving Prenatal Care-

Source: National Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 47 No. 4 October 7,1998: Table 9
Figure: Percent of mothers receiving prenatal care in the first trimester of pregnancy, all races: 1997
Calculation: 100 minus (percent of mothers receiving prenatal care). Converted to decimal form

8. Juvenile Arrests

All states except Kansas, Florida, and Washington D. C:

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation. Uniform Crime Reports for the United States: 1997. Section IV-Persons arrested. Table 69
Figure: Total Arrests all classes, under 18.
Calculation: (total arrests all classes, under 18) divided by population of state

Kansas:

Source: Kansas Bureau of Investigation. 1997 Arrests by Age Group Press Release.
Figure: Total Arrests, Total Juvenile
Calculation: (total arrests, total juvenile) divided by population of state

Florida:

Source: Florida Department of Law Enforcement. 1997 Juvenile Arrests for Florida.
Figure: Juvenile arrests for Florida, total offense
Calculation: (total offense) divided by population of state.

Washington D. C.:

Source: Metropolitan Police Department, Tactical Crime Analysis Unit. Juvenile Arrests Statistics: 1997
Figure: Juvenile arrests, total, all classes
Calculation: (Juvenile arrests, total, all classes) divided by population of district

9. Birth Rate-

Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention. National Vital Statistics Report. Vol. 47 No. 12 December 17, 2020
Figure: Birth rates for teenagers aged 15-19 years, by age group and state, all classes: 1996 (rate per 1,000 births)
Calculation: (Birth rate for teenagers aged 15-19 years, ; all classes) divided by 1,000

10. Divorce Rate-

Source: National Center for Disease Control. Division of Vital Statistics. Report 47M17. Table 3.
Figure: Divorces (January-November): 1998
Calculation: (Divotees for January-November 1998) divided by population of state

Comparison of State Ranks 1995-1999
STATE
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
Alabama 31 41 48 46 40
Alaska 14 28 20 20 11
Arizona 47 49 42 39 38
Arkansas 43 39 38 41 37
California 46 32 32 36 32
Colorado 21 24 23 15 31
Connecticut 3 17 13 17 8
Delaware 20 38 40 25 26
District of Columbia 51 51 51 48 39
Florida 36 45 45 47 43
Georgia 28 42 44 44 42
Hawaii 13 11 14 10 17
Idaho 41 23 16 13 17
Illinois 33 36 33 31 30
Indiana 37 19 27 30 28
Iowa 10 1 5 4 3
Kansas 8 14 21 21 19
Kentucky 35 34 29 38 24
Louisiana 50 47 49 49 45
Maine 1 8 12 6 7
Maryland 7 26 31 28 23
Massachusetts 2 5 10 11 15
Michigan 25 30 34 27 27
Minnesota 11 2 3 7 6
Mississippi 42 48 50 50 44
Missouri 24 31 28 35 29
Montana 30 27 22 12 13
Nebraska 15 4 8 4 3
Nevada 44 44 37 32 33
New Hampshire 5 3 4 8 2
New Jersey 17 15 9 16 9
New Mexico 49 50 47 45 36
New York 34 37 35 42 31
North Carolina 19 40 43 36 35
North Dakota 6 6 1 3 1
Ohio 29 20 30 29 25
Oklahoma 45 35 39 34 34
Oregon 40 29 25 23 22
Pennsylvania 16 11 15 21 12
Rhode Island 12 18 24 14 16
South Carolina 39 42 46 40 43
South Dakota 27 7 11 18 16
Tennessee 38 46 41 43 41
Texas 48 33 36 33 29
Utah 22 9 6 1 14
Vermont 4 10 2 2 4
Virginia 23 16 19 23 20
Washington 18 21 18 19 18
West Virginia 32 25 26 26 19
Wisconsin 9 13 7 5 5
Wyoming 26 22 17 9 10

 

View the data from 1998 Ten Best States Here