The Best States to Raise a Child 
On 28 July 2020, CRC released its fourth annual ranking of the best states to raise a child. Here, you will find the:

Press Release

Washington, D.C. — Iowa is the best state to raise a child, according to the most recently published data analyzed by the Children’s Rights Council, a national child advocacy organization.

Iowa has moved from its rank as 5th in the 1997 report due to reductions in the following: number of children in poverty, single parents, and teen pregnancies.  In 1998, Iowa replaces North Dakota, CRC’s 1997 number one state, which now ranks 6th.

CRC’s 1998 4th annual report on how the fifty states and D.C. rank in the raising of children will be released at a press conference Tuesday, July 28th, in the Russell Senate Office Building, room 385, at 11:00 am.  Honored speakers will include Congressman Ganske (IA), Congressman Oberstar (MN), Congressman Sabo (MN), and Congressman Gutknecht (MN).

The 50 states and District of Columbia were categorically measured and then ranked in relation to one another based on 11 different criteria.  These criteria are the highest public school graduation rate, and the lowest of the following: infant mortality rate, child death rate, children in poverty, teenage pregnancy rate, unwed births, divorce rate, single parent households, crime rate, drug induced deaths, and alcohol induced deaths.  "We feel these are the best indicators of how well a state provides a child-friendly environment," said David L. Levy, President of CRC.

"The Best States to Raise a Child" are

  1. Iowa
  2. Minnesota
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Nebraska
  5. Massachusetts
  6. North Dakota
  7. South Dakota
  8. Maine
  9. Utah
  10. Vermont
A complete ranking of all of the states can be obtained through the Children’s Rights Council.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Sherida Colvin, Melanie Woodrow, Lisa Everett, Aaron Washburn, Melissa Gillombardo, or Denise Knipp at (202) 547-6227.

State rankings

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

Factors

State Lowest Infant Mortality Rate Lowest Child Death Rate Lowest Number of Children in Poverty Lowest Teenage Pregnancy Rate Lowest Number of Unwed Births Lowest Divorce Rate Lowest Number of Single Parents Highest Graduation Rate Lowest Crime Rate Lowest Number of Drug Induced Deaths Lowest Number of Alcohol Induced Deaths
Alabama (AL) 48 46 35 43 37 43 43 43 16 5 25
Alaska (AK) 15 49 4 25 25 31 10 32 29 30 50
Arizona (AZ) 45 35 48 48 46 46 31 44 38 46 42
Arkansas (AR) 27 47 38 46 40 45 24 12 46 19 19
California (CA) 11 13 43 41 28 20 31 36 14 47 44
Colorado (CO) 34 9 8 27 6 33 5 23 28 41 7
Connecticut (CT) 20 2 37 11 25 2 31 22 42 36 43
Delaware (DE) 32 19 15 32 42 33 44 38 39 44 23
District of Columbia (DC) 51 51 51 51 51 8 51 50 51 16 51
Florida (FL) 21 31 36 35 43 40 44 45 41 28 37
Georgia (GA) 41 39 34 44 41 37 37 47 21 21 35
Hawaii (HI) 5 5 24 21 22 25 5 11 20 37 1
Idaho (ID) 35 42 25 23 2 41 2 13 35 32 10
Illinois (IL) 35 31 29 34 38 6 37 19 50 34 22
Indiana (IN) 21 39 1 33 31 50 10 28 12 7 3
Iowa (IA) 5 13 7 10 9 12 8 5 5 9 6
Kansas (KS) 27 21 12 28 11 17 18 18 11 11 9
Kentucky (KY) 38 28 41 36 21 42 10 34 40 20 21
Louisiana (LA) 45 43 49 42 49 20 49 51 34 27 13
Maine (ME) 1 9 21 5 17 22 18 31 8 6 34
Maryland (MD) 42 21 22 20 35 3 24 25 26 49 12
Massachusetts (MA) 3 1 16 6 8 1 31 14 1 45 8
Michigan (MI) 38 21 26 24 39 17 40 29 10 31 32
Minnesota (MN) 17 5 11 3 4 8 18 3 17 8 15
Mississippi (MS) 50 50 47 50 50 27 49 49 45 10 16
Missouri (MO) 43 28 6 31 34 31 24 27 48 18 26
Montana (MT) 32 41 46 14 15 27 10 6 18 33 40
Nebraska (NE) 37 5 19 7 5 14 4 21 13 3 5
Nevada (NV) 8 35 5 45 48 51 31 35 44 50 47
New Hampshire (NH) 4 4 2 2 3 17 10 37 6 4 28
New Jersey (NJ) 21 13 14 9 16 4 10 4 15 48 30
New Mexico (NM) 18 37 50 47 47 47 44 42 47 51 49
New York (NY) 15 19 42 17 45 4 48 40 32 40 38
North Carolina (NC) 48 28 30 37 29 33 37 41 36 15 41
North Dakota (ND) 18 47 10 4 7 8 2 2 19 1 31
Ohio (OH) 27 21 30 30 32 22 31 20 24 14 2
Oklahoma (OK) 45 45 44 37 24 47 24 26 9 12 20
Oregon (OR) 14 21 33 26 20 27 24 33 23 43 39
Pennsylvania (PA) 27 9 20 13 30 6 10 15 3 39 4
Rhode Island (RI) 13 2 18 16 32 12 40 30 7 42 18
South Carolina (SC) 40 43 32 39 44 15 44 46 25 24 45
South Dakota (SD) 10 5 13 12 19 15 5 1 31 2 46
Tennessee (TN) 43 37 39 40 35 44 40 39 43 25 33
Texas (TX) 12 26 40 49 23 38 18 48 30 29 17
Utah (UT) 8 31 3 15 1 25 1 7 33 35 14
Vermont (VT) 27 9 26 1 10 27 10 8 2 26 29
Virginia (VA) 21 13 26 22 18 22 24 17 27 23 11
Washington (WA) 5 13 23 19 13 39 24 24 22 38 36
West Virginia (WV) 26 31 45 29 27 33 18 16 4 13 27
Wisconsin (WI) 21 13 8 8 14 8 8 9 49 17 24
Wyoming (WY) 2 26 17 18 12 47 18 10 37 22 48

Comparison of State Ranks, 1995-1998

State 1998 1997 1996 1995
Alabama (AL) 41 48 46 40
Alaska (AK) 28 20 20 11
Arizona (AZ) 49 42 39 38
Arkansas (AR) 39 38 41 37
California (CA) 32 32 36 32
Colorado (CO) 24 23 15 31
Connecticut (CT) 17 13 17 8
Delaware (DE) 38 40 25 26
District of Columbia (DC) 51 51 48 39
Florida (FL) 45 45 47 43
Georgia (GA) 42 44 44 42
Hawaii (HI) 11 14 10 17
Idaho (ID) 23 16 13 17
Illinois (IL) 36 33 31 30
Indiana (IN) 19 27 30 28
Iowa (IA) 1 5 4 3
Kansas (KS) 14 21 21 19
Kentucky (KY) 34 29 38 24
Louisiana (LA) 47 49 49 45
Maine (ME) 8 12 6 7
Maryland (MD) 26 31 28 23
Massachusetts (MA) 5 10 11 15
Michigan (MI) 30 34 27 27
Minnesota (MN) 2 3 7 6
Mississippi (MS) 48 50 50 44
Missouri (MO) 31 28 35 29
Montana (MT) 27 22 12 13
Nebraska (NE) 4 8 4 3
Nevada (NV) 44 37 32 33
New Hampshire (NH) 3 4 8 2
New Jersey (NJ) 15 9 16 9
New Mexico (NM) 50 47 45 36
New York (NY) 37 35 42 31
North Carolina (NC) 40 43 36 35
North Dakota (ND) 6 1 3 1
Ohio (OH) 20 30 29 25
Oklahoma (OK) 35 39 34 34
Oregon (OR) 29 25 23 22
Pennsylvania (PA) 11 15 21 12
Rhode Island (RI) 18 24 14 16
South Carolina (SC) 42 46 40 43
South Dakota (SD) 7 11 18 16
Tennessee (TN) 46 41 43 41
Texas (TX) 33 36 33 29
Utah (UT) 9 6 1 14
Vermont (VT) 10 2 2 4
Virginia (VA) 16 19 23 20
Washington (WA) 21 18 19 18
West Virginia (WV) 25 26 26 19
Wisconsin (WI) 13 7 5 5
Wyoming (WY) 22 17 9 10

Sources

Lowest Infant Mortality Rate Lowest Child Death Rate Lowest Number of Children in Poverty Lowest Teenage Pregnancy Rate Lowest Unwed Birth Rate Lowest Divorce Rate Lowest Percent of Families Headed by a Single Parent Highest Public High School Graduation Rate Lowest Crime Rate Lowest Number of Drug Induced Deaths Lowest Number of Alcohol Induced Deaths
last updated 29 July 2020