Utah ranks 1st among the best states to raise a family because of college prices—here are the other 9
All parents want the best for their children, but some may have a slight advantage when it comes to actually providing it because of the place they call home.
A new study conducted by MoneyRates.com found stark difference between the conditions each state provides for raising children when it comes to factors such as children's safety and happiness as well as education quality.
States were also evaluated based on their affordability, in terms of both general cost-of-living expenses and college prices, and access to kid-friendly amenities, such as libraries.
Below are the 10 states that rose to the top when all those factors were weighed and provide the best all-around environment for nurturing growing children and enabling them to reach their full potential:
10. South Dakota
The home of the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore also makes a good home for kids. South Dakota ranks second-best for healthy children and offers strong academic achievement, outperforming most other states when it comes standardized reading and science tests. It also boasts relatively affordable college tuition costs, beating out more than half of the other states on this metric.
America's Dairyland is a great place for starting a family. Though it didn't come in the top spot for any one factor, such as amenities or health, it performed well overall, and ranks eleventh best in the nation when it comes to children's performance on reading and science tests.
This midwestern state offers top access to checking accounts for youths and students and scored better than most states on education and affordability, ranking sixteenth in the nation on both counts.
Though it slipped from No. 3 on MoneyRates' list last year, Iowa still outperforms the majority of states thanks to its great childhood education scores and affordability. Its cost of living is 8.5 percent lower than the national average.
Midwest states continue to dominate as the best places to raise children. Minnesota ranks second-best, tied with South Dakota and Virginia, when it comes to the health of their kids and third-best in the nation when it comes to standardized reading and science scores. It did get dinged a bit on its affordability, though, as its cost of living was more than many other states on the list and it has pricier college tuition.
Losing ground from its spot as No. 2 on MoneyRates' list last year, Idaho remains ones of the 10 safest states for children and has one of the lowest college tuition rates in the nation. It fell a bit when it came to offering families lots of kid-friendly neighborhood amenities.
Virginia's ties with South Dakota and Minnesota for second-best in the nation when it comes to children's heath. It also placed in the top 10 for safety from violent crime, access to student checking accounts and childhood education. However, it lost some points because it is more expensive than most states, especially in regards to college tuition.
3. New Jersey
Despite being one of the most expensive states to live in and send your kid to college in, New Jersey takes the No. 3 spot because it ranks second in the nation for kid-friendly neighborhoods and fifth best when it comes to childhood education achievement.
Offering the cheapest public college tuition for in-state students helped propel Wyoming to the top. It also scored in the top five when it comes to general affordability and children's safety from violent crime.
One of Utah's greatest strengths, which helped it score top place, was its low-cost college tuition. The state ranked third nationally with an average annual in-state public tuition of $6,990. This was considerably cheaper than the average state's college tuition figure of $10,202, according to MoneyRates. Utah also scored in the top 10 nationally when it came to childhood education achievement, safety from violent crime, children's health and neighborhood amenities.
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