Best and worst states to raise a family: See where California ranked

Many challenges come with raising a family, as many Americans continue to feel the impact of inflation. 

SUGGESTED: Raising kids in the United States getting pricier, new report shows

A study by WalletHub looked at a variety of family-friendly factors, including the cost of childcare, crime, the percentage of families living in poverty, the infant mortality rate, and housing affordability when it comes to ranking the best and worst states to raise a family. 

With housing affordability as a key factor, it’s no surprise California didn’t rank as the best state, or even in the top 20. However, it wasn’t all bad news, and California fell in the middle of the pack.

SUGGESTED: Housing affordability plummeted to lowest level on record in 2023

Family in Manhattan Beach (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Here are some key factors the study found for California compared to other states:

  • 13th – Percentage of families with young children
  • 41st – Childcare costs (adjusted for median family income)
  • 7th – Infant mortality rate
  • 45th – Median annual income (adjusted for cost of living)
  • 45th – Violent crimes per capita
  • 31st – Percentage of families in poverty
  • 50th – Housing affordability
  • 48th – Unemployment rate
  • 10th – Separation and divorce rate

Overall, California ranked as the 27th best state to raise a family. 

A WalletHub study from 2022 looked at the best California cities to raise a family, with Fremont, Irvine, San Jose and San Diego ranking in the top 10. 


(Getty Images)

If you’re curious about which states ranked in the top 10, see the list below:

1. Massachusetts

2. North Dakota

3. Minnesota

4. Nebraska

5. New York

6. Maine

7. New Hampshire

8. South Dakota

9. Rhode Island

10. Vermont

Also, ranking in the bottom 5 were:

46. Arkansas

47. Alabama

48. West Virginia

49. Mississippi

50. New Mexico

Click or tap here to see the full report.