Geography is a major factor to consider if you’re thinking about raising a family. Economic factors such as the cost of living may seem like general or abstract concepts when you’re deciding about whether to have children. But there is a very real difference between raising a family in California, in which living costs are almost 40 percent higher than the U.S. overall, and raising one in Michigan, which is around 10 percent cheaper.
In a recent study, GOBankingRates evaluated all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia in order to determine which offered the best conditions for raising a family. The study analyzed each state’s average annual expenditures and the median income for families, taxes, crime rates, high school graduation rates, ACT scores and more to find the best and worst states to raise a family.
Why You Should Raise Your Family in New Hampshire
New Hampshire ranked No. 1 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia as the best state to raise a family. New Hampshire scored the best in more than one category — such as ACT scores and taxes. And categories where it didn’t rank the best, it still put up solid scores that enabled the state to finish in first place.
New Hampshire has seen a healthy rise in family incomes. From 2012 to 2017, the median family income grew by 14.5 percent, from $79,488 to $91,029. Additionally, New Hampshire’s median family income has kept well ahead of the U.S. level: $79,488 vs. $62,527 nationally in 2012, and $91,029 vs. $73,891 nationally in 2017.
New Hampshire also offers comparatively affordable homes. The current U.S. median home list price, according to Zillow’s Feb. 2019 index, is $279,000. New Hampshire’s price is $299,000, which is only $20,000 higher. Compare that to other states in the Northeast and their home prices:
- Massachusetts: $439,900 ($160,900 higher than U.S. median)
- Connecticut: $314,900 ($35,900 higher than U.S. median)
- Rhode Island: $299,900 ($20,900 higher than U.S. median)
- Vermont: $275,000 ($4,000 less than U.S. median)
Although Vermont might have cheaper homes, New Hampshire beats it in several other ways. Cost of living in New Hampshire, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center’s cost of living index, is lower than in Vermont. At the same time, family incomes have grown faster in New Hampshire than in Vermont. And perhaps most directly related to families’ wallets: New Hampshire has no state sales tax, and no income tax on wages, just interest and dividends.
New Hampshire also scored well in categories that are very important to parents and their children: education and safety. New Hampshire boasts the lower property crime rate in the study, as well as a better-than-average violent crime rate. Meanwhile, New Hampshire demonstrates strong standardized test scores, with their composite ACT score being the best in the country.
What Are Some of the Best Cities in New Hampshire to Raise a Family?
There are many winners to choose from in New Hampshire. One easy way to evaluate your choices is by safety. According to the website NeighborhoodScout, the 10 safest cities in New Hampshire include cities such as Greenfield, Mason, Walpole and Chichester.
What’s great about these cities are their homes prices, which are close to the U.S. overall average. According to Zillow, the current median home value in the U.S. is $226,300. The median home values in Greenfield, Mason, Walpole and Chichester are all fairly comparable at $238,700, $294,700, $232,500 and $268,600, respectively.
Another way to approach choosing a city is by the quality of schools. According to U.S. News, New Hampshire is home to 20 schools that ranked among the best high schools in their national rankings. The top five in New Hampshire — Academy for Science and Design, Hopkinton High School, Windham High School, Moultonborough Academy and Hollis-Brookline High School — are located in Nashua, Contoocook, Windham, Moultonborough and Hollis, respectively.
Keep reading to find out the best and worst states for families to live a richer life.
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