Best and worst states for families to live a richer life

If you want to live a richer life, you don’t necessarily have to work all hours to buy the best for your family. In fact, you might be wealthier than you think if you live in a state that offers a good quality of life at a good price.

To help you identify whether you’re in one of the best places to live for families, GOBankingRates evaluated all 50 states. The study pinpointed which ones are the best and worst by analyzing 12 factors grouped into the following five categories:

  • Jobs and income: Median household income and state unemployment rate
  • Housing: Median home listing price and state property tax rate
  • Lifestyle: Combined state and average local sales tax rate, annual child care costs, cost of groceries and school district grades
  • Healthcare: Average family health insurance premium and percentage of employer contribution to employee health insurance
  • Safety: Annual violent crime rates and property crime rates

Income and home price received double the weight of other factors because they play a more important role in people’s ability to have a good quality of life.

Click through to see if your state is one of the best to live a richer life.

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Best and worst states for families to live a richer life
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Best and worst states for families to live a richer life

50. Alaska

  • Median household income: $74,444
  • Median home list price: $278,000
  • Child care costs: $22,464
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $22,490
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 8.04

It’s hard to live a richer life when you can’t get a job. Alaska has the highest unemployment rate of all 50 states at 7.3 percent. It also has the highest average health insurance premiums and the most violent crimes per 1,000 people in the U.S. — both of which make it less than ideal for families. On the plus side, you’ll get to keep all your earnings: It’s one of the seven states with no income tax.

49. New Mexico

  • Median household income: $45,674
  • Median home list price: $219,000
  • Child care costs: $15,569
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $16,954
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 7.02

Several factors make New Mexico one of the worst places for families to live a richer life: It has a relatively low median household income and a high unemployment rate, one of the lowest-scoring school districts and the lowest safety score due to high property crime and violent crime rates. It’s also home to the poorest area code in the U.S., a separate GOBankingRates study found.

48. Nevada

  • Median household income: $53,094
  • Median home list price: $299,900
  • Child care costs: $19,103
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $16,133
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 6.78

good public education system is essential for families who want to live richly. But, unfortunately, Nevada has the lowest-scoring school districts in the country. It also has one of the highest rates of violent crimes.

47. Louisiana

  • Median household income: $45,652
  • Median home list price: $205,000
  • Child care costs: $11,265
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,330
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 5.66

When you’re shopping for a whole family, sales tax can really add up. So, living in Louisiana might not be the best financial choice. The state has a 10.02 percent combined state and average local sales tax rate, which is the highest in the U.S., according to the Tax Foundation.

46. Florida

  • Median household income: $48,900
  • Median home list price: $289,000
  • Child care costs: $15,922
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,989
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 4.3

In Florida, employers only cover 65 percent of health insurance costs, which is the lowest contribution rate of all the states. Because of this, Florida received the worst healthcare score in the study and is one of the worst states for health insurance.

45. Arizona

  • Median household income: $51,340
  • Median home list price: $275,000
  • Child care costs: $18,687
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,484
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 4.7

Arizona might not provide the best lifestyle for a family who wants to live richly. The state has a relatively high combined sales tax — 8.33 percent — and low-scoring school districts.

44. Texas

  • Median household income: $54,727
  • Median home list price: $273,990
  • Child care costs: $15,703
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,529
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 4.34

Although the median home list price in Texas falls in the middle compared to the other states, it has very high property taxes: 1.62 percent. This could make it difficult for a family to afford to buy and own a home.

43. California

  • Median household income: $63,783
  • Median home list price: $515,000
  • Child care costs: $22,716
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,458
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 4.45

It’s difficult to afford a home in California. But if you do have a house in California, it might pay to sell it, as it’s home to several of the best places to sell a home in America, a separate GOBankingRates study found.

42. Washington

  • Median household income: $62,848
  • Median home list price: $369,900
  • Child care costs: $24,176
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $18,301
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 3.02

With a 9.18 percent combined sales tax, paying for daily essentials for a family can get expensive in Washington. The Pacific Northwest state also has the second-highest rate of property crime in the U.S., which is obviously not ideal for families who want to feel safe in their homes.

41. Missouri

  • Median household income: $49,593
  • Median home list price: $170,000
  • Child care costs: $16,016
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $16,638
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 5.19

The employer contribution to healthcare costs in Missouri is the lowest of all the states: a measly 63.9 percent. The state also has one of the highest violent crime rates in the U.S.

40. South Carolina

  • Median household income: $46,898
  • Median home list price: $242,994.50
  • Child care costs: $12,393
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,673
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 5.02

It can be difficult to provide for a family in South Carolina, which has one of the lowest median household incomes of all the states. The unemployment rate is also slightly above the national average.

39. Georgia

  • Median household income: $51,037
  • Median home list price: $248,000
  • Child care costs: $14,395
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $18,252
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 3.98

High health insurance premiums make Georgia one of the worst states for families to live a richer life.

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38. Montana

  • Median household income: $48,380
  • Median home list price: $311,700
  • Child care costs: $17,090
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,835
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 3.68

Montana has a relatively low median household income compared to the other states. But on the plus side, it’s one of five states with no sales tax.

37. Oregon

  • Median household income: $53,270
  • Median home list price: $365,000
  • Child care costs: $18,645
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,127
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 2.65

A major expense for any family is groceries, and Oregon has the fourth-highest grocery costs of any state, making it one of the worst states for families to live a richer life.

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36. Illinois

  • Median household income: $59,196
  • Median home list price: $224,900
  • Child care costs: $23,426
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $18,510
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 4.36

Property and sales taxes are both high in Illinois. The Midwest state has a property tax of 1.97 percent — the second-highest in the country.

35. Oklahoma

  • Median household income: $48,038
  • Median home list price: $179,900
  • Child care costs: $14,533
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $16,646
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 4.5

Oklahoma might be one of the cheapest states in the U.S., but it has one of the worst public school systems — which makes it one of the worst states to raise a family. In addition, a high combined sales tax — 8.91 percent — would make it difficult for families to live richly there.

34. North Carolina

  • Median household income: $48,256
  • Median home list price: $259,000
  • Child care costs: $17,174
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $16,986
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 3.72

A combination of a relatively low median household income and a relatively high unemployment rate make North Carolina a difficult state for families who want to live a richer life.

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33. Arkansas

  • Median household income: $42,336
  • Median home list price: $165,000
  • Child care costs: $11,338
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $14,929
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 5.51

You can’t live a richer life if you’re not making a good salary, and Arkansas has the second-lowest median household income of all the states.

32. Tennessee

  • Median household income: $46,574
  • Median home list price: $229,900
  • Child care costs: $15,814
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $16,721
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 6.33

Tennessee has one of the lowest median household incomes, one of the highest combined sales tax rates and violent crime rates in the nation — all of which contribute to it being one of the worst states for families to live a richer life.

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31. Mississippi

  • Median household income: $40,528
  • Median home list price: $175,500
  • Child care costs: $9,734
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $15,765
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 2.8

Families looking to boost their household income might want to stay away from Mississippi: The state has the lowest median household income of all the states, and it has a relatively high unemployment rate as well. It also has some of the worst public schools in the country.

30. Delaware

  • Median household income: $61,017
  • Median home list price: $279,990
  • Child care costs: $19,220
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $18,648
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 5.09

Delaware’s health insurance premiums are among the highest of all the states, which could make it hard for a family to live richly in the state. However, one advantage to living in Delaware is its lack of sales tax.

29. New York

  • Median household income: $60,741
  • Median home list price: $384,900
  • Child care costs: $27,092
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $19,375
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 3.76

It’s difficult to afford child care in New York, which has one of the highest average costs for child care services. The state also has relatively high property and sales taxes.

Find Out: Can You Afford the Cost of Your Child’s Education in Your State?

28. Rhode Island

  • Median household income: $58,387
  • Median home list price: $290,000
  • Child care costs: $23,223
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $18,010
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 2.39

Property tax in Rhode Island can take a chunk out of a family’s earnings. The rate in the nation’s smallest state is 1.51 percent. And if you want to retire rich, it’s best to avoid New England altogether.

27. Alabama

  • Median household income: $44,758
  • Median home list price: $194,500
  • Child care costs: $10,653
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $16,098
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 5.32

With a high combined sales tax — 9.1 percent — and a low median household income, it can be hard for families to live a richer life in Alabama.

26. South Dakota

  • Median household income: $52,078
  • Median home list price: $228,250
  • Child care costs: $12,396
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,117
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 4.18

South Dakota has low unemployment and affordable homes. But with one of the worst school systems in the country, it might not be the best choice for families who want to live a richer life.

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25. Colorado

  • Median household income: $62,520
  • Median home list price: $416,050
  • Child care costs: $26,367
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,459
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 3.43

Colorado has a relatively high median income and one of the lowest unemployment and property rates. Those factors help make it one of the best states for families to live a richer life.

24. Kansas

  • Median household income: $53,571
  • Median home list price: $175,000
  • Child care costs: $20,309
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $16,784
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 3.8

Kansas’ affordable homes — and groceries — can help families live a richer life.

23. Maryland

  • Median household income: $76,067
  • Median home list price: $300,000
  • Child care costs: $24,470
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $18,519
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 4.72

Maryland has the highest median household income in the U.S. It also has some of the best public schools, making it a good state for families.

22. Ohio

  • Median household income: $50,674
  • Median home list price: $154,900
  • Child care costs: $17,675
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,523
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 3

Owning a home is often thought of as an ideal part of a rich family life, and in Ohio, that goal is financially viable for many families. The state has the second-lowest median home list price in the country. In fact, it’s the state that requires the lowest salary to afford a home, a separate GOBankingRates study found.

22. Ohio

  • Median household income: $50,674
  • Median home list price: $154,900
  • Child care costs: $17,675
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,523
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 3

Owning a home is often thought of as an ideal part of a rich family life, and in Ohio, that goal is financially viable for many families. The state has the second-lowest median home list price in the country. In fact, it’s the state that requires the lowest salary to afford a home, a separate GOBankingRates study found.

21. Hawaii

  • Median household income: $71,977
  • Median home list price: $599,000
  • Child care costs: $1,868
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $16,362
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 3.09

Hawaii has the lowest child care costs in the U.S., and it also has one of the highest median household incomes. What prevents the island state from ranking higher are its median home list price and ultra-expensive groceries, both of which are the highest in the country.

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20. Connecticut

  • Median household income: $71,755
  • Median home list price: $315,000
  • Child care costs: $27,144
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $18,637
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 2.27

Connecticut has one of the highest median household incomes of all the states, plus one of the best public school systems. It’s also one of the safest states to raise a family, with low rates of violent crime and property crime.

19. West Virginia

  • Median household income: $42,644
  • Median home list price: $150,000
  • Child care costs: $15,600
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,260
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 3.58

Families seeking affordable housing can likely find it in West Virginia, which has the lowest median home list price and low property taxes as well. However, a low median household income prevents the state from ranking higher.

18. New Jersey

  • Median household income: $73,702
  • Median home list price: $299,000
  • Child care costs: $22,709
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $18,242
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 2.45

New Jersey’s highly rated public school system is a big draw for families, plus a high median household income can help families be richer financially. The biggest drawback for families is the state’s 2.14 percent property tax — the highest in the U.S.

Find Out: How Much You’re Really Paying in Property Taxes

17. Massachusetts

  • Median household income: $70,954
  • Median home list price: $429,900
  • Child care costs: $34,381
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $18,955
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 3.77

Massachusetts has the best public schools in the U.S., and it also has low property crime rates — both of which make it a great state to raise kids. But child care can be expensive — it costs more, on average, in Massachusetts than in any other state.

16. Pennsylvania

  • Median household income: $54,895
  • Median home list price: $198,900
  • Child care costs: $21,363
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,900
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 3.16

Affordable homes and one of the top public school systems in the country make Pennsylvania one of the best states for families to live a richer life.

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15. Michigan

  • Median household income: $50,803
  • Median home list price: $169,500
  • Child care costs: $17,561
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,113
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 4.59

The median home list price in Michigan is the fourth-lowest of all the states, and Michigan also has some of the least expensive groceries — both of which mean families can live richly there for less.

14. Indiana

  • Median household income: $50,433
  • Median home list price: $170,000
  • Child care costs: $21,329
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,996
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 4.05

Indiana has affordable homes, a low unemployment rate and low grocery costs — all of which make it one of the best places for families to live a richer life. It also has one of the largest average employer contributions to healthcare costs at 76.8 percent.

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13. Nebraska

  • Median household income: $54,384
  • Median home list price: $205,000
  • Child care costs: $17,192
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $16,617
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 2.91

Families that want to find job opportunities might want to consider moving to Nebraska, which has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. The state also has relatively affordable homes and groceries.

12. Idaho

  • Median household income: $49,174
  • Median home list price: $289,900
  • Child care costs: $13,461
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,499
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 2.3

Idaho has a low unemployment rate, low crime rates and some of the most affordable groceries in the U.S. However, it falls shy of the top 10 in part because of its public schools.

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11. Minnesota

  • Median household income: $63,217
  • Median home list price: $265,900
  • Child care costs: $27,144
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,545
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 2.43

You can earn a decent living in Minnesota, which has a relatively high median household income and a low unemployment rate. The state also ranks highly for safety. However, average child care costs in Minnesota are the third-highest of all the states.

10. Utah

  • Median household income: $62,518
  • Median home list price: $349,000
  • Child care costs: $18,645
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,025
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 2.43

Families who call Utah home pull in a healthy median income, and pay low property taxes: 0.62 percent. Utah also has one of the lowest rates of violent crimes.

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9. Kentucky

  • Median household income: $44,811
  • Median home list price: $175,000
  • Child care costs: $12,112
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $16,678
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 2.32

Although the median household income in Kentucky is low, many living expenses are also low, so it’s possible to live richly even without making a lot of money. Kentucky has some of the most affordable homes and the least expensive groceries in the country.

8. Virginia

  • Median household income: $66,149
  • Median home list price: $299,900
  • Child care costs: $22,360
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,945
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 2.18

Virginia ranks highly for safety, and it also has one of the highest median household incomes.

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7. New Hampshire

  • Median household income: $68,485
  • Median home list price: $289,900
  • Child care costs: $22,152
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $19,066
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 1.98

New Hampshire has no sales tax and great schools, both of which could help families live a richer life. Unfortunately, New Hampshire has a high property tax: 1.94 percent.

6. Vermont

  • Median household income: $55,176
  • Median home list price: $249,500
  • Child care costs: $21,522
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,835
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 1.18

Vermont ranks sixth in our list of best states to live in for families thanks to its good schools. The state’s school grade — 83.8 out of 100 — is the third highest on our list. It’s also the safest state to live in because it has the lowest violent crime and property crime rates.

Vermont’s median household income is higher than the national median, but the cost of living also is higher here — which pulls the state down in the rankings. In addition, child care and grocery costs are higher here than in most of the states. And Vermont has the fifth-highest property tax rate.

5. Wisconsin

  • Median household income: $53,357
  • Median home list price: $189,500
  • Child care costs: $21,918
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,662
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 3.06

Low home prices and relatively low health insurance premiums mean that Wisconsin families can stretch their paychecks a little further — even though the median household income here is slightly lower than the national median. Wisconsin also benefits from a low unemployment rate of 3.1 percent. Although child care costs are relatively high, the state’s school grade is the 12th highest in the U.S.

4. Iowa

  • Median household income: $53,183
  • Median home list price: $174,800
  • Child care costs: $18,186
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $16,257
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 2.86

Iowa’s low cost of living makes it one of the best states for families to live a richer life. It has the ninth-lowest median home list price and eighth-lowest grocery costs. Plus, child care costs are lower here than in more than half of the states.

Iowa also is one of the best states for families because its school grade is higher than the national average.

3. Wyoming

  • Median household income: $58,840
  • Median home list price: $238,125
  • Child care costs: $18,720
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $17,015
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 2.22

A relatively high median household income and affordable housing helps Wyoming claim the No. 3 spot in our rankings. It has the fourth-lowest property tax rate. Plus, Wyoming has the seventh-highest average school grades on our list.

Wyoming also ranks among the top 10 states for safety because of its low violent and property crime rates. However, grocery costs are higher here than the national average, as are child care costs and healthcare premiums.

2. Maine

  • Median household income: $49,331
  • Median home list price: $229,900
  • Child care costs: $18,360
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $16,117
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 1.3

Maine is one of the best states to live in for families thanks, in large part, to how safe it is. It has the second-best safety score in our rankings.

Although the median household income is below the national median of $53,889, the unemployment rate is a low 3.2 percent. Plus, living costs are relatively low. Grocery costs are below the national average, and Maine has the 10th-lowest average family health insurance premium in our rankings.

1. North Dakota

  • Median household income: $57,181
  • Median home list price: $201,500
  • Child care costs: $16,254
  • Average family health insurance premiums: $16,020
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 2.39

Although North Dakota’s economy has been affected by the oil boom and bust, the state still is a great place for families to live a richer life. It has the second-lowest unemployment rate in the nation — just 2.5 percent. Plus, the median household income here is higher than the national median.

Families also can benefit from the state’s low violent crime and property crime rates. And North Dakota has the eighth-lowest average family health insurance premium.

Best and Worst States for Families to Live a Richer Life

Many of the worst states for families to live a richer life are clustered in the West, including New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, California and Washington. California and Washington are also two of the states with the highest home prices, which clearly affects a family’s ability to afford the life they want.

The best states are more geographically diverse, with the top 10 states spread out across every U.S. region: North Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin in the Midwest; Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire in the Northeast; Wyoming and Utah in the West; and Kentucky and Virginia in the South. Many of the best states are also the safest.

Click through to read more about the best and worst cities to own investment property.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Best and Worst States for Families to Live a Richer Life

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