Michigan knows what it’s like to be on the worst lists. We’ve seen more than a few and those of us from the Flint and metro Detroit areas know even more about those lists.
So if we aren’t such a great place to live, what is? For me, the best place to live is determined by where kids have the best chance of success.
And according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Iowa, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, North Dakota, Nebraska and Utah are the best states in which to raise your children.
They also have winter. Snow, ice and freezing temperatures for at least a few months of the year. Except for Utah, which isn’t really all that cold and most of the snow is in the mountains, so maybe I should have only listed the top nine.
The worst states in which to raise a child are: Mississippi, New Mexico, Louisiana, Nevada, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Texas, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.
Did you notice they are all warm states, hot states, some with record-breaking temperatures and no winter. Now I know it’s not the climate that makes the difference in providing overall well-being for children, but you have to admit it’s a heck of a coincidence.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation has rated all 50 states on child well-being every year since 1990, the data focuses on Economic Well-being, Education, Health, and Family and Community. They also compare the data over the years to see how the rankings fluctuate.
And while one state may be the perfect place in 1995, it could very well be less than perfect five years later. You have to check all of the data.
For many parents economics is most important. Many parents don’t have the education or skills needed for a good full-time job. Some get a full time job but with a wage too low to step out of poverty. So where might parents have the best opportunity for a strong economic foundation? This year’s study found the top-rated states in economic well-being are Wyoming, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, New Hampshire, Utah and Kansas.
Fly-over country as those states are often referred – except for New Hampshire, nobody flies over New Hampshire unless they’re headed to Greenland.
I was also intrigued that New York and California, often considered “the” place to live by the elite, are in the bottom 10 of the economic list, 43 and 47, respectively. There’s a lot of economic activity in those two states, but little of it trickles down to the children who need it most.
So where’s Michigan? Well in economics we’re at 28, pretty close to the middle. In overall well-being, which considers all the rankings we come in at 31, which is kind of the top of the bottom. We do even better in Health, ranking at 14.
And in education, well the worst 10 states for educating children are: New Mexico, Nevada, Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia, Louisiana, Arizona, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Alaska and … drum roll, please … Michigan.
I find no value in blame, although since it is a presidential election year, I’m sure many readers will know exactly who to blame. I’m more interested in understanding the data and learning from it. We can’t make the right changes if we don’t know what is wrong.
Take a look at the results. Do you think it’s possible to make Michigan a better place to raise children or should we all start thinking about moving to Minnesota?
Learn about the well-being rankings of children across the nation here. http://www.aecf.org/resources/the-2016-kids-count-data-book/#state-rankings
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