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#childsafety | NJ Among Top States To Raise A Family In 2022: Report

NEW JERSEY — Choosing the Garden State as a place to raise a family just got easier, with it the 10th best state nationwide to raise a family, according to a recently-released study from WalletHub.

New Jersey achieved that ranking, WalletHub said of its “2022 Best and Worst States to Raise a Family,” when compared to 50 states and 51 key indicators, with “1” the best and “25” an “average” ranking.

WalletHub said then that each of the 51 metrics they used were graded on a 100 point scale, with 100 “representing the most favorable conditions for family life.” Each state’s weighted average from all the metrics were calculated to achieve the overall score and then rank the states in order.

Find out what’s happening in Mendham-Chester with free, real-time updates from Patch.

In the overall 10th spot, New Jersey achieved a score of 57.01, hitting the top 20 rankings in eight different family-friendly categories.

States were ranked overall by using a variety of metrics, from how well they managed the COVID pandemic and other areas that “offer the best combination of qualities that matter most to parents and their kids,” WalletHub stated.

Find out what’s happening in Mendham-Chester with free, real-time updates from Patch.

Massachusetts ended up first place nationwide as the best state to raise a family, with a total score of 65.21, while Mississippi was at number 50, with a 30.47 score.

Of all states in the country, the Garden State took the top spot in one of five “key dimensions,” the Education & Child Care category of the report. Of the other key dimensions, New Jersey was fourth in Affordability, 14th in Health and Safety, 21st in the “Family Fun” category and trailed at 41st in Socio-Economics.

New Jersey ranked in the Top 20 for the following categories of all states in the country:

3rd – In Median Annual Family Salaries (Adjusted for Cost of Living)
3rd – In Lowest Separation and Divorce Rates
5th – In Lowest Infant Mortality Rates
5th – In Lowest Violent Crimes Per Capita
8th – Lowest Child Care Costs (Adjusted For Median Family Income)
8th – In Percentage of Residents Age 12 and Up With the Full Course of COVID Vaccines
14th – In the Lowest Percentage of Families in Poverty
16th – In the Percentage of Families with Young Children

The data to compile the scores, was extracted from a range of sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Kaiser Family Foundation and a host of others, WalletHub reported.

See the full rankings of each of the 50 states on the interactive map below:

Choosing Where To Live

WalletHub lastly interviewed a panel of experts asking their advice on a range of questions pertaining where to live.

What are some things they had to say when asked the following questions?

Here are key takeaways from some of the experts:

What should families consider when choosing a place to set down roots?

“Social support is a key factor in well-being. When you have a great network of people to lean on for a sympathetic ear, advice, and help, the daily stresses of raising a family become much easier to manage. Consider choosing a place to live where you are well-networked with supportive friends and family.” – Patty Kuo, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Child, Youth & Family Studies, College of Education and Human Sciences – University of Nebraska–Lincoln

To what degree is a child’s development and a family’s quality of life influenced by the state they live in? How?

“Overall, neighborhoods and communities have major impacts on children’s development. Neighborhood safety, school quality, air and water quality, green space, economic opportunities for parents, access to quality food, and positive social connections are the building blocks for children’s futures. Resource-rich communities can be found in all states, but states do have different cultures, and from those cultures, differing family policies have emerged. For example, states like New Hampshire, Vermont, and Minnesota do a better job of making resources known to impact child and family well-being more widely available to their residents.” – Heidi Stolz, Ph.D. – Professor, Director of the Parenting Education Lab, Child and Family Studies, College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences – University of Tennessee, Knoxville

How can authorities make their states more attractive to young families?

“States and localities can focus on the needs of families, including living wages, affordable health care, safe/affordable housing, paid family and medical leave, recreational options, and high-quality early care and public education. Transportation can be a major issue in rural, suburban, and urban settings, and the solutions must be community-specific. Local planning should incorporate local priorities of families.” – Preston A. Britner, Ph.D. – University Teaching Fellow; Professor and Associate Department Head for Graduate Studies, Human Development and Family Sciences – University of Connecticut

How might Biden’s proposals related to child care and paid family leave affect child and family well-being?

“If President Biden can negotiate an agreement on child-care subsidies and paid family leave, it would be in the best interest of young families that struggle with the everyday challenges of finding adequate child-care so that both parents might work. COVID has underscored the grave need for a better health care infrastructure in the U.S. Paid family leave is the pillar of a health care infrastructure. At this time, with the frequent specter of medical illness looming in every family, paid family leave would provide families with the assurance that taking care of a loved one will not jeopardize their jobs, something that all families are currently afraid of. I believe that these proposals are a step in the right direction and long overdue.” – Aruna Jha, Ph.D., LCSW – Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work – University of Wisconsin at Whitewater

In evaluating the best states for families, what are the top five indicators?

“Employment opportunities; affordable, safe, and quality housing; quality schools; affordable and quality health and human services; and access to family-centered activities.” – Theresa J. Russo, Ph.D., CFLE – Special Assistant to the Provost, Professor Human Development and Family Studies – State University of New York at Oneonta

For the breakdown of each of the key dimensions, and all of the expert responses, see the report here:

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