N.J. named best state to raise kids

N.J. named best state to raise kids

02 Haziran 2018 - 02:00

New Jersey is the newly crowned best place in the U.S. to grow up as a kid.*

(* terms and conditions apply)

A new study by Save the Children, an international non-governmental organization, cites the state's low rates of child violence, malnutrition, adolescent births, high school dropouts and infant mortality as reasons for the top billing. The group uses the five categories as metrics to analyze health, safety and security of children.

The Garden State unseated New Hampshire, which earned the top spot in last year's study.

"New Jersey was the only state in the top 10 for all five indicators," said John Farden, associate vice president for U.S. Operations at Save the Children.

But as with most things, the newly bestowed honor comes with a few caveats.

Not a world leader

First, while New Jersey gets the top rank in the U.S., the nation as a whole ranks 36th in the world behind many of the world's developed countries such as Germany, Korea and Australia. 

"When you look at who the world leaders are, it's not the United States," Farden said. "Of the top economic countries, the U.S. is pretty far down that list." 

And some of the needles are moving the wrong way in New Jersey, data shows. The youth suicide rate has been slowly increasing in the past 20 years. And while the state has the fourth-lowest infant mortality rate, it also has one of the highest disparities between black and white infant deaths.

Farden emphasized that statewide data is not uniform. He said the organization's study revealed, somewhat predictably, that some groups — such as young girls, racial and ethnic minorities and children in rural areas — fare disproportionately worse than their counterparts. 

Those disparities also vary by state, only furthering the notion that there's no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all  solution to childhood safety and welfare, Farden said.

"For example, as we've worked in rural communities, we've found plenty of incredibly smart, passionate people," he said. "We don't always create enough space for those voices to be heard in the policy-making discussions."  

Other findings

Among some of the other findings from the group's report:

  • The state that made the most progress from last year's study was South Dakota, rising nine spots from 39th to 30th overall.
  • Montana suffered the largest drop, falling from 31st to 36th in the rankings.
  • States in the top 10 are predominantly from the Northeast while states in the bottom 10 are predominately from the southeast.

Here's a full, state-by-state ranking of the best states for kids:


Rank, state, score, trend from 2017

50. Louisiana, 45.8, steady

49. Mississippi, 42.4, steady

48. Oklahoma, 42.0, down

47. New Mexico, 40.6, up

44. Georgia, 39.2, up



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