New Jersey is on the receiving end of many jabs—high taxes, congested highways, Jersey Shore—but it turns out the Garden State is the best place to raise a healthy, well-rounded child.
New Jersey ranked No. 1 in the latest Child Well-Being Index, released by the Foundation for Child Development and published on the Today show’s Moms page. The state edged out Massachusetts in the rankings, with New Hampshire, Utah and Connecticut rounding out the top five spots.
So we can feel superior, the bottom five states were New Mexico, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Nevada.
Seven markers factor into the Child Well-Being Index: family economic well-being, health, safe/risky behavior, education attainment, community engagement, social relationships and emotional/spiritual well-being.
Of the seven, New Jersey only hit No. 1 in one category: social relationships. Apparently our densely populated state (we’re also top state in the nation for that, go Jersey!) gives children plenty of opportunities to build social relationships—or maybe just not many places to move. The study considered how many children live in single-parent households or had moved in the past year to determine its social relationships rankings.
But it turns out the state isn’t so great at protecting children’s emotional and spiritual well-being. The Garden State hit only No. 16 for that marker, which measured suicide rates and children without weekly religious attendance.
Here’s how the rest of New Jersey’s performance shook out:
- Family Economic Well-Being: 7
- Health: 11
- Safe/Risky Behavior: 6
- Education Attainment: 3
- Community Engagement: 6
Now that you have your healthy, well-rounded Jersey offspring, there are plenty of other rankings to help you decide where and how to raise your angel. U.S. News & World Report can give you its top school districts in the state and Kids Guide has suggestions to keep your children busy and having fun. Treat the family to top New Jersey restaurants, courtesy of Zagat, or find out what a New Jerseyan really thinks of the state with this . Or you can check out New Jersey Monthly’s list of the state’s top towns—but, like most things in New Jersey, it’ll cost you for access.
Read the Foundation for Child Development’s full report on child well being and weigh in below with your thoughts.