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Study Shows California Doesn’t Rate Highly With Families

With around 11 percent of Americans having moved during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the personal-finance website WalletHub recently released its report on 2022's Best & Worst States to Raise a Family, as well as accompanying videos and expert commentary.

To determine the best states in which to put down family roots, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 51 key indicators of family-friendliness. The data set ranges from the median annual family income to housing affordability to the unemployment rate.

For the full report, visit:

Raising a Family in California (1=Best; 25=Avg.):

•              7th – Percent of Families with Young Children

•              47th – Child-Care Costs (Adjusted for Median Family Income)

•              4th – Infant-Mortality Rate

•              48th – Median Annual Family Income (Adjusted for Cost of Living)

•              35th – Violent Crimes per Capita

•              32nd – Percent of Families in Poverty

•              50th – Housing Affordability

•              48th – Unemployment Rate

•              13th – Separation & Divorce Rate

•              13th – Percentage of Residents Aged 12+ Who Are Fully Vaccinated


Expert Commentary


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

“Families typically consider personal and practical matters when deciding where to set down roots. Factors such as where extended family members are located and where parents’ jobs are based are often primary concerns. However, changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic have led many people to re-assess where they live. Many people have questioned whether they want to remain in their current jobs, and remote working arrangements have disconnected employment locations from their residences … Families also consider the cost of living; the space that they can afford; whether they want to live in an urban center, the suburbs, exurbs, or rural areas; as well as the lifestyle and resources that each community can offer.”

Steven Meyers, Ph.D., ABPP – Professor and Chair of Psychology, Roosevelt University


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

“Young families desire and require access to quality health care, a range of human services, quality education, affordable and healthy food, and safe neighborhoods and homes. They are also looking for a sense of belonging in their community, so family-centered activities and opportunities are important to them.”

Theresa J. Russo, Ph.D., CFLE – Special Assistant to the Provost and Professor, State University of New York at Oneonta


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

Heidi Stolz, Ph.D. – Professor and Director of Parenting Education Lab, University of Tennessee, Knoxville