Editorial: Have kids? Raise them in New Jersey

Studies say the Garden State is best place for families

We all want what’s best for our children, and if two recent studies are to be believed, it’s not going to get any better than New Jersey.

Last month, the Garden State topped the list for a study by ClickCupid ranking the best states for children to live, as well as in similar research by MoneyRates naming the top 10 states to raise a family.

While there was some overlap between the two studies, they were overall vastly different, in essence giving a much clearer picture of what makes New Jersey such a great spot for family living. (As if we didn’t already know, right?)

Pulling its data from such reputable sources as The Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Center and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ClickCupid used 15 factors separated into three main categories to determine its rankings: family conditions, social conditions and education conditions. ClickCupid standardized its results to find the overall score and, since it was ranking factors as negative outcomes in children’s lives, the lower the score, the better. 

New Jersey finished with a 3.7 rating in the family conditions category, 13.2 for social conditions, and topped out at a 3.0 rank in education conditions.

The MoneyRates study considered nine factors in its research: academic performance, availability of youth/student checking accounts, overall affordability, college affordability, crime safety, access to day care, child health, kid-friendly neighborhood amenities and broadband availability.

Not surprisingly, cost of living didn’t put New Jersey on the path to greatness, with the state ranking 46th in college affordability and 42nd in overall affordability. Where the Garden State shined in the MoneyRates study, however, was in academic performance (ranked 3), child health (ranked 4) and safety from violent crime (ranked 5). 

None of this is terribly surprising. For instance, we know we have great schools. We also know it’s expensive to live here. At the end of the day, it may come down to personal priorities – not studies – when considering if New Jersey is the best place to raise your kids.