Best and Worst States for Single Parents to Raise Children

New Jersey is the best state for single parents to raise children, a new study finds. Florida, MississippiAlabama and surrounding southern states offer the least support and financial security for single parents.

In order to determine which states are best for single-parent support, personal finance website GOBankingRates analyzed eight key factors in 50 U.S. states:

  • Each state’s median household income
  • Average home listing price
  • Average cost of groceries for a family
  • Average employee contribution amount for employer-sponsored family health insurance
  • Annual childcare costs for an infant and 4-year-old
  • Whether the state offers a paid family leave insurance program
  • Whether the state offers an earned-income tax credit on top of the federal credit
  • Whether the state has adopted the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act

For full study results and more details on methodology, visit: Best and Worst States for Single Parents to Raise a Family

Best States for Single Parents to Raise Children

  1. New Jersey
    Median Household Income: $72,093 (third-highest in the nation)
    State Support: Expanded Medicaid, earned-income tax credit and paid family leave program
  2. Rhode Island
    Median Household Income: $56,852
    State Support: Expanded Medicaid, earned-income tax credit and paid family leave program
  3. Michigan
    Average home listing price and grocery costs are among the lowest in the nation
    State Support: Expanded Medicaid and earned-income tax credit
  4. Washington
    No state income tax allows single parents to keep more of their pay
    State Support: Expanded Medicaid, earned-income tax credit and paid family leave program (effective 2019)
  5. Illinois
    Fourth-lowest employee contribution amount for employer-sponsored family health coverage
    State Support: Expanded Medicaid and earned-income tax credit

Worst States for Single Parents to Raise Children

  1. Florida
    Low median household income: $47,507
    Does not offer single-parent support systems*
  2. Mississippi
    Lowest median household income in the nation: $39,665
    Does not offer single-parent support systems
  3. Alabama
    Fourth-highest family health coverage costs: $5,606
    Does not offer single-parent support systems
  4. South Carolina
    Ninth-lowest median household income: $45,483
    Does not offer single-parent support systems
  5. North Carolina
    10th-lowest median household income: $46,868
    Does not offer single-parent support systems

*Single-parent support systems include expanded Medicaid, an earned-income tax credit or a guaranteed paid family leave program.

Additional Study Insights

  • Only three U.S. states offer paid family leave: New JerseyRhode Island and CaliforniaWashington and New Yorkwill join the list of states that offer paid family leave by 2019.
  • Michigan offers the lowest employee contribution amount for family health coverage of any state.
  • Only 19 states have yet to expand Medicaid to give more low-income families access to health coverage.
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