Raising families? Survey says Minnesota’s No. 1 in the nation

Yes, we should be always skeptical of state rankings we see on the internet and deeply examine their methodologies. But, hey, seeing Minnesota at the top of some list of awesomeness never gets old.

This week it’s a really good one: a top ranking as the best state to raise a family.

Again, this is just one analysis from consumer financial website WalletHub, based on 49 metrics that range from household incomes, divorce rates, fun activities, education, health and safety.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t feel a little proud.


When you look at how the site compiled its ranking, Minnesota doesn’t take top billing in any of the five categories — affordability, socioeconomics, education and child care, health and safety, and family fun — but we’re within the top 10 spots for four of them.

Based on the analysis, our lowest score is in the “family fun” category, which according to the site’s methodology, is heavily weighted on the number of attractions available, followed by how many families have young children and their access to parks and recreational sports centers. We’re ranked at No. 13 for fun.

North Dakota, also scored high on the list at No. 3. Its ranking was likely weighed down by a much lower “family fun” score. Wisconsin also made the top 10 at No. 7.

  • Postal Customer

    Not to be a debbie, but I wonder where MN would rank for families of color. My guess is not at the top.

    • Matt Mikus

      Honestly, I thought the same thing while looking at the methodology.

    • But are families of color better off relatively in other states? I think the effects of racism are pretty widespread. We talk a lot about the education gap, but there is also an opportunity gap, even among people with similar educational attainment.

      • My understanding is that people/families of color in Minnesota are worse off (generally) than people/families of color in other states, even in states that otherwise tend to be worse off than Minnesota for whites. Basically, we have two Minnesotas, and because Minnesota is so good for white people, we tend not to realize how bad it is for others.

        Edited to add data: A quick Google search has yielded this from US News: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/rankings/opportunity/equality

        Minnesota is listed 14th overall for equality, but if you look at the rankings for “employment gap by race” and “income gap by race,” you can see that MN is 47th (!) and 38th overall, respectively. That’s pretty bad.

        • Yes, I have seen these figures, but to do better, we need more granularity. Is NH a popular landing place for immigrants of color, especially those who don’t speak English? Are the families of color in KY well-established descendants of locals who have been able to accumulate more wealth and education? In MN, is there a gap between families of color who similarly have had the time to accumulate wealth and education and those who are first and second generation Americans? If this gap is going to be fixed, we need to know what is really going on. We can look to other states, like CA, that attract new residents via immigration, and we see that they are #48 in income gap by race. Of course that is a state with a lot of high-powered tech jobs, exacerbating the gap in income (but not in overall employment), so I think you see my point. To tackle the problem, we need to perhaps fine tune the response. This should be a Minnesota for everyone, and the best way to make it so is to meet needs early on.

  • The Resistance

    The only think I get out of these rankings is that the winters here will never be bad enough to make me want to live in the south.

    • Living in the South was enough to not make me want to live in the South.

      /Was stationed at Ft. Benning for a spell.

  • I’m a little surprised to not see Colorado, Washington, or Oregon on this list. CO and WA are #12 and #14, OR ranks in the middle. Seems like those always make the “best states” lists as well, but what do I know.

    Two takeaways: 1. The methodology behind these lists severely overrates the quality of life in a Great Plains state. Seriously: who, other than a person dedicating their life to agriculture, would pick Nebraska over say Colorado, or for that matter California? 2. As said elsewhere, I’m imagining your personal results may vary if you’re Black, Native, or otherwise not Euro-American.

    • Jeff

      Warren Buffet seems to like Nebraska. I’m not sure what that says.

  • MrE85

    I plan to die childless. Consider it my final gift to the world.