Wed, Jan 18, 2023 1:57 PM
By Carolyn Grindrod, The Center Square
Arkansas has again been ranked among the worst states in the U.S. to raise a family, a recent study from Wallethub concludes.
The Natural State was ranked 7th worst in the nation for 2022 in terms of its family-friendliness, moving up only one rank from its previous designation as 6th worst state in 2021.
Conducted annually, the Wallethub study scores and ranks all states based on 51 metrics lumped into 5 categories: family fun, health & safety, education & child care, affordability and socio-economics.
Of these categories, Arkansas scored the worst in terms of family fun. The state was ranked 3rd worst, based on its shares of families with young children, number of fun attractions, the number of sports centers for fitness & recreation, and based on the percentage of children who live in neighborhoods that have a nearby playground or park to play in.
Additionally, Arkansas also scored poorly in overall health and safety. The state ranked 45th in the nation for this category and was among the top five worst states for violent crimes per capita (46th in the nation) and infant mortality rates (47th in the nation).
The state received more middle-of-the-road scores for education, affordability and socio-economics. The rate was ranked 28th in terms of education & child care, 34th for affordability and 32nd for socio-economics.
Arkansas’s score for 2022 is only marginally better than the previous year’s rank. For 2021, the state received a national ranking of 45th in the nation, with rankings as 47th in violent crimes per capita, 48th in infant mortality rate, and 39th in median annual family income.
Of the six states bordering Arkansas, all but one were ranked higher than the state. To the west and north of Arkansas, Texas and Missouri received ranks of 26th and 28th in the nation, respectively. Oklahoma to the west was only ranked slightly higher than Arkansas and the 9th worst state, while Louisiana in the south was ranked worse, 4th worst in the nation.
Coming in No. 1, the study indicates that the best state to raise a family in was Massachusetts, while the worst state was noted as Mississippi.
“Not all states are created equal,” the study states. “Some are more conducive to pleasant family life than others.”