Where you live can makes it more expensive to raise your children. Or cheaper.

Everyone knows New York is the priciest place to raise a family – and everyone is wrong. It’s Hawaii. New York is second.

That’s according to a new study from GoBankingRates.com, which rated the 10 cheapest states and 10 most expensive states for families. How did it decide? By comparing these stats…

  • Median income
  • State parental leave policies
  • Food costs
  • Housing costs
  • Child care costs

While Hawaii has a robust median income – just under $61,000 a year – it also has a median home listing of $539,000. Also, food costs 58 percent more than the national average, since most of it needs to be imported from thousands of miles away.


As for the cheapest state, it’s Tennessee, which has not only cheap food and housing prices, but also  the nation’s second-lowest child care costs – 63 percent of the national median for full-time infant care at $5,857 a year.

The most shocking ranking in GoBankingRate’s survey is the state that comes in as the third-cheapest state to raise a family. That’s California.

While the state has the second-highest housing costs in the country, it also has these…

  • “Up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave in a 12-month period, which can be combined with up to four months of maternity leave or disability leave to give new mothers a total of up to 28 weeks off.”
  • “Up to 6 weeks of paid leave to care for a newborn, adopted child, or seriously ill family member, providing benefits equal to 55 percent of the beneficiary’s weekly pay up to $1,104 a week.”
  • Employers must “give workers up to 40 hours of leave each year to participate in their children’s educational activities.”

Wherever you live, raising a family is neither easy nor cheap. That’s why Debt.com offers free advice called Money Management for Families, and our certified counselors will give you a free debt analysis – because raising a child while trying to lower your credit card debt is stressful regardless of your state. Call 1-800-810-0989.

Howard Dvorkin is a CPA and chairman of Debt.com, an educational resource for those who want to conquer all forms of debt in their lives.

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Article last modified on April 18, 2017. Published by Debt.com, LLC .