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Hawaii_homesHawaii and New York are the most expensive states to raise a family, while Tennessee and Utah are the cheapest, according to a new ranking released by GOBankingRates.com.

The leading personal finance website reports on the impact geography has on costs associated with raising a family and scores each state on factors that most contribute to a family’s financial well-being:

 

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

“Raising a family can be expensive, regardless of where you live, but it can be especially challenging for families on a budget to make ends meet in certain states,” says Cameron Huddleston, Life + Money Columnist at GOBankingRates. “It’s important that they recognize the high cost of their decision to stay in those locales.”

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Additional insights include:

Parental Leave Programs: California outshines the rest of the nation with the most favorable parental leave policies, making it the No. 3 overall best state for families to raise kids on a budget.

  • In California, parents are offered 40 hours of parental leave for kids’ education-related activities, 6 weeks of paid family leave and 28 weeks of unpaid leave. Compare that with states like New York, Georgia, and Indiana, which offer none of the above benefits.

Child Care Costs: New York ranks as the second overall worst state for families, largely due to scoring dead last with the most expensive child care costs.

  • The average annual cost of infant care in New York is $14,508 compared with Louisiana, the cheapest state for infant care, at $5,655.

Food and Homeownership Costs: When it comes to affordability for families, Tennessee comes out on top due to its low costs for the biggest budget items like food, home and child care expenses.

To view the full findings, click here.

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