These are the Top 10 Best and Worst US States to Raise a Family

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After you decide to finally start your family, one of the things you also consider is where to raise said family. If you are lucky enough to be living and working in a progressive area with lots of resources, wide-open spaces, and programs for children, then you won’t even have to consider moving. But if you don’t and are curious, there are great areas and not so great areas.

Personal finance website, WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2017’s Best & Worst States to Raise a Family.


In order to determine the best states in which to put down family roots, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 40 key indicators of family-friendliness.  The researcher’s data set ranges from “median family salary” to “housing affordability” to “unemployment rate.”

Here are the top Best and Worst:

Best States for Families Worst States for Families
1 North Dakota 42 Alabama
2 New Hampshire 43 West Virginia
3 Vermont 44 Georgia
4 Minnesota 45 Arizona
5 Nebraska 46 Alaska
6 Massachusetts 47 Nevada
7 New Jersey 48 Louisiana
8 Iowa 49 District of Columbia
9 Connecticut 50 Mississippi
10 South Dakota 51 New Mexico

Here is some breakdown of the best and worst areas.
Best vs. Worst

  • Wyoming has the highest median family annual income (adjusted for cost of living), $79,732, which is 1.7 times higher than in Hawaii, where it is lowest at $48,111.
  • Utah has the lowest divorce rate, 16.22 percent, which is 1.8 times lower than in the District of Columbia, where it is highest at 29.81 percent.
  • Wyoming has the lowest share of families receiving food stamps, 6.17 percent, which is 3.6 times lower than in the District of Columbia, where it is highest at 22.01 percent.
  • New Hampshire has the lowest share of families living below poverty level, 5.6 percent, which is 3.1 times lower than in Mississippi, where it is highest at 17.6 percent.
  • Mississippi has the lowest child-care costs (adjusted for median family income), 6.16 percent, which is 2.8 times lower than in the District of Columbia, where they are highest at 17.41 percent.
  • California has the lowest infant-mortality rate, 4.30 percent, which is two times lower than in Alabama, where it is highest at 8.68 percent.
  • Vermont has the lowest violent-crime rate per 1,000 residents, 1.18, which is 10.8 times lower than in the District of Columbia, where it is highest at 12.69.

To view the full report and your state or the District’s rank, please visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-states-to-raiseafamily/31065/

STUDY: Skipping Prenatal Vitamins During Pregnancy Linked to Child’s School Progress

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Failing to take multivitamins during pregnancy could set a child back by a year by the time they reach secondary school, a new study suggests.

The issue of taking supplements is controversial for pregnant women, with research last year suggesting that it was a waste of money to take anything except folic acid and vitamin d.


But a new study by an international team including Harvard University, the University of California and the University of Lancaster, found that multivitamins can add the equivalent of up to a full year of schooling to a child’s cognitive abilities between the ages of nine and 12.

The finding, which was carried out in women in Indonesia, is likely to be most relevant for women who do not get sufficient vitamins and minerals from their diets.

The study also found that early life nurturing, happier mothers and educated parents all led to cleverer children. A nurturing environment was found to be more even more important than biological factors, such as good nutrition, for general intellectual ability, academic achievement and fine motor dexterity.

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Take this Test: How Well Do You Know Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday. But how much do you know about this day dedicated to celebrating the life of the civil rights icon and leader? Take this test from our friends at Playbuzz and see how you do.

Share your results with your friends!


 

STUDY: Mom’s Blood Pressure During Pregnancy Could Predict Baby’s Gender

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The gender of a woman’s future child may be linked to her blood pressure six months before she becomes pregnant, a preliminary study suggests.

A team of Canadian and Chinese researchers found that a higher pre-pregnancy blood pressure reading may be associated with a greater likelihood for delivering a baby boy. Conversely, lower blood pressure may favor the odds of giving birth to a girl.


But the researchers only found an association between pre-pregnancy blood pressure and a baby’s gender. They did not prove a cause-and-effect connection.

How might a mom-to-be’s blood pressure predict her baby’s gender? That’s not completely clear. The researchers suspect blood pressure may be related to the gender of those babies carried to term, not lost to miscarriage.

“When a woman becomes pregnant, the sex of a fetus is determined by whether the father’s sperm provides an X or Y chromosome, and there is no evidence that this probability varies in humans,” said study lead author Dr. Ravi Retnakaran.

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Alison Wong’s ‘New Mom Comics’ Is Now a Published Book!

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I just discovered Alison Wong‘s comic strip series, New Mom Comics when it was fairly new last summer and I also just discovered that she has just released them in a new published book!

When I first saw the hilarious chronicles of the VERY RELATABLE look at the real life up and downs, joys and funny neurotic moments of life as a first time new mom, I was instantly hooked. Now you can get them all for $17.95 over at Amazon.com in her new book, “New Mom Comics: The First Year.”

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Wong and her husband are parents to a one year old son and the illustrator genius said in the caption of one of her strips that she uses the comics to help her stay connected to those first tender months of her son’s life.new mom1

And they grew fast in popularity because of how on point they are. Here are 10 of my faves! I recommend “liking” her Facebook page or subscribing to her blog so you can get updates when she posts a new strip! I did!new mom9 new mom8 new mom7 new mom6

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President Barack Obama’s Farewell Address’ Atticus Finch Quote Resonated with Me

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US President Barack Obama gave his farewell address to the nation as his administration and second term summits. I listened and watched and read along to the prepared remarks along with millions of others over the Internet, radios, and television sets around the country.

There were a few policy messages, and a recount of what he believes his legacy has and will be. But it was a message about coming together and setting aside differences to make the country a better tomorrow. I most appreciated a quote from a character in Harper Lee‘s famous book, “To Kill A Mockingbird” following a message that has to do with what we all want for our children.


If our democracy is to work in this increasingly diverse nation, each one of us must try to heed the advice of one of the great characters in American fiction, Atticus Finch, who said ‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.’

For blacks and other minorities, it means tying our own struggles for justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face – the refugee, the immigrant, the rural poor, the transgender American, and also the middle-aged white man who from the outside may seem like he’s got all the advantages, but who’s seen his world upended by economic, cultural, and technological change.

For white Americans, it means acknowledging that the effects of slavery and Jim Crow didn’t suddenly vanish in the ‘60s; that when minority groups voice discontent, they’re not just engaging in reverse racism or practicing political correctness; that when they wage peaceful protest, they’re not demanding special treatment, but the equal treatment our Founders promised.

For native-born Americans, it means reminding ourselves that the stereotypes about immigrants today were said, almost word for word, about the Irish, Italians, and Poles. America wasn’t weakened by the presence of these newcomers; they embraced this nation’s creed, and it was strengthened.

So regardless of the station we occupy; we have to try harder; to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family like we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own.” – -President Barack Obama

Because the purpose of this blog is to also help parents grow conscientious, civic-minded and all around great kids, that message resonated particularly with me. I think that part of the reason there is so much tension, hostility and disagreement among the US citizenry these days is that a lot of people do not step back to take into account that, for the most part, everyone wants the same things: peace of mind, security, comfort and a bright and promising future. We all just have different ideas how to get there. We should listen more, really.

Godspeed, President Obama!

STUDY: College Isn’t the Main Reason Women Delay Starting a Family

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Achieving higher education may not be the main reason why women in the UK delay pregnancy, demographers have discovered. Family background appears particularly relevant to explain the link between the age women first give birth and their level of education.

Since the end of the Second World War, the average age of first-time mothers has increased both in Europe and the US. In England and Wales, it now stands at 30.3 years old, according to the latest data released by the Office for National Statistics.


In parallel, the number of years that women spend in school and university has also increased. A number of studies have suggested that there is a causal link between this and their postponement of pregnancy. However, the research published in the journal Demography, now suggests that the effects of education may not be as large as expected.

With an innovative study design, looking both at education enrolment and fertility trends in the general population as well as female identical twins, they attempt to untangle the effects of genes, family background and education on fertility behaviours.

“Together with mortality and migration, fertility is a crucial factor to understand what shapes our social structure and how a society is going to fare in the future. Age at first birth is the main determinant of how many children women have, and so it is very important for demographers to understand what influences it and if education enrolment is involved, how significant a part it plays”, study author Felix Tropf, from the University of Oxford, told IBTimes UK.

Extra year in school, six months older mothers

The researchers analysed the fertility histories of 2,752 identical female twins from a large twin register set up in 1992 in the UK. This approach is interesting because twins share genes and similar family backgrounds, so this isolates the effects of potentially different levels of education.

Analysing the data, the scientists estimated that for every extra year of educational enrolment after the age of 12, a woman delayed motherhood by an average half a year. However, their model also suggests that family background – from socio-economic environment to genes – better explained why women delayed pregnancy. Education alone is estimated to contribute to only 1.5 months of the total six-month delay.

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Great Britain Has its First Pregnant Man

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A British man has announced his pregnancy, making the dad-to-be the first male from the U.K to become pregnant.

Twenty-year-old Hayden Cross, from Gloucester, is excited to be the first British male to carry a child, but understands the journey will not be without issues or ridicule from individuals that simply do not understand his situation.


Although Hayden was born as a female, he has been working his way through the transition toward becoming a male. For the past three years, according to Metro, Hayden has lived as a man and has transitioned to the point of legally becoming a male. Although Hayden began hormone treatment, he has decided to put that on hold while he is pregnant for his first child. He expects to finalize the transition after the child is born.

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STUDY: Pre-Eclampsia Linked to Eye Problems in Mom Later

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Pre-eclampsia — the pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and potential organ damage — is linked to eye problems in the mother later in life, new research has found.

Canadian researchers tracked more than a million women who delivered babies in Quebec between 1989 and 2013, of whom 64,350 were given a diagnosis of pre-eclampsia. Then they followed them using hospital discharge data over the years. The study is in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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Drug Store Employees Snapped and Texted Couple’s Pregnancy Announcement Around Town

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A Michigan couple’s plan to send out a pregnancy announcement photo to family with Christmas cards and gifts went south when high school friends of the mom-to-be who work at the photo development studio got a hold of them.

Jordan Areaux said she and boyfriend, Masyn Lehl handed in their pregnancy announcement photos, meant as a surprise to family, to a Meijer grocery store photo lab in Plainwell, Michigan.


The parents-to-be claimed that the Meijer photo lab employees took pictures of their pictures and texted them around greater Plainwell. The texting chain even reached members of both their families, spoiling the whole surprise, they said.

As WWMT-TV reports, this is the couple’s first baby, so they wanted to take pictures and slip them into Christmas gifts with their announcement.