Louisiana ranked fifth worst state to raise family

Halen Doughty

A new report from the personal finance website WalletHub ranks Louisiana as the fifth worst state for raising a family. The report looked at family fun, health and safety, education and child care, affordability, and socioeconomics to determine which states foster the best environment for raising a family. WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzales said unfortunately, Louisiana ranked near or at the bottom in a number of these categories.

"Louisiana did poorly for a few reasons. Firstly, its public school system could use some work, from test scores to dropout rates," said Gonzales. "The state also has the second highest divorce rate at over 25 percent and the 3rd highest percentage of families living below the poverty line at 15 percent."

The Bayou State came in dead last in the socioeconomic category, which looked at divorce rates, wealth gaps, poverty levels, and unemployment. We came in at 48 for unemployment, Louisiana came in at number 49 in the health and safety category.

"Families should be concerned about Louisiana's Health & Safety rank, especially since the state has the 6th lowest number of pediatricians at just 3 per 100,000 residents," said Gonzales. "It also has the 5th highest infant mortality rate at 8 per 1,000 live births. Safety should also be a concern, as Louisiana has the 5th highest violent crime rate."

Louisiana did well in the availability of low cost child care, coming in at number two in that category. But it didn't do much to boost our ranking in the education and child care metric, where Louisiana ranked 44th. We also did well in the family fun category, which looked at the number of attractions and recreational sports centers per capita. Louisiana ranked 16th here.

"It's certainly not all bad in Louisiana. It ranked above average for Family Fun, with a high number of attractions and a high percentage of families with young children at 43 percent," said Gonzales.

Louisiana ranked number 48 for affordability. Housing affordability landed us at number 31 and 35 for median family salary when adjusted for cost of living. Debt and credit scores were other factors in this metric. Gonzales said Louisiana wasn't the only state in the region to rank near the bottom of this report.

"Unfortunately, most of the southern states ranked low in this specific study," said Gonzales. "Many struggle with the same problems as Louisiana, such as poverty, education, safety and healthcare."

Gonzales noted there are ways Louisiana can improve its ranking on reports like this.

"The state should start investing in its education system, which would then impact other socioeconomic aspects such as poverty, unemployment and job security," said Gonzales. "Also, it should focus on creating a safe and healthy environment for its residents by lowering it's crime rate and trying to attract more medical professionals, specifically pediatricians."

Check out the full WalletHub report here. (https://wallethub.com/edu/best-states-to-raise-a-family/31065/)

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