January 30, 2017

Florida Ranked 12th Worst State to Raise a Family

During his tenure as Florida’s Governor, Rick Scott has been consistent in his demands for tax cuts to incentivize job creation by Florida business.  There has been controversy recently regarding the use of incentives to encourage out-of-state businesses to relocate and bring additional jobs to the state.  These issues will be front and center in coming weeks as the Governor and Legislature prepare their oftentimes competing agendas for the 60-day Legislative Session commencing in March.

It is conventional wisdom that business owners for the most part care about their employees and families, and many businesses that are planning possible re-location are pitched by various states competing for those moves.  Rankings showing the differences between states in the country are a useful tool for decision-makers.   Florida Policy Institute maintains and updates its Florida Report Card, which scores Florida on important performance areas, including education funding, tax fairness, poverty rate and more.  Currently, the FPI Report Card shows an overall D ranking for Florida against the other states on a scale of A to F.

Wallet Hub, a financial services company, recently released a report highlighting the best and worst states for raising a family, and unfortunately, Florida is showing similar results.  An overall score of 46.4 ranked Florida as the 12th worst state to raise a family.

From Wallet Hub: “Raising a healthy, stable family sometimes requires moving to a new state. And the reasons are often similar: career transitions, better schools, financial challenges or perhaps a general desire to change settings.

But wants and needs don’t always align in a particular state, which might offer, for instance, a low income-tax rate yet subpar education system. Consequently, a family must make unnecessary sacrifices — the kinds that are easily avoided by knowing which states offer the best combination of qualities that matter most to parents and their kids.”

Source: WalletHub

The silver lining is that we scored better than desert states like Nevada, and Arizona, really cold Alaska and some southern and Appalachian mountain states like Georgia, West Virginia, Alabama and more.  The bad news is Florida ranked below other southern and Appalachian states like Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky, with dry Oklahoma and wet Oregon lurking nearby.  The best state to raise a family today, according to Wallet Hub? That would be North Dakota.  At least we have consistently warmer tropical weather.  The worst state? New Mexico. It’s a dry heat.

We joke about the weather, but honestly, when Americans started flocking to Florida, it was for just that, and some cheap land deals.  The current administration’s focus on tax cuts looks great on a spreadsheet, but, according to our Report Card and now Wallet Hub’s, perhaps Florida’s leaders should broaden their focus and figure out how to start better competing in some of these categories we’re falling so far behind in.

Florida ranked 34th in Family Fun, 33rd in Health and Safety, 35th in Education and Child Care, 44th in Affordability and 42nd in Socioeconomics.

Here’s the methodology Wallet Hub used: “We evaluated these categories using 40 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 indicating the favorable conditions for parents and their children. Finally, we calculated the overall score for each state and the District based on its weighted average across all metrics and used the resulting scores to rank the states and the District”

Here are the categories used for the study, and the factors considered and weighted in each category

Family Fun

Weather * Share of Families with Young Children * Average Commute Time * Arcades per Capita

Health & Safety

Air Pollution * Water Quality * Pediatricians per Capita * Share of Children Lacking Health Insurance * Quality of Public Hospitals * Infant-Mortality Rate and Violent-Crime Rate per Capita * Property-Crime Rate per Capita

Education & Child Care

Quality of Public Schools * Public High School Graduation Rate * Child-Care Costs * Parental Leave * Child Day-Care Services per Capita


Housing Affordability * Median Credit Score * Credit Utilization * Debt Delinquency * Mortgage Debt * Non-Mortgage Debt * Savings * Employer-Based Retirement Plans * Median Annual Family Income


Separation & Divorce Rate * Share of Two-Parent Families * Share of Families Living Below the Poverty Line * Share of Families Receiving Food Stamps * Paid Family Leave * Unemployment Rate * Underemployment Rate * Wealth Gap * Foreclosure Rate * Job Security * Job Opportunities

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