Posted by: Howard Dvorkin, CPA
Date of post: November 30, 2015

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, 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
  • Childcare costs

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

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

But the most shocking ranking is the state that comes in as the third-cheapest state to raise a family. That’s California, and while you may think you know why, check out the study’s findings first.

While it has the second-highest U.S. housing costs, it also has these to consider when you’re deciding where to raise a family…

  • “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 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, an educational resource for those who want to conquer all forms of debt in their lives.