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New England ranked best for raising children

How does your state rank?
CNN's Pat Etheridge talks with authorities and residents about the rankings
Windows Media 28K 80K

Louisiana and D.C. worst, child advocacy group says

July 27, 1999
Web posted at: 9:56 a.m. EDT (1356 GMT)

In this story:

How states were ranked


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- New England, especially Maine, is the best place in the country for raising children, while Washington, D.C. -- where the Children's Rights Council announced its 1999 state rankings Tuesday -- is the worst.

David Levy, president of the child advocacy group, says the purpose of the report is to "encourage friendly competition among the states."

"We're not saying if you live in Alaska or Florida or Texas or some other state you should pack up your bags and move to Maine tomorrow. Maine would be overwhelmed. But what we are saying is that every state can do better," Levy told CNN.

How states were ranked

The council, a non-profit organization that assists children of divorce, ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia on 10 factors:

  • Alleged abuse and neglect of children

  • Children not immunized by age 2

  • High school dropout rate

  • Children in poverty

  • Child death rate

  • Infant mortality rate

  • Pregnant women not receiving prenatal care in the first trimester

  • Juvenile arrests

  • Divorces

  • Teen mothers

"Parents have a big role to play in whether these figures go up or down in (their) state," Levy said. "It may take a village to raise a child, but the village starts with parents."

a mother
This Massachusetts mother says great parks and schools make parenting easier in her state  

In the council's fifth annual survey, Maine advanced from eighth place to the number one spot, replacing Iowa, which fell to 10th.

"This is primarily due to an increase in the graduation rate, a decrease of the children in poverty rate, and a decrease in the teen birth rate in Maine," the group said in a news release.

All five top-ranked states are in New England. After Maine came Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire.

California, the country's most populous state, ranked 46th. It was followed at the bottom of the list by Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana and Washington, D.C.

Correspondent Pat Etheridge contributed to this report written by Jim Morris

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Children's Rights Council
  • Best states
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