This story originally appeared on Zippia.
The median income for middle-class families hasn’t changed much in 20 years.
In addition, the middle class is struggling to save for retirement. Between paying for a home and day care costs, many middle-class families are relying on borrowing money rather than saving it.
However, some states treat working families better than others. We set out to find the states where child care is affordable, workers have more free time, and owning a house isn’t just an American dream, it’s a reality.
We ranked each state in five categories:
- Quality of public schools
- Percentage of median income that covers day care costs
- Average home price
- Amount of hours worked
- Median commute length
The factors we looked at can be put into two categories: Time and affordability. Trying to balance working and raising a family is hard — it strains your free time and your wallet. We sought to identify the states where working families have a bit more extra cash in their pockets and a little extra time Mom or Dad can use as they please.
We used data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) to determine the median commute length and the average amount of hours worked. The less time spent on the freeway or on the clock, the better for work-life balance.
We used data from BusinessBroker.net to estimate day care costs. To determine where working families were struggling to afford child care, we compared the percentage of median income to the average day care cost in each state.
We then examined the median housing cost in each state, once again from the ACS. Finally, we used WalletHub school rankings to evaluate the free public education system available.
Based on our analysis, following are the best states for working families.