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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The decision to live in a certain state is often made by comparing multiple factors, one of the biggest being the ability to raise a healthy, stable family. After comparing all 50 states, a new study ranked Arkansas as the seventh worst state to raise a family.

WalletHub compared the 50 states across five key dimensions like family fun, health and safety, education and childcare, affordability and socioeconomics.

Overall, data from the study shows Massachusetts as the best state to raise a family and Mississippi as the worst.

According to experts, safety is one the top indicators that a state is a right for settling down and raising a family.

Arkansas ranked the worst among the health and safety metrics. Along with Louisiana, New Mexico, Tennessee and Alaska, Arkansas was one of the states with the highest number of violent crimes per capita, WalletHub reported.

Main, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey were among the top five safest states, the study said.

“…communities that are supportive and provide access to quality health care, a range of human services, quality education, affordable and healthy food, and safe neighborhoods and homes may positively impact the well-being of children and family life,” Theresa J. Russo, a professor at State University of New York at Oneonta, said.

Another area Arkansas ranked low in compared to other states was the percent of families in poverty and the separation and divorce rate in the state, WalletHub said.

According to experts, socioeconomic factors truly affect a family’s well-being and ability to support one another.

“Social support is a key factor in well-being. When you have a great network of people to lean on for a sympathetic ear, advice, and help, the daily stresses of raising a family become much easier to manage,” Patty Kuo, an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska, said. “Consider choosing a place to live where you are well-networked with supportive friends and family.”

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