With about 11% of Americans have moved during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, personal finance website WalletHub decided to release a report on 2022's "Best and Worst States to Raise a Family."

New Jersey made the top 10, coming in as the 10th best state to raise a family, Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst said.

To determine which states were the best to put down family roots, Gonzalez said it compared all 50 states across 51 key indicators of family-friendliness.

That included not only median annual family income and housing affordability, but also education, child care, and family fun.

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New Jersey ranked number one in the education and child care category. Gonzalez said it's no secret that the Garden State has one of the best public school education systems in the country so that certainly helps.

The daycare quality in New Jersey is great and there are a lot of child daycare services per capita, she added.

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Andy Dean
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The state also did well when it came to affordability. Maybe not so much for taxes, but she said child care is less costly in New Jersey than in some other states. It also helps that when comparing these things to income, New Jersey has the third-highest family income in the country.

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(Brick Township Police Department Facebook Page)
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Also helping New Jersey get into the top 10 was the low separation and divorce rate and violent crime rate. Gonzalez said New Jersey is on the safer side with a lower violent crime rate than most other states. In terms of socio-economics, the state has a very low separation and divorce rate, which means more two-parent families and longer marriages.

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First lady Jill Biden speaks at a playground outside of the Samuel Smith Elementary School in Burlington, N,J., on Monday, March 15, 2021. (Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times via AP, Pool)
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However, there was one category where New Jersey could use some improvement and that's family fun.

"We're looking for things that you can do with young children and New Jersey certainly has some, especially when it comes to amusement parks and the arts," Gonzalez said. But, it could have some more when it comes to recreation like more playgrounds.

As far as New Jersey's neighbors, Gonzalez said New York did better on the list. It ranked the second best state to raise a family. Pennsylvania ranked in the top half of the list, ranking 21st, and Delaware just a few spots further down at 29th.

Massachusetts is the number one state to raise a family scoring high in the three key categories: family fun, health and safety, and education and child care. New York is second, followed by Vermont, Minnesota, and Nebraska.

The five worst states to raise a family were mostly in the south. Mississippi is the worst, followed by New Mexico, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Oklahoma.

For a full report, visit: https://wallethub.com/edu/best-states-to-raise-a-family/31065.

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