10 Best & Worst States to Raise a Girl: Is Yours on the List?

Suzee Skwiot | Oct 2, 2014 Big Kid

mom and daughter

Parents of daughters, ask yourselves this: How is your state helping your girls? The Girl Scout Research Institute recently published its report, "The State of Girls: Thriving or Surviving?" which examines, catalogues, and ranks each state in the United States depending on the resources and quality of life that it provides its young ladies. From physical health and safety to economic well-being, educational efforts, emotional health, and extracurricular activities, the organization evaluated all 50 states. And you'll never believe how they performed.

Take a look below at the 10 best (ranked from best to worse) and 10 worst (ranked from bad to worst), and see where your state stacks up.

Are you surprised by the state that ranked dead last?


Image © Sebastien Desarmaux/Corbis

  • 1. Best -- New Hampshire

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    In the state's survey of it's 101,956 girls, aged 5 to 17, the Girl Scouts found New Hampshire to be the best for its young female population. The state ranked highly in all categories, including, physical health and safety, economic well-being, education, emotional health, and extracurricular activities, making it the best place to raise a daughter.

  • 2. Best -- North Dakota

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    While second overall, North Dakota ranks first in economic well-being for its girls. In total, 10 percent of all girls in North Dakota are living in poverty as opposed to 22 percent in the whole country.

  • 3. Best -- South Dakota

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    While South Dakota ranks top in emotional health for girls, it's also first in extracurricular activities. In fact, 88 percent of girls ages 6 to 17 participate in at least one extracurricular activity.

  • 4. Best -- Massachusetts

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    Massachusetts' educational system is most impressive. Get this: 54 percent of fourth-grade girls in Massachusetts are proficient in reading, compared to 37 percent of girls in the country. On top of that, 51 percent of eighth-grade girls are proficient in math, and that's compared to 34 percent overall in the country.

  • 5. Best -- Vermont

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    Vermont ranks in the top five, but the Girl Scouts organization also found that only 8 percent of girls ages 6 to 17 have experienced neighborhood violence -- that's compared to 11 percent in the nation.

  • 6. Best -- Connecticut

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    Young women in Connecticut have high educational opportunities and the organization has found that 71 of 3- to 4-year-old girls are enrolled in preschool. That's compared to 48 percent in the United States.

  • 7. Best -- Minnesota

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    The state of girls in Minnesota reveals that while the state does place highly in all categories, it performs best in making sure its girls are safe and healthy. In fact, 20 percent of girls ages 10 to 17 are overweight or obese and 10 percent have experienced neighborhood violence. That's significantly lower than the overall country.

  • 8. Best -- Virginia

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    Virginia's young women were ranked as having some of the best emotional health in the nation. Girl Scouts found that seven percent of girls in the state needed treatment for emotional, behavioral, and developmental issues. And that's two percent less than the country.

  • 9. Best -- New Jersey

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    While New Jersey ranks ninth on the overall list, the state is most impressive in its educational pursuits. It shows that 63 percent of 3- to 4-year-old girls are enrolled in preschool and 82 percent of them are participating in at least one after school activity.

     

  • 10. Best -- Utah

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    While Utah's educational system ranks 32nd overall, its encouragement of extracurricular activities is second in the nation. About 84 percent of girls ages 6 to 17 participate in at least one after school.

  • 9. Worst -- Georgia

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    Georgia's opportunities for it's youngest female population are mostly hurt by the educational factors and the emotional well-being for the ladies. Believe it or not, only half of its 3- to 4- year-old girls are enrolled in preschool. Later on, only 48 percent of its girls end up attending college.

  • 8. Worst -- Tennessee

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    With over half a million girls aged 5 to 17 living in Tennessee, the state ranks low in all five categories. The volunteer state performed poorly in girls' physical health and safety, economic well-being, education, emotional health, and extracurricular activities.

     

  • 7. Worst -- West Virginia

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    West Virginia's low ranking can be attributed to to the low extracurricular activities available to it's ladies. On top of that, the organization also found that one in 10 of its girls needs treatment for emotional, behavioral, and developmental issues.

     

  • 6. Worst -- Louisiana

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    Louisiana might be 45th in ranking nationwide, but its educational system is largely failing its girls. A quarter of the fourth graders in the state meet reading requirements and less then a quarter (22 percent, in fact) of eighth graders are proficient in math.

     

  • 5. Worst -- Oklahoma

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    The physical health and safety of the girls in Oklahoma is what mostly contributes to its ranking. For example, 29 percent of girls ages 10 to 17 are overweight or obese and 16 percent have experienced neighborhood violence throughout the state.

  • 4. Worst -- Arizona

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    Statewide, Arizona has one of the largest populations of young women. In total, the Girls Scouts estimated 577,892 girls aged 5 to 17 live in the the Grand Canyon state. But unfortunately, it ranks low in all categories, especially when it comes to the ladies' physical health and safety. The organization found that just about 13 of girls ages 6 to 17 have experienced neighborhood violence over the past year.

  • 3. Worst -- New Mexico

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    New Mexico's economic standing definitely contributes to it's low ranking. The Land of Enchantment has 182,206 girls ages 5 to 17, but reports that about 28 percent of these school-age girls are living in poverty.

  • 2. Worst -- Nevada

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    Nevada ranks 49th overall, but is last in education and extracurricular activities for its girls. The Girl Scouts found that 28% of fourth-grade girls in Nevada are proficient in reading and 28% of eighth-grade girls are proficient in math. That's roughly six and nine percent less, respectively, than the country.

  • 1. Worst -- Mississippi

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    Finally, we have Mississippi. The state ranks last overall and dead last in its girls' physical health and safety, economic well-being, and emotional health ranking.

  • 10. Worst -- Arkansas

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    The 10th worst, or the 41st overall, is Arkansas. The state shows that 26 percent of its school-age girls are living in poverty, roughly 31 percent are overweight, and only 42 percent attend preschool.

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