The top states for teens offer recreational opportunities, high-quality education, low crime rates and a general family atmosphere, giving adolescents a safe and healthful place to transition from child to adult. While living preferences vary and each state has qualities that make it special, those with low levels of family poverty, quality social relationships, community engagement opportunities and education opportunities are fantastic places for teens to come of age, as research published in 2012 by the Foundation for Child Development suggests.
California has an abundance of cultural, social and recreational experiences for teenagers. An abundance of beaches and parks, including those in Redwood National Park, San Francisco and Malibu are available for teens' enjoyment, according to Recreation.gov. According to a "U.S. News & World Report" article, California’s Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz is the 11th best high school in the nation and lists Cypress, California's Oxford Academy, a respectable 16th place. With four professional sports teams in San Jose alone, a city also ranked first in the nation for its safety relative to size, according to a 2009 "U.S. News & World Report," California offers countless entertainment opportunities for teen sports enthusiasts.
The Foundation for Child Development considers New Jersey to be one of the best states in the nation for raising children. Teen drivers rank sixth in the nation by a "U.S. News & World Report" for their safe driving habits. The state ranks first in the nation for overall child well-being and social relationships based on 2007 Foundation for Child Development data and ranks in the top 10 in family economic well-being, teen health and education attainment. A "U.S. News & World Report" lists New Jersey’s Biotechnology High School eighth and High Technology High School 12th in the nation. With the countless opportunities for teens to enjoy shopping, dining, parks, museums, sport teams and the performing arts listed on the states official tourism website, the state has something for all teens to enjoy.
New Hampshire has the distinction of being ranked in the top 10 for six of the Foundation for Child Development’s categories, including a first place ranking for family economic well-being. The state also ranks first in the nation for Kids Count, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation that tracks the overall well-being of the United States' children and families’ relationship well-being, economic and physical health and educational opportunities. New Hampshire boasts numerous cultural opportunities for teens to experience with friends and family, including water parks, museums, campgrounds, music venues and theaters, according to the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development’s website.
The Foundation for Child Development ranks Utah fourth overall for overall child well-being and first in the nation safety and low levels of risk-taking behaviors . Utah ranked 11th and 14th respectively by 2012-2013 Kids Count date for overall well-being, including high quality educational opportunities, strong family relationships and economic health. Teen drivers in Utah ranked ninth in the nation for safety, according to a 2010 "U.S. News & World Report." The state’s official website boasts numerous music and arts festivals, parks, libraries and museums, giving teens in the state many opportunities for academic and social enrichment.
- U.S. News & World Report: America’s 10 Best Places to Grow Up
- USA Today: Attractions for Teenagers in San Diego, California
- U.S. News & World Report: Best States for Teen Drivers
- Recreation.gov: Our Best Beaches: California
- U.S. News & World Report: National Rankings: Best High Schools
- Foundation for Child Development: Analyzing State Differences in Child Well-Being
- New Jersey: Find What You Are Interested In
- Kids Count: Kids Count Overall Rank
- New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development: Family Attractions
- State of Utah: Utah Arts and Leisure
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