Is Massachusetts a parenting paradise?

Terence S. Jones photography

Massachusetts may boast some of the country’s highest rents and property taxes, (not to mention a serious lack of public parking in Boston), but if you’re raising a family you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place to live.

According to the 2012 Kids Count Data Book, released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Massachusetts is the second-best state in America for child well-being. The national study took into account health, education, community and economic factors when compiling the rankings.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of a recent Parenting Magazine poll that gave Boston top honors in its annual “Best Cities for Families” list. The recognition from Parenting hit extra close to home for all of us here at Boston Children’s Hospital, because our hospital was specifically cited as one of the main reasons Boston is a parenting Eden:

“Boston is also home to the premier Boston Children’s Hospital which houses the world’s largest research center based in a pediatric hospital with more than 1,100 scientists working to find treatments and cures for childhood diseases.”

With the Red Sox recently slipping back into last place in their division we figured Massachusetts residents would appreciate some positivity to rally around. But rather than simply share the good news, we wanted to expand the conversation even further. There are a lot of great reasons to raise a child in Massachusetts, but what specifically are your favorites? Here’s what a few members of our staff had to say:

The Ulrich boys cool down at one of Boston's public bathing fountains

“It’s a place that manages to mix nature and culture, to have a thriving artistic and intellectual scene, to be full of history and still remain family friendly. (And having grandparents nearby doesn’t hurt!) –Tom Ulrich, senior science writer at Boston Children’s

The Cyr triplets at Southwick's Zoo in Mendon


“I love how easy it is to get outside to enjoy each season. Right now, summer equals trips to the pool and zoo.” – Matt Cyr, Boston children’s director of Patient and Family Communications and Thriving editor

The Brown/McCarthy family

“My favorite things are the beaches and museums (there are so many—and an aquarium too!) No matter what your child is into, there’s a place where they can explore their budding interests.”- Claire McCarthy, MD, primary care physician and the Medical Communications Editor

The Coldwell cousins prepare to explore the depths of the Atlantic

“You can’t beat living less than an hour from the ocean. My daughter and my nephew both swim like seals, and from April through October, you’ll never hear them say that the water’s too cold for swimming.” – Stephen Coldwell, Senior communication writer, Boston Children’s

What about you? What’s your favorite part about being a MASS mom or Dad? Let us know in the comments section or on our Facebook wall.