Top 7 Best states for education in the US with the Best quality of life – 2024

Various factors are considered when moving to a new location, and one of those factors involves the educational level of the state you wish to move to. It reduces poverty, boosts the economy, and promotes low crime rates in the region. In the United States, there is always quality education present in every state. However, some states rank higher than others in terms of enrollment rates, graduation rates, and the cost of college tuition. 

To help you decide in which state your children should enroll in terms of tertiary education, here are the top 7 best states for education in the US with the best quality of life in 2024.

Best states for education in the United States


We based our ranking of the best states for tertiary education in the US in 2024 on the following criteria: safety, cost of living, and the lists of top-notch universities in every state, plus the quality of life.

Our safety ranking methodology is based on a careful analysis of the total number of crime incidents reported by law enforcement agencies that were submitted to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data and covers the total population in 2022. To ensure accuracy, we calculated the average number of various crimes per 100,000 people.

The cost of living data refers to the cost of utilities, transportation, and groceries needed by a certain individual who plans to live in each state where they plan to study.

The “best quality of life” aspect is measured based on feedback from real people who have moved to this area in our database or real people from trusted online forums. More specifically, we look for positive feedback on job opportunities, quality of education, quality of healthcare, feeling of safety, public transportation, environment (cleanliness), as well as availability of recreational facilities and parks.


Widgets Magazine

Best states for education in the US

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1. New York

Los Angeles
  • Population: 19,571,216
  • Offenses: 20,148
  • Crimes: 103 crimes per 100,000 people
  • Cost of living: $3,601.91

New York is a global hub of culture and finance, offers boundless opportunities and a vibrant lifestyle. Boasting renowned universities such as Columbia, NYU, and Cornell, the city provides access to top-tier education across various fields. With 270 colleges and universities and over 30,000 different programs to choose from, New York is one of the best states for education in the US.

Alongside educational excellence, it has public parks to provide serene spaces for study and relaxation, contributing to a high quality of life. With a low crime rate of 103 crimes per 100,000 people and a cost of living of $3,601.91, New York stands out as an ideal environment for both learning and living, offering endless opportunities to pursue your dreams and make them a reality.

US Census (2023), FBI Crime Data (2022) & Cost of living in New York (Jan 2024)

New York, US

2. New Hampshire

7. New Hampshire - Best States to Retire in the US
  • Population: 1,402,054
  • Offenses: 3,377
  • Crimes: 241 crimes per 100,000 people
  • Cost of living: $2,094.40

New Hampshire, which has 18 higher learning institutions and five public universities, including Dartmouth College and the University of New Hampshire, excels as a top state for education and graduates due to its robust economic market. Despite ranking low in funding per capita for public higher education the state maintains a 70% 4-year graduation rate. Locals benefit from a low student-to-faculty ratio, ensuring personalized attention. With a strong pre-K12 education system, ranked 4th nationwide by US News, New Hampshire offers excellent living options in metropolitan residential cities. 

Locals, especially the students, love its small size, which encompasses vast forests, towering mountains, and bustling cities, providing diverse recreational activities like skiing, hiking, and photography.

US Census (2023), FBI Crime Data (2022) & Moving to New Hampshire (Jan 2024)

New Hampshire, US

3. New Jersey

4. New Jersey - Best States for Education in the US in 2022
  • Population: 9,290,841
  • Offenses: 20,391
  • Crimes: 219 crimes per 100,000 people
  • Cost of living: $2,805.27

The New Jersey government supports its students through the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE), which provides a website for easy access to basic needs support like transportation, housing, and food aid. This initiative reflects the state’s commitment to enhancing the higher education experience. In addition to these benefits, New Jersey offers a safe environment with a low crime rate of 219 crimes per 100,000 people and a reasonable cost of living at $2,805.27

Students also enjoy the state’s natural attractions, including biking, camping, skiing, fishing, and hiking in numerous state parks, alongside a blend of rural and scenic countryside. Notable educational institutions in New Jersey include Princeton University, Rutgers University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and others.

US Census (2023), FBI Crime Data (2022) & Moving to New Jersey (Jan 2024)

New Jersey, US

4. Wisconsin

5. Wisconsin - Best States for Education in the US in 2022
  • Population: 5,910,955
  • Offenses: 32,271
  • Crimes: 546 crimes per 100,000 people
  • Cost of living: $2,020.34

Wisconsin is home to prestigious universities like the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Marquette University, and Lawrence University, offering a wide array of educational opportunities. With 85 colleges and universities, including public, non-profit, private, and for-profit institutions, Wisconsin ensures accessibility to higher education. The University of Wisconsin System, comprising 26 campuses, including UW-Madison, stands out as a leading research institution. Additionally, private universities like Marquette and Beloit College offer unique academic programs. Community and technical colleges provide affordable education options, while technical colleges cater to those pursuing trades. 

While the crime rate is 546 crimes per 100,000 people, Wisconsin also has a relatively low cost of living of $2,020.34, making it an ideal place for both education and quality of life. During their free time, students can enjoy outdoor activities year-round, such as swimming, hiking, and camping.

US Census (2023), FBI Crime Data (2022) & Moving to Wisconsin (Jan 2024)

Wisconsin, US

5. Massachusetts

1. Massachusetts - Best States for Education in the US in 2022
  • Population: 7,001,399
  • Offenses: 42,588 
  • Crimes: 608 crimes per 100,000 people
  • Cost of living: $3,094.92

Massachusetts hosts over 80 colleges and universities, including prestigious institutions like Harvard University, MIT, and Boston University, fostering a vibrant intellectual community. Despite the high cost of elite universities, Massachusetts offers excellent higher education opportunities through its community colleges. While it has a crime rate of 608 crimes per 100,000 people, the cost of living at $3,094.92 ensures a high-quality lifestyle.

The state offers diverse activities for students’ free time, from antique shopping to water park adventures. Every region, from the Berkshires to Cape Cod, provides memorable adventures for all ages. However, always check the weather if you wish to do fun outdoor activities.

US Census (2023), FBI Crime Data (2022) & Moving to Massachusetts (Jan 2024)

Massachusetts, US

6. Maryland

9. Maryland - Best States for Education in the US in 2022
  • Population: 6,180,253
  • Offenses: 39,343
  • Crimes: 637 crimes per 100,000 people
  • Cost of living: $2,205.44

Maryland offers 55 colleges, mostly public four-year or private non-profit institutions. St. John’s College, founded in 1696, is the oldest, while Johns Hopkins University is the most selective. The state boasts vast educational opportunities and a strong economy, with the second-highest share of technology companies. Beyond academics, the state offers recreational activities in parks, beaches, mountains, and entertainment venues.

With its diverse cultures, Maryland also offers excellent food options. With beaches, major cities, beautiful countryside, and proximity to Washington, D.C., Maryland claims to be the ideal destination for international education. The state boasts Study Maryland, a non-profit group that supports international students and scholars in choosing Maryland for their studies. For safety, it has a reported crime rate of 637 crimes per 100,000 people, and the cost of living is reasonable at $2,205.44.

US Census (2023), FBI Crime Data (2022) & Moving to Maryland (Jan 2024)

Maryland, US

7. Washington

2. Washington - Best States for Education in the US in 2022
  • Population: 7,812,880
  • Offenses: 55,580
  • Crimes: 711 crimes per 100,000 people
  • Cost of living: $2,860.04

Washington’s state is home to six public four-year colleges and universities and over 300 independent colleges, universities, and career schools. With a wealth of scholars, research agencies, and international government organizations, Washington is among the best states for education and can provide a wide range of opportunities for students and young professionals. Notable institutions include the University of Washington, Washington State University, Seattle University, Gonzaga University, Pacific Lutheran University, Whitman College, and Western Washington University.

The state offers active music, art, food, sports, and theater scenes, along with diverse cultural and social events. Students can explore unique attractions like Winthrop and Treehouse Point, as well as enjoy professional sports teams in basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, football, and tennis. The students are safe because of the low crime rate of 711 crimes per 100,000 people, and the cost of living is reasonable at $2,860.04.

US Census (2023), FBI Crime Data (2022) & Cost of living in Washington, D.C. (Jan 2024)

Washington, US

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Education is important to any individual or family, so choosing the perfect state for education is a crucial yet essential decision. Therefore, if you are considering moving across the US, you must identify the factors that suit your or your children’s level of education and needs before choosing a state. 

Are you moving to the USA, soon? Check the best long-distance companies in the USA!


Last year’s ranking (2023)

  1. Washington
  2. New York
  3. Massachusetts
  4. New Hampshire
  5. New Jersey
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Maryland
  8. Delaware
  9. Connecticut
  10. Virginia


Our rankings are meticulously curated, considering safety, cost of living, and the lists of top-notch universities in every state, plus the quality of life. It’s important to highlight that certain places may have changed from last year’s lists due to fluctuations in criteria used in our methodology. We encourage readers to weigh these rankings in light of their individual needs and preferences for a more informed decision-making process.


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Ann Nacario

The author

Meet Ann – our head writer with a knack for making moving and city living a breeze. From the many details of moving to picking the perfect moving company, she’s your guide. Ann has a friendly yet detailed approach to ensure your move goes off without a hitch. When she’s not writing about relocation, it will always be on her mind, but you’ll catch her spending time with her three furry friends.

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