America’s system of federalism means that the is- sues that most directly impact the lives of parents and families are often most appropriately dealt with at the state level. While many conversations about how to make family life more affordable and achiev- able in the U.S. tend to focus on the federal tax code, state policy interacts with how families live their dai- ly lives—at school, at the workplace, and at home.
Decisions over land use, school funding, work- force training, and health care coverage vary widely from state to state. And many states are exploring how to orient their policy status quo in a more pro- family direction.
At a time when many states are strug- gling to maintain positive population growth, the five states we highlight in this report—Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas— have seen population growth rates in double digits since 2010.1 Only nine states in the nation have more chil- dren under five today than they did a decade ago—and Texas, Florida, and Tennessee are among their number.
Our five selected states share some key similarities—they are benefitting from the U.S. population’s re-balancing towards the Sun Belt, they boast business-friendly economic climates, and they are, on the whole, politically conservative, though not uniformly so.
Families are voting with their feet towards the Southeast, and governors in these states have already placed a rhetorical down payment on helping their respective states be more friendly to families.
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