Location has a big effect on families' costs and ability to meet them. Here are the five cheapest states to raise a family.


Although Idaho's median income of $49,952 is below the national figure, this lower income is offset by the state's low cost of living. Idaho has the third-lowest food costs in the nation, paying 10.4 percent less than the national average. The state also offers affordable housing.


Virginia families have the fourth-highest median income in the nation. They pay more for housing than most Americans, but these costs aren't disproportionate to the state's median income. Food costs are 7.2 percent lower than the national average.


California laws allow workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave in a 12-month period, which can be combined with maternity leave or disability leave to give new mothers up to 28 weeks off. Additionally, California's median household income is about $5,000 higher than the national median.


The state's food costs are 7.8 percent lower than the national median, and child care is at least $1,100 cheaper a year for every age group. Families earning the state's median household income of $60,053 have $667 more in their monthly budgets than the average American household.


Tennessee has the second-lowest child care costs in the nation, paying just 63 percent of the national median for full-time infant care. Tennessee families pay just under $200 less a month than the national median for rent, and food costs are 5 percent cheaper than the national average.