In real estate, it's all about location, location, location and that's especially true if you're looking for a great place to raise kids. Good schools, safe neighborhoods and a reasonable cost of living may all factor into your decision on where to live. If you're wondering which places are the most kid-friendly, read on to learn where you can find the best cities to raise a family.
Determining the Best Cities to Raise a Family
There are several factors that determine what makes one city better than another when you have a family. The 10 cities profiled here ranked well for families based on:
- Quality and availability of child care
- Safety and health
- Socio-economic factors, like divorce rates and poverty levels
- Overall family-friendliness
The following list contains just some of the places you might consider when you're looking for the city where you will raise a family. As you conduct your search, remember to look at things like home prices, job opportunities, relocation costs, local schools, health care, child care, crime rates, and recreation.
Keep in mind the priorities that are most important to you and your family as you weigh the cities. The following list is alphabetical by state.
Monterey Park, California
Monterey Park might be more to your liking if you prefer the surf and the sun to the snow. It's close to downtown Los Angeles but far enough away to feel insulated from the hustle and bustle. The school system is solid and graduation rates are high, and overall, the town gives off a relaxed, peaceful vibe. Compared to some of the other cities listed here, housing prices are higher but they're about what you'd expect for SoCal.
Iowa City, Iowa
Iowa City is another college town but it's full of charm that might appeal to young families. It's very walkable and there are some great attractions kids will want to check out, including the Devonian Fossil Gorge and Coralville Lake. The cost of living here is low, which is great for families who are on a budget, and it's easy to feel at home when you're soaking up the local history.
Overland Park, Kansas
Overland Park ranks high on the livability scale for families, with highly affordable housing, a stable local economy, and top-notch schools. Add in a solid health care system, plenty of places to shop and play, and a low crime rate and it's easy to see why it's one of the best cities to raise a family.
One of the biggest of the best cities to raise a family, Minneapolis is a treasure trove of things to do with children. From checking out a Vikings game to strolling through the Minnesota Children's Museum to visiting the Minneapolis Zoo, there are endless ways to keep kids occupied. Home prices in Minneapolis and the Twin Cities area, in general, have been increasing over the last couple of years but there are still bargains to be had.
North Arlington, New Jersey
North Arlington, New Jersey is located just a stone's throw from New York City, making it a great place for families looking for suburban amenities and a convenient commute. The schools here come highly rated, crime is low and there are plenty of family-oriented things to see and do locally, not to mention all the attractions next door in the Big Apple.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh is part of the Triangle, which includes Durham and Chapel Hill, and it's a hub for young professionals working in the tech, aerospace and automotive industries. As the state capital, there's no shortage of things to do with kids, including museums and parks, but you can escape the big city noise in one of Raleigh's smaller, family-friendly suburbs.
Franklin, Tennessee is a smaller town but it could be ideal if you're looking for a cozier place to call home. Aside from being a low-key, quiet place to live it's also very budget-friendly in terms of the overall cost of living. It's big enough that you can find things to do as a family but not so big that you'll feel lost the way you might in nearby Nashville.
Plano is a thriving city that's seen a huge economic upturn in recent years, thanks to the new industry moving in. That means plenty of jobs for young adults looking for a place to settle and start a family. Plano's got an outstanding crime rate and while it's a growing city, home prices remain reasonable. What really makes Plano attractive for families is the sense of community that abounds, giving it a small-town feel, despite a population approaching 300,000.
Leesburg is close enough to the Washington D.C. metro area to make it a good choice for commuting professionals but far enough away so that you don't feel overshadowed by the nation's capital. It's exceptionally safe and as is the case with many Virginia cities, the local schools offer a quality education. Housing is a bit more expensive but that's typical of cities closer to D.C.
If you're looking for a place that gets plenty of snow in winter, Madison fits the bill. It is a college town, but families can fit in well here and the abundance of parks and lakes makes it an especially good choice if you're raising nature-lovers. Poverty levels are low and housing doesn't break the bank. Rounding out the list of reasons to consider Madison as one of the best cities to raise a family is the excellent local school system.