For you and yours: the nation’s most family-friendly cities

September 23, 2017 - 2 min read

Family-friendly cities: schools, healthcare and fun for all

If you’re looking for a great place to put down roots, you might want to look westward — or at least to the Midwest. According to WalletHub’s Best & Worst Places to Raise a Family, this region claims the bulk of the nation’s most family-friendly cities.

“Family-friendly” cities are those that boast good schools, quality health care facilities and plenty of opportunities for family fun.

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The best

The list ranks cities based on their housing costs, local amenities, school districts and 41 key metrics.

Overland Park, Kansas, took the top spot as the country’s single-best place to raise a family. The town ranked No. 1 for affordability, No. 4 for socioeconomics, and No. 5 for health and safety.

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In addition, Overland Park claims the lowest share of families living below the poverty line at 3.4 percent.

Rounding out the top 10 for most family-friendly cities are:

  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Plano, Texas
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Fremont, California
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Irvine, California
  • Lincoln, Nebraska.

Three West Coast cities made the grade, but most family-friendly communities are clearly in the country’s mid-section.

The worst

On the other end of the spectrum is Birmingham, Alabama. It achieved the dubious distinction as the worst city in the country for families.

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Other cities low on the list include:

  • Detroit, Michigan
  • San Bernardino, California
  • Shreveport, Louisiana
  • Hialeah, Florida
  • Miami, Florida
  • Jackson, Mississippi
  • Augusta, Georgia
  • Newark, New Jersey
  • Memphis, Tennessee

If you’re planning on having a family, you’ll have to look harder in the South to find the amenities most desired by families.

Breaking it down

Surprisingly, massive metros like New York, Chicago and Detroit came in with the most playgrounds per capita. Scottsdale, Arizona, claimed the top spot for highest median family income (adjusted for local cost of living.)

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Aurora, Illinois, has the highest percentage of families with young kids. Fremont, California, possesses the lowest divorce rate at 11.82 percent. That’s 3.5 times lower than Cleveland’s 41.5 percent.

Irvine, California, boasts the fewest violent crimes — just 0.56 for every 1,000 residents, as well as the lowest share of families on food stamps, at 2.93 percent. For comparison, 49.5 percent of Detroit families are currently receiving food stamps.

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The list makes it clear the best spots to buy a home—and with wedding season in full swing and rates at a 10-month low, there’s no better time to pull the trigger. See what kind of rate you qualify for now.

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Aly J. Yale
Authored By: Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor
Aly J. Yale is a mortgage and real estate writer based in Houston who has contributed to Forbes and worked for organizations such as The Dallas Morning News, PBS, NBC, and Radio Disney.