Choosing where to raise your children is one of the most important housing decisions you'll make. The right community can help get kids started on the path to a thriving childhood. Access to great schools, parks, and lots of playmates can help keep kids happy and healthy. With that in mind, we surveyed more than 2,000 cities to find the Top 10 Best Cities for Families.
How did we find them? To begin with, we crunched the numbers on the factors most important to our youngest residents. First, we looked for places with high populations of kids but low concentrations of children in poverty using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. We also used consumer spending data from Esri to find areas that had high concentrations of people buying baby food and car seats. Once we knew where the kids were, we looked for communities doing a great job of supporting them. We used data from partner GreatSchools.org to measure the quality of public schools and also looked for areas with high graduation rates. We analyzed databases to find areas with plentiful parks and libraries with programs and activities for kids. We also factored in each area’s Walk Score. Health is an important consideration as well, so we looked at factors related to healthy living, especially geared for children, like air quality. Finally, we factored in general quality of life considerations like cost of living, low commute times (less time on the road can mean more time at home with the little ones) and the crime rate.
Data tells a pretty good story, but we also always rely on the judgment of our staff and editors to take the data-driven short list and arrive at the final 10 picks. We chose a variety of cities from different geographies and sizes to round out our latest top 10. Three cities (Carmel, Overland Park and Plano) also appeared on our previous index, Best Cities for Kids 2014. The latest list examined even more factors. Be sure to check out our Best Cities for Families infographic, which also provides tips for how to use our site to find the right city for your family.
You don't have to take our word for it, however. Most of this data is available for nearly every U.S. city on Livability.com. Compare and contrast to find the perfect place for you. In the meantime, see what we came up with. Check out our Top 10 Best Cities for Families, and let us know what you think in the comments.