Best Places to Live

2018 10 Best Places to Raise a Family

Affordable childcare. Awesome parks. Epic candy stores. These family-friendly cities have it all.

We all have fond memories of our childhood hometown — summer nights playing outside with the neighbor kids until dusk, pancakes at the local diner with mom and dad, and the special teachers who stayed late to go over a tricky assignment.

Cities are so much more than a collection of houses, schools and businesses; they help shape our personality and are often a large part of our identity. Knowing the important role that place plays in growing up, Livability's data scientists and editors once again searched the country looking for the absolute best places to raise a family.

There are so many factors that contribute to having a happy family life and childhood, which is why we used a diverse set of kid-friendly measures to come up with our 2018 list, such as the availability (and affordability) of daycare, the number of other kids to play with, the quality of local schools, transportation options, cost of living, and number of parks and libraries.

And to really get at the heart of what makes these communities so exceptional, we chatted with true local “experts” — kids from each city — about why they love growing up there. We even factored in the number of nearby candy stores. In fact, this is Livability’s most kid-centric list ever.  

Curious to learn which cities rose to the top? Read on to discover the 10 Best Places to Raise a Family in 2018...

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Ranking Criteria

Number of potential playmates (percent of the population that is under age 6)
Quality of public schools
Measures of children’s health
Affordability of housing and transportation options
Cost of childcare
Number of daycare options, parks and libraries
And, because we know what really matters to kids: the number of candy stores