12 Great Cities to Raise a Family in the U.S.
Once you have kids, figuring out where to settle down and raise your family is no easy feat. There are so many factors for parents to consider when making the big decision: from good public schools to affordable housing to access to well-paying jobs, the list goes on and on.
We’ve narrowed down the best of the best to give you a head start on your search.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Median Home Price: $242,500
Great schools (with an 88.2 percent graduation rate), affordable homes, a diverse population, access to well-paying jobs and close proximity to world-class universities like Duke University and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill makes North Carolina’s capital city a consistent family favorite.
Raleigh was recently ranked by Niche as the #18 best city to raise a family. The survey took into account key statistics from the U.S. Department of Education and “millions of reviews.” The city also ranks #22 on WalletHub’s extensive study of the best places to raise a family.
Median Home Price: $238,375
The capital city of Wisconsin ranks high among various surveys and studies of the best cities to raise a family in the U.S including ones from WalletHub, Parenting and U.S. News.
What makes this bustling city such a hit? Madison is filled with tons of family-friendly activities like the Henry Vilas Zoo, Olbrich Botanical Gardens and Madison Children’s Museum, not to mention that it’s home to walking trails, five lakes, numerous parks and various beaches. In fact, it’s gone more playgrounds per capita than most other cities in America.
It’s also known as one of the greenest cities in the U.S. and boasts an impressive 2.4 percent unemployment rate.
Population: Approx. 250,000
Median Home Price: $750,000
This master planned community in Southern Orange County is consistently ranked one of the safest (and cleanest) cities in the U.S. year after year. In fact, the FBI named it one of the safest cities in the nation for 12 straight years and counting.
Add to that an award-winning school district where 90 percent of graduates get into college, tons of impeccably maintained park, as well as being the hometown of the University of California, Irvine, and it’s no surprise that families choose to settle there — if they can afford it.
And don’t forget that the beach, Disneyland, Legoland and Knott’s Berry Farm are all just a quick freeway ride away.
Median Home Price: $350,000
This small Chicago-adjacent suburb was named by Niche as the best city to raise a family in 2018. Naperville was recognized for its top-notch public schools (there are 34 elementary schools), diversity, plethora of outdoor kid-friendly activities such as the Riverwalk and Centennial Beach, and affordability.
It was also recently named by MONEY as one of the top 10 places to live in the U.S. and consistently ranks on many lists as one of the safest cities in the nation as well.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Median Home Price: $274,000
This nature lover’s city was recently ranked by the U.S. News and World Report as the 2nd best city to live in the United States (Austin, TX was first.) and it’s not hard to see why young families have been flocking there over the years.
Besides easy access to tons of amazing outdoor activities, Colorado Springs also offers a low cost of living, high ranking schools and low unemployment rates. And come winter, Aspen and Vail are just a short drive away.
Median Home Price: $236,267
It’s not just for country music fans. Nashville has is one of those rare metropolitan cities that also happens to be super family-friendly.
With mild weather and easy access to many cultural landmarks such as the Music City Walk of Fame, Nashville Zoo and the famous Country Music Hall of Fame, there’s something for everyone. Public school in Nashville are all great across the board with an impressive teacher to student ratio of 10 to 1.
And with a cost of living that’s 3.4 percent below the national average, Nashville may be the next place you want to call home.
Overland Park, Kansas
Median Home Price: $296,000
Yes, Overland Park can be proud of great schools, a low crime rate and more than 85 parks but what really may set this city apart from the others on the list is money.
An extensive WalletHub report ranked Overland Park as the best city in America for families and revealed that after adjusting for cost of living, the city’s residents had one of the highest median family salaries in the nation — and that’s nothing to scoff at since all parents know just how expensive raising a family can be.
Median Home Price: $344,300
Austin is hot, hot, hot for families right now.
That’s because it has the right blend of being hip enough to not be too suburban yet still filled with all the qualities many families are looking for when they decide where to settle down: great schools, affordable homes, job availability, mild weather and enough diversity of food, shopping and population to keep things interesting.
The average housing cost is just under 24 percent of the average household income and the city has a 93.1 percent high school graduation rate. Not too shabby.
San Antonio, Texas
Median Home Price: $216,900
What can we say? Texas is having its day in the sun right now. Coming in at 5th on a list of the 25 most family-friendly cities from Homes.com, the Alamo City ranked high in low crimes rates and short commute times, allowing families to spend more time together.
Kid favorites Six Flags Fiesta Texas and SeaWorld are all within city limits. Locals especially love the numerous gorgeous parks throughout the city filled with zero-entry pools, fountains and play structures.
Median Home Price: $998,888
Not only does this posh San Francisco Bay city have one of the lowest crime rates in the nation according to the FBI, it’s apparently also a great place to live if you want to maintain a strong marriage.
A 2018 WalletHub report dubbed Fremont as the happiest city in America and revealed that Fremont has the lowest divorce rate in all of the nation — perhaps happier kids equals happier parents? There are lots of well-paying jobs nearby thanks to its proximity to Silicon Valley and tons of family-friendly activities like outdoor movie nights, the Aqua Adventure Water Park and the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge.
Fremont is also home to over 55,000 trees making its air quality far better than the national average.
Median Home Price: $777,000
While Seattle definitely isn’t the most affordable city on our list, there’s no doubt that this city is family-friendly heaven — as long as you can stand the rain.
The Seattle Center offers tons of kid-friendly attractions from the famous Space Needle to the Seattle Children’s Museum to the Pacific Science Center and there are tons of parks around the city that have free wading pools and fountains to help cool kids down during the few warm months of the year.
It’s also a cultural landmine with various music festivals, food fairs and tons of amazing food options throughout the city. And if the great outdoors is your family’s thing, the lush landscape of the Pacific Northwest and all of the hiking available will be sure to sate your needs.
As the home to many tech companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Zillow, Seattle also boasts a super hot job market.
Des Moines, Iowa
Population: 635,725 (metro population)
Median Home Price: $139,500
Quiet suburbs filled with affordable lovely homes that are just a short distance away from the more scene-y downtown where various cultural events take place throughout the year.
All of the public schools boast a low student to teacher ratio and working parents will be glad to hear that the average commute time is approximately 20 minutes. And thanks to relatively higher paying jobs and lower cost of living, families are able to enjoy a far higher standard of living than they would elsewhere.
This capital city also has more than 300 miles of walking and bike trails for families to enjoy. It’s no wonder the Census Bureau found Des Moines to be the fastest growing Midwest city. Des Moines was ranked by finance website Value Penguin in 2016 as the 4th “Best City for Young Families.”