Whether you’re an anxious parent-to-be or harried mom or dad to six kids, where you choose to raise your progeny is of tantamount importance. Because, let’s face it, some cities and towns are simply more family-friendly than others.
For the second year in a row, Overland Park, KS, was named the best place in the nation to raise a family, according to a recent report from personal finance website WalletHub. The median list price in the suburb of Kansas City, KS, is $349,000, according to realtor.com®.
“Folks should consider being close to family, where the job prospects are good for their particular fields, affordability of housing, the cost of living, and where there are good schools for their children,” says Joseph Kirchner, senior economist for realtor.com. “For most people it’s the quality of the [local] public schools that matters, because that’s where they’re likely to send their children.”
(WalletHub looked at a variety of factors across 182 cities to come up with its rankings. It included things like family recreation (playgrounds and other kid-friendly attractions) per capita; health and safety; access to affordable and high-quality education and child care; general affordability, which includes housing; and socioeconomic factors, including unemployment, divorce, and poverty rates.
Where are the best places to raise a family?
Overland Park’s ranking was due to its having the highest median family income when adjusted for the local cost of living and the second most affordable housing, according to the report. It also has the second-lowest percentage of families living in poverty.
“It’s an ideal place to raise kids,” says local real estate agent Carol Chartrand of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, based in Overland Park. “You just can’t beat the cost of living, the affordable housing, and the education.”
Most of her clients are families seeking four-bedroom, 2.5- to three-bathroom homes with two- or three-car garages on a quarter-acre in suburban subdivisions. They run from $250,000 to $300,000. Most of the subdivisions in Overland Park are 30 to 60 years old, but there are new communities going up in the southern portion of the city.
“We have great schools, great shopping, and lots to do in terms of family activities,” Chartrand says. “It’s very reasonably priced compared to so many places in the country.”
And it wasn’t the only smart pick for folks and their offspring.
10 best places to raise a family:
- Overland Park, KS
- Irvine, CA
- Fremont, CA
- South Burlington, VT
- Bismarck, ND
- Plano, TX
- Fargo, ND
- Sioux Falls, SD
- Huntington Beach, CA
- Gilbert, AZ
Where are the worst places to raise a family?
Many of the cities that were ranked as some of the worst for raising families earned low marks for affordability and socioeconomic factors (e.g., share of families living in poverty). Some also had higher violent-crime rates per capita.
Newark, NJ, shot up from No. 9 last year to the top spot.
The city, just outside of New York City, had the fewest playgrounds per capita and the second-lowest median family salary (adjusted for cost of living).
10 worst places to raise a family:
- Newark, NJ
- Detroit, MI
- Miami, FL
- Cleveland, OH
- Hialeah, FL
- Baltimore, MD
- San Bernardino, CA
- Memphis, TN
- Birmingham, AL
- Wilmington, DE