Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.
Best Cities to Raise a Family in the US – the 2020 Guide
Are you planning on getting married and having children sooner or later, but the place you currently live in doesn’t quite seem like an environment where kids could have a happy and healthy childhood, sheltered from all the noise and trouble of the grownup world? But now you came to the crucial issue and wonder what qualities should the best cities to raise a family in the US have. Before picking the spot to settle down, do your research and get a more profound insight into all the things families deem important like low crime rates, kid-friendly activities, quality educational institutions, and affordable housing.
There are many cities in the US you can settle in
The city you choose to call your home should score high in all aspects that matter to you, from a peaceful and safe environment and affordable and spacious homes to lots of kid-friendly amenities, schools, and outdoor spaces. After all, when it comes to your kids and partner, you should not settle for anything but the best. Fortunately, the United States is a vast country, so finding a location that fits all of your needs won’t be that hard. The search can be made even easier if you have something to start with before house-hunting, and that’s where we come in.
We traveled far and wide to compile a list of the top family-friendly locations for you – from San Antonio in the south to the town of Bozeman in the Rockie Mountains, from sunny San Diego in the west to the lovely Tampa on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico,
What to Consider When Looking for the Best Cities to Raise a Family in the US
Even before figuring out how to change your address and telling your friends that you are moving you need to do comprehensive research and choose the new community to settle down in. After all, you will be picking the location where your kids will grow up, and that should be a healthy environment in more ways than one. Priorities change when kids get into the picture, some advantages of moving alone to another state might look like disadvantages, and so on. Remember that, and take into consideration things such as quality of educational institutions, livability score, activities appropriate for children, and crime rates.
If You Want to Keep Your Family Safe – Check out Crime Rates
No matter if you are moving during holidays, summer, or in the middle of the spring, the safety of your family should be your top priority. Even though violent and property felony rates in the US have decreased steadily over the past 25 years, there are still some places in the country that are safer than others. Data provided by the FBI showcases a big difference in felony rates from one location to another.
If there is more than one spot that seems safe, go over other factors such as job opportunities for you and your partner, livability score, and narrow down your options. Making sure that everything is as safe as possible will help you cope with stress when moving.
Livability Score Is One of the Center Points to Think About
Before hiring recommended professional movers to handle your belongings and help you avoid some common moving mistakes, go over the livability score of the area and you will figure out the basic things you need to know about the quality of life there. But what is a livability score? It’s a measure designed to help you evaluate the general quality of life in a particular area. It takes into account amenities, cost of living, education, employment, housing, and weather and is represented as a score out of 100.
Relocating with your children doesn’t only entail worrying about their safety and looking for quality educational institutions. It also means you need to find suitable employment opportunities so that you can provide them with the finest things possible and give them a headstart in life.
There are more than a few spots across the country that can fit those criteria. Let’s take a look at our top contenders in the category of the most family-friendly cities in the US.
Sites such as NeighborhoodScout and AreaVibes can tell you a lot about safety of a community.
Enjoy the Huge Outdoor Playground That Is Bozeman, Montana
Would you like to live in a town of fewer than 50,000 people that is basically a vast outdoor playground? If the answer is yes, pack up your bags and head to Bozeman, Montana.
You can spend time with your loved ones partaking in many activities such as skiing, rafting, hiking, fishing, and golfing. Bozeman is in the vicinity of the Bridger Mountains, Tobacco Root, and Big Belt Mountains. Also, it is just 93 miles north of the famous Yellowstone National Park.
With the amount of free open space, this is not only an excellent spot for families but for pets as well. That’s why, if you are relocating with your dog, they will be thrilled to run around, playing fetch with you and young ones in the beautiful nature of the surrounding Montana Rockies.
Visit some of the many kid-friendly diners, such as The Nova Café that serves Mickey Mouse-shaped pancakes. You can also get a sitter and have a real grown-up night out with your partner. While you are painting the town red, check out cocktails at Spirits Distillery downtown, and then head to a nice dinner at Plonk.
According to data from Niche, most of the residents are between 18 and 34 years old. Being a part of this youthful environment can be great for you, seeing that people are welcoming and open-minded. You won’t have to stress about how to make friends in a new state; just take your kids to the playground and hang out with other fellow parents.
Montana State University is just around the corner, and it is a great institution to learn or work in, considering it is the largest employer in the area. With an unemployment rate of 2.7 percent, it is easy to land a good job opening in Bozeman. New-age tech companies that work in the production of optical equipment and lasers are also stationed all around Bozeman. That’s why, if you are looking for work, you can find it in nationally renowned companies like: RightNow Technologies, ILX Lightwave, Quantel USA, and Simms Fishing Products.
The town is named after John Merin Bozeman, a frontiersman in the American West.
Revel in the Suburban Feels of Columbia, Maryland
Does having a big house with a picket fence seem like a dream come true? Columbia gives its residents a dense suburban feeling, and 76% of them say that the quality of the exterior is excellent. That might be the reason why 67% of the local residents chose to buy a house and settle for good. The median home value of $367,600 might be a little steep, but with a median household income of $103,700, you will manage, especially if you move into a smaller home and donate some unwanted items. The leading employer is the US Federal Government, but there are also companies like Pet Meds, Arbitron, and Sourcefire.
Kids will love swimming and recreating at one of 23 outdoor and six indoor pools, but there are also ice and roller skating rinks, golf courses, playgrounds, and even an equestrian center. Nevertheless, it is not all fun and games. Howard County Library rates among the finest in the nation by Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings. Just being there might make your kids fall in love with books and reading.
Did you know that Columba is based on the idea of creating a community that focuses on the quality of life and human values? Creator James W. Rouse wanted to eliminate class, racial, and religious segregation in the local society. That’s why, by settling down in Columbia, you will give your young ones a chance to live in a location built around the idea of improving the everyday existence of its residents.
Did you know that Columbia was founded in 1967?
Irvine, California Has Excellent Educational Institutions
“The greatest moments in life are not concerned with selfish achievements but rather with the things we do for the people we love and esteem.” Mark these words of the great Walt Disney, because they might inspire you to allow yourself and your kids to excel by picking the right spot to settle down. And is there a better place to shine than the glamorous Golden State of California.
Irvine is a planned community with institutions that cover every step of the learning process, from preschool to college. Quality public education is the cornerstone of many a great community, and that is precisely what brings Irvine to the top of the lists of the greatest locations to live and bring up your kids in. Around 85% of students that are part of the Irvine Unified School District go to college later on. Besides, four out of five high schools have Blue Ribbons.
Irvine is considered one of the best cities to raise a family in California because it provides excellent conditions for kids and grown-ups to be happy. It is a community with one of the fastest-growing job markets in Orange County, and an unemployment rate of 2.8% sounds good if you’re looking to find a job before moving to another state. Also, it is on the top of the lists when it comes to start-up businesses. Yearly income for Irvine residents is around $43,500.
Irvine is a community that is all about education.
Raleigh, North Carolina Is Top-Rated When It Comes to Quality of Life
Numbeo listed Raleigh among the locations with the best quality of life index in the world. This ranking is based on purchasing power, health care, cost of living, traffic commute, and pollution index. The capital of North Carolina is one of the fastest-growing locations in the US, and the reason for that might lie in its excellent living conditions, which is also the reason why many people move here.
Organize trips to parks and museums, or get your kids interested in sports and arts. Raleigh has plenty of options, no matter what you choose to do. When a place is known as the “City of Oaks,” you can expect to see beautiful avenues lined up with trees as well as huge green spaces where you can take a stroll and enjoy nature.
Raleigh is also a spot with a growing job market and affordable housing, perfect for those looking to reduce costs when moving. The median household income is $61,500, while the median home price is $241,500.
Raleigh is the second-largest place in North Carolina.
Boulder, Colorado Encourages Work-Leisure Balance
They say that balance is the key to everything in life. That’s why companies in Boulder make work-leisure balance a priority by offering their employees many benefits. From time management, flexible work hours to financial benefits, enterprises like OnDeck, Amplio Digital, and Stack Overflow provide their workers with those and many more so that they can spend more time with their loved ones. After all, a good worker equals a happy worker.
While we are on the subject of employment, Boulder nurtures the entrepreneurial spirit. That’s why the Young Americans Center for Financial Education offers children the chance to develop business savvy. It’s never too early to start learning, and Center is the spot where your kids can find out about small businesses and loans, which can prepare them for the adult world. Besides, there are many ways they can participate in the community through volunteering.
Schools partake in hands-on learning by organizing trips to museums and zoos. That way, they are not only providing kids with knowledge but with great memories as well.
Boulder is a place that takes care of not only kids but parents as well. Parents and future parents can find that much-needed support in The Center on Fathering, Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS), the Beyond Consequences Institute and Parenting Safe Children, and International, Love, and Logic Institute.
Parents and children will have a good time in Boulder.
Bring Up Your Kids by the Beach in Tampa, Florida
Among the best cities to raise a family in Florida, you will most certainly find Tampa. This area is bordered by two bodies of water – Hillsborough Bay and Old Tampa Bay, giving the residents breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico. Families that love water sports and basking in the sun all day long flock to the third-largest location in Florida. Apart from the sandy shores, there are parks, sports, and music events to keep you all entertained. You can take your little ones to the Children’s Museum of Tampa and let them learn about the culture and the environment. You’ll also be pretty close to the best Atlanta neighborhoods. Thus, whenever you’re up for a road trip with your little ones, head down to family-friendly Atlanta.
This is a highly ethnically-diverse community with a median age of 34.8. Data from AreaVibes shows that 43% of the population that is over 15 years old is married and that 45% of families have kids under the age of 18 to keep your little ones company.
When you settle down, finding work in retail, insurance, shipping, and finance will be easy. Several large corporations have offices in Tampa, making the job market grow faster than in most other places in the US.
Tampa has a population of almost 400,000.
San Diego, California Is a Very Safe Spot
How would you feel about moving to a big city on the West Coast? AreaVibes data shows that San Diego has a 12% lower crime rates than the US standard, making it safer than 35% of the locations in the US. Moving to San Diego will bring you not only peace of mind when it comes to the safety of your offspring, but you will also have the chance to earn a fat paycheck. With it, the high cost of living in San Diego won’t be an insurmountable obstacle.
With the warm Mediterranean-like climate, there are a lot of outdoor kids-appropriate activities that will keep your little ones entertained. From boat races at the RC 44 Cup to Spring Busker Festival, your children and you will be able to enjoy some unforgettable entertainment in America’s Finest City.
Sandi is home to more than 30 green spaces and parks. If you are moving with your dog, you can always plan an outdoor group activity for everybody. While your kids are playing fetch with your pet, you can bask in the sun and have a picnic with your partner.
Picking this location won’t only make your children happy, but you as well. With some of the best restaurants in San Diego, you can have a fun grown-up meal, while your offspring is enjoying perks of playgrounds.
San Diego was the tuna capital of the world from the 30's to the late 70's.
Portland, Oregon Is a Kid’s Playground
Honestly speaking, kids have a short attention span, and it takes a certain amount of effort to keep them engaged. Most parents will agree that’s not an easy task sometimes. However, if you move to Portland, you can pick and choose all kinds of kid-friendly activities.
Let’s start our little tour around the so-called Stumptown with the most famous attraction – Oregon Museum of Science and Industry that features educational exhibits, hands-on labs, IMAX movies, and the world’s largest Lego art display. For all book lovers, there are Powell’s Books store and Children’s Book bank. When the weather takes a turn for the worst, but you still want to engage your children in some fun activities, there are The Lumberyard and Sunday Parkways, indoor cycling spaces.
Two-thirds of African American residents in Oregon live in Portland, and this fact fits in the broader trend of Portland’s increasingly diverse population: Hispanic residents represent 9.4% of the population, Asian 7.1%, while non-Hispanic whites are 72.2%. This mix creates an open-minded and accepting society where kids can grow up and learn about diversity and tolerance also it makes the adjustment to the new location easier.
Out of 225,000 households in Portland, a quarter have children under the age of 18.
Finding a Doctor in Seattle, Washington Will Be Easy
Do you know what makes Seattle one of the best cities to raise a family in the US? Let’s start with some statistics from the US Census Bureau that show what makes moving to Seattle a terrific idea.
It’s ranked 4th in the country in terms of the percentage of millennial residents, which makes it a young and hip spot for families that are raising small children. It takes the 6th spot when it comes to one and two-bedroom rental availability. That’s why 53% of residents rent their flats.
In Seattle, you don’t have to worry about good education for your young ones. This is, after all, the largest school district in Washington state. You can find more than a few first-rate educational institutions you can enroll your children in.
Did you know that Washington state has 81.2 primary care physicians per 100,000 people? This is higher than the national rate of 73.1. Finding a doctor in Seattle will be slightly easier than in most other places in the US.
With a mild climate and vast outdoor culture, there are plenty of things to do in Seattle as a family. Take your kids to Golden Gardens and have a BBQ party, or nurture their sports spirit by taking them to CenturyLink Field to cheer for the Seahawks.
Seattle has 113 public educational institutions in 2020.
There Is a Good Sense of Community in Austin, Texas
If you’re thinking about moving to Austin, picture a place with sunny weather and an average summer temperature of 83 degrees. That’s why there are tons of camps that will keep your offspring happy and entertained – there is no such thing as a dull season in Texas capital. When you are not working, plan a lovely family day, and take a walk by Lady Bird Lake, or Barton Creek Greenbelt. There you can also fish, play catch and enjoy the fresh air.
Data from the poll Niche did show that 81% of residents say there is a good sense of community in Austin, and 62% say that LGBT residents are very accepted. If you are looking for an open-minded and accepting setting, remember that the Austin Metropolitan area has the third-highest rate of the LGBT population in the nation.
What makes Texas cities some of the best to raise a family in? It is the state with the second-highest gross product in the US, and 7th lowest taxation, making areas in it economically stable and filled with a variety of opportunities. Living in Austin, a high tech center, will bring you a chance to find great job openings in companies like Dell, 3M, BioWare, but also in enterprises such as Whole Foods Market or NXP Semiconductors, providing you with a yearly income of around $32,000. So, what would be the best time of the year to move here? Anytime!
Austin is one of the sunniest places in the US.
San Antonio, Texas Brings Urban Vibes and Affordable Housing
Within 17 school districts, you can pick the school that fits the needs and desires of your kids the most. The public library system that is serving the metropolis consists of a central library, the San Antonio Public Library (SAPL), and its 29 branches. Learning has never been more fun or exciting – take your young ones to DoSeum and let them learn through interactive events and activities.
When the weather is just right, take a bike and spend the day together cycling around 136 miles of paths that spread through streets and parks of San Antonio. Local government maintains about 240 parks that are filled with hiking and biking trails, athletic fields, playgrounds, and pools, making them a perfect escape when you need a day off to reconnect with relatives. When you’re craving fun, adrenaline-packed adventures, there is Six Flags Fiesta Texas 17 miles outside the city. A theme park that includes 50 rides that can be exclusively for kids, only for adults, or an overall fun experience for all.
Since being alive is not all fun and games, you should think about landing a job in San Antonio. Luckily, with the unemployment rate of 3.3% and recent job growth, finding work won’t be too hard. The main focus of the economy here is on health care, financial services, oil and gas, tourism, and military. This is also a hub for call centers. Companies like USAA, NuStar Energy, H-E-B and iHeartMedia, are located here, making the job market that much more diverse.
San Antonio is home to the headquarters of six Fortune 500 companies.
Arlington, Virginia Is a Town With Great Public Schools
Arlington has featured on many lists as one of the top places with a great public school system. Data from Niche shows excellent reviews of community, so you won’t have to worry about good education options for your kids. There are 22 elementary, five middle, three high, and two alternative schools. Arlington spends around half of the local revenue on education.
Not only that, but Arlington also passes with flying colors in fields of: felony rates, diversity, health and fitness, commute time, and nightlife.
Many residents are pleased with a variety of homes and their interior and exterior quality. Since more than 56% of people rent their homes, you would want to know that the median rent is $1,900. The crowd that you will find here is more likely than not to work in DC, but chose Arlington because of fast commute time. Although the community has a higher-than-average percentage of households without vehicles, you can easily work in DC and live in Arlington if you ship your car. The two locations are well connected, so be sure to ask how car shipping works before booking transportation of your vehicle across the country. Biking is also a thing, so don’t leave it in storage; you might use it to cruise around the city.
Arlington is also connected with the rest of the country with Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
Cycling is a popular activity in Arlington.
Ann Arbor, Michigan Is a Family-Friendly College Town
Did you know that there are 159 parks in Ann Arbor? That is a lot of green space where you can take your kids to play and run around while you are reading a book or relaxing on the grass. Check out Dexter-Huron Metropark, which has 120-acres of wooded space, with golf course, picnic area, canoeing spots, and swings.
If you are worried about education, know that this college town has more than 17,000 students, and it keeps a 17:1 student to teacher ratio. If you are moving with children they won’t be neglected due to a lack of teachers.
Ann Arbor has more than 120,000 residents with high education degrees, and many of them work at the biggest employer, The University of Michigan. Other places where you can find work are in the field of high tech, biotechnology, economy, and health service. Residents have an annual income of around $36,000.
When creating a household inventory list or photo inventory, dealing with packing services, and preparing packing materials for moving, you don’t have to worry about being cut off from the rest of the country. Ann Arbor is well connected with roads and Highway 23. Also, Ann Arbor Municipal Airport is a small, general aviation airport that is located south of I-94. You also have the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, which is 25 miles to the east.
Around 30,000 people work at the University of Michigan.
Overland Park, Kansas Is Arguably One of the Best Cities to Raise a Family
WalletHub put Overland Park at the top of the list of the best American spots to bring up a family, with excellent scores in the affordability category, health and safety, and socio-economy.
The overall felony rate is 16% lower than the national average, making Overland Park safer than 55% of the urban locations in the US, according to data from AreaVibes. Add the unemployment rate that is 39% lower than the national average to it, and you got yourself a great place to move to. If you are wondering how to get a job before you move, check out if there are some openings in top companies in the area.
When 30.6% of households have children under the age of 18, you know that the area will have some appropriate kid-friendly activities to offer to its residents. On your day off, get your kids to Steamboat museum, or American Jazz Museum, and let them learn in a fun way. Meanwhile, a trip to Chip’s Chocolate Factory, or a Disney store would make you the coolest parent ever. For all daredevils that are not afraid of height, there is a Zip Line Treetop adventure and IFLY skydiving experience. With more than 1,800 acres of open space and parks, you can stumble upon sand volleyball and golf courts, as well as hiking and biking trails, tennis, and basketball courts.
The educational system consists of 22 public, 16 private, and six post-secondary schools your kids can attend. The institutions also have higher average test scores than their Kansas counterparts.
All of this made Overland Park gain a positive reputation as a very family-welcoming spot, making parents and future parents settle down here, and enjoy some of the many benefits.