Everything Kids

New Study Reveals Best and Worst Cities to Raise Families

New research from WalletHub gives us a better idea of how family-friendly many major cities are. How does your city rank?

Kid in the City Julia Kuznetsova/Shutterstock
If you're a parent living in Overland Park, Kansas; Madison, Wisconsin; or Plano, Texas, you're in luck: You live in one of the three most family-friendly cities in America, according to a report from WalletHub.

On the other hand, if you're raising your kids in Birmingham, Alabama; Detroit, Michigan; or San Bernardino, California, you may have a harder go of it—those three cities rank at the bottom of the same report, which lists the 150 most populous U.S. cities.

How exactly does WalletHub measure which city is best for raising children? Well, the team behind this ranking took a multi-factorial approach. They considered cost of housing, academic quality, the strength of local health care systems, safety and recreational activities when weighing cities against one another.

Does that mean you'll automatically find family life in one of the higher-ranked cities easier than in one of the low-ranked cities? No—after all, personal preference and circumstance will obviously skew each family's experience, and WalletHub's team acknowledges that their ranking is not perfect. Still, this may help parents (or expectant parents) better understand what each city can offer them, which is especially helpful for parents who may be considering moves.

While WalletHub's ultimate ranking is based on the overall performance of each city, the team also ranked them for individual factors as well. For example, New York City tops the rankings for most playgrounds per capita and most attractions—despite only coming in 57th place in the overall ranking. Families in Scottsdale, Arizona have the highest median family salary when adjusted for cost of living....but the city ranks lowest for percentage of families with young children (Aurora, Illinois takes the top spot in that category).

When it comes to affordable housing, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is your best bet, while (not surprisingly) San Francisco ranks dead last. As for crime stats, Irvine, California has the lowest violent crime rate, while St. Louis, Missouri has the highest.

For a full look at the rankings, head to WalletHub's site—who knows? It just might help you decide where to raise your own family.