Here are the most and least desirable places to raise a family, according to new research from WalletHub.

By Zara Husaini Hanawalt
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If you're a parent living in Overland Park, Kansas; Irvine, California; or Fremont, California, you're in luck: You live in one of the three most family-friendly cities in America, according to a 2018 report from WalletHub.

On the other hand, if you're raising your kids in Miami, Florida; Detroit, Michigan; or Newark, New Jersey, 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? The team behind the 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.

According to the report, here are the top 10 cities for families in 2018:

  1. Overland Park, Kansas
  2. Irvine, California
  3. Fremont, California
  4. South Burlington, Vermont
  5. Bismarck, North Dakota
  6. Plano, Texas
  7. Fargo, North Dakota
  8. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  9. Huntington Beach, California
  10. Gilbert, Arizona

And here are the worst cities for raising kids in 2018:

  1. Newark, NJ
  2. Detroit, MI
  3. Miami, Florida
  4. Cleveland, OH
  5. Hialeah, FL
  6. Baltimore, MD
  7. San Bernardino, CA
  8. Memphis, TN
  9. Birmingham, AL
  10. Wilmington, DE 

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 111th place in the overall ranking. Families in Scottsdale, Arizona have the second highest median family salary when adjusted for cost of living....but the city ranks second lowest for percentage of families with young children (Aurora, Illinois takes the top spot in that category).

When it comes to affordable housing, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 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 Detroit, Michigan 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.

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