When Dominic Toretto said, “You don’t turn your back on family”, it’s safe to say that we could all relate. These are the people who we love you unconditionally and strive to build a better life for. And a significant aspect of that endeavor is related to the finances of an individual and the availability of resources and facilities in one’s surroundings to facilitate living the best possible life, as a family. Given that, let’s take a look at some of the best cities in the United States that are ideal to raise a family.
List of 7 Best Cities in the U.S. to Raise a Family
- Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Bowling Green, Ohio
- Carmel, Indiana
- Cary, North Carolina
- Franklin Park, Pennsylvania
- Highland Park, Texas
- Irvine, CA
Top-Rated Places to Raise a Family in America
1. Ann Arbor, Michigan
One of the better places in the country to raise a family, Ann Arbor has low crime rates and an excellent school system, making it quite the ideal setting for a family to be in. The cost-of-living index of the city is 108, but the cost of goods, services and groceries is on the rather affordable side, quite comparable to the national average. This means that life in Ann Arbor, while not cheap, is not exactly pricey either. So it stands well with the fact that the median household income is $69,456, a sum that affords a good life in the city.
If you are a family with kids, you would be happy to know that Ann Arbor takes its education very seriously. The Ann Arbor Public Schools (AAPS) has a number of public schools and a pre-school centre where the programs available are both free and tuition-based. There are plenty of school options for the children of Ann Arbor. When it comes to college, the city is where the University of Michigan is located, which is not only responsible for Ann Arbor feeling like a college-town, but also for the city’s economy, employing over 30,000 people.
As per Realtor, the median price of buying a house in Ann Arbor is $389,900. If you would prefer renting, the average price of a two-bedroom house, according to Zillow is $1500. Ann Arbor has been voted ‘Best City to Live In’ by multiple publications, and a huge reason for that is how expressive the residents are about their love for the city. Seldom does a place so effortlessly combine the small-town sentimental aesthetics with a big-city feel.
When it comes to fun, the children would enjoy the many parks and gardens, whereas the parents can visit one of the restaurants, bars or breweries. As a family, you may choose to go to some of the popular children’s museums, take a trip to the Planet Rock or Domino’s Petting Farm. Life here offers something for both the parents and the kids.
Housing Cost as a Percent of Income: 30%
Poverty Rate: 23.4%
High School Graduation Rate: 97.6%
Unemployment Rate: 4.6%
Child Care Costs: $652
Crime Rate (per 1,000 residents): 18.75
Also Read: Moving To Michigan – Relocation Guide
2. Bowling Green, Ohio
This city screams ‘family life’ in every aspect of its being. With great amenities and an exceptionally low crime rate, life in Bowling Green is designed for family life. While the median household income happens to be $33,562, the cost-of-living index is lower than the national average at 97. Life here can be a little pricey, but that should not be a hindrance. Especially considering the excellent quality of services present in the town like the healthcare, community and the schools, provided you fall in the right income bracket.
The schools in Bowling Green are a mixture of public and private schools. They are some of the highly rated schools in the country with test scores being 61% higher than the national average and an enviable 42% of the population having finished their graduation. Moreover, the median price of buying a two-bedroom house in Bowling Green, as per Realtor, is $150,000 and that of renting a house is $800, on average as per Zillow.
Some activities for children could include trips to the Bowling Green Wind Farm, the Bowling Green State University Planetarium and the Wood County Historical Centre. For some less academic and more recreational activities, you can go hiking, fishing, cycling or kayaking in the parks. The town also happens to have its own events like the Black Swamp Arts Festival, which you could participate in. Occasionally, the parents may choose to hire a babysitter and go out to experience the nightlife of Bowling Green which consists of many restaurants, cafes, bars and other nightlife hubs. You can also make a weekend out of it by going with the family to popular eateries like East Street café or Beckett’s Burger Bar.
Housing Cost as a Percent of Income: 70.3%
Poverty Rate: 33%
High School Graduation Rate: 89.05%
Unemployment Rate: 3.3%
Child Care Costs: $725
Crime Rate (per 1,000 residents): 16.39
Also Read: Moving To Ohio
3. Carmel, Indiana
It is quite the family-friendly fact that the percentage of children in Carmel is 13% higher than most cities in the US. This, combined with the fact that the neighborhoods are quite affordable and the crime rate is 72% lesser than the national average, families find life in Carmel to be quite the treat. The cost-of-living index here is 113, that is higher than the national average. However, the median household income happens to be on par, at $106,546, rendering life quite convenient here. The city also has the honor of being the quiet ideal to launch one’s career. Carmel gives you the cake and lets you eat it too.
Carmel has around 11 public schools and for those who prefer it, more than enough number of private schools. The city places due importance on education, with 97% of the residents having finished high school and about 70% of them having graduated college. According to Realtor, the median cost of a house in Carmel stands at $385,000. If you are renting, then the average amount of money you will be paying every month would be, as per Zillow, $1700.
One of the reasons Carmel is considered to be the best place to raise a family in the Midwest is the excellent healthcare system, with the presence of Indiana University Health North hospital in the city. For recreation and fun, parents and children may go biking on the Monon Trail, or take golfing lessons at the Plum Creek Golf Club or just explore the Coxhall Gardens. The children will certainly enjoy a trip to the waterpark and the occasional family concerts at the Palladium. And the parents on a date night can visit some of the popular restaurants like Muldoons or the Bazbeaux, along with exploring the cocktail bars like Sun King Spirits and the Union Brewing Company.
Housing Cost as a Percent of Income: 57.77%
Poverty Rate: 3.7%
High School Graduation Rate: 97.77%
Unemployment Rate: 3.4%
Child Care Costs: $1,020
Crime Rate (per 1,000 residents): 6.58
Also Read: Moving To Indiana – Relocation Guide
4. Cary, North Carolina
Cary, as a small town, has set standards that most cities aspire to reach. While the median household income is $94,617, the cost-of-living index stands at 116, quite higher than the national average. What makes up for it are the facts that Cary has sunny weather, excellent schools, is within driving distance to Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill. Moreover, it has easy access to the Duke university Hospital and University of North Carolina Hospital which are some of the country’s top healthcare providers. The crime rate is a surprising 59% lower than the national average, which gives people the safety and the confidence to start a family in a particular place.
When it comes to schools, the Wake County Public School System based in Cary is the largest public school system in North Carolina. The city has an almost 100% high school graduation rate with a minimum of 64% of the residents going on to finish their bachelor’s degree. The median home price in Cary is $365,000, according to Realtor and as per Zillow, the average rent of a house in the city is $1,800.
Cary hosts a number of local festivals like the Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival, Greater Triangle Area Dragon Boat Festival, Diwali and Eid celebrations and Cary Band Day. Families may also visit the Marbles Kids Museum or go skating and cycling at the sports complex. There are also quite the number of story times and puppet shows, usually held at public libraries. Or if you are a nature bunny, you may choose to spend time near the lakes, parks or the farmers markets, taking this chance to go more organic with your food as well. On other days, the parents might enjoy the restaurants or the bars and boutique shops that the city is littered with, like the LA Farm Bakery and the Bond Brothers Beer Company.
Housing Cost as a Percent of Income: 30%
Poverty Rate: 4.7%
High School Graduation Rate: 89%
Unemployment Rate: 5.1%
Child Care Costs: $880
Crime Rate (per 1,000 residents): 25.51
Also See: Guide for Relocation to North Carolina
5. Franklin Park, Pennsylvania
Franklin Park has got it all. There are great schools, a friendly community and regular events, a particularly low crime rate and a distance from Pittsburgh that guarantees access to highly rated medical services and hospitals. The cost-of-living index stands at 120, but that is seldom a problem due to the fact that the median income of households is $121,661. Affordable enough, if you tick the right income category.
The schools in Franklin Park are known for their excellent quality. 70% of the residents have a bachelor’s degree and nearly all of the city has finished high school. It is also interesting that the test scores of children from these schools are 21% higher than the national average.
The median price of a house in Franklin Park, as per Realtor, is $410,000 and according to Zillow, the rent of a house is $1,800 per month, on average. Franklin Park is pretty much a suburban paradise with plenty of events for families in the town. You will also come across a number of outdoor festivals, usually held at Blueberry Hill Park, which are perfect for school going children. The park has its share of hiking trails and a basketball and volleyball court, in case you, your kids or the parents are into more physical activities. Franklin Park happens to be not that far from Pittsburgh, where one can go to enjoy the museums and libraries, should they have the inclination for it. They can also opt to go for the opera and the theater on a weekend. Wouldn’t that be lovely?
Housing Cost as a Percent of Income: 59%
Poverty Rate: 3.59%
High School Graduation Rate: 91%
Unemployment Rate: 7.1%
Child Care Costs: $950
Crime Rate (per 1,000 residents): 7.81
Also Read: Guide for Relocating to Pennsylvania
6. Highland Park, Texas
This is a prosperous small-town in the Dallas-Fort Worth area where families form a close-knit community. The cost of living in this town is 233, but surprisingly, the price of groceries and transportation is well below the national average. It is also worth noting that the median household income in the town is $189,485, which makes the place rather coveted. A few other factors in favor of the city are the low crime rate, the presence of excellent healthcare providers and a lot of amenities that make it very desirable for families to set base here.
The schools in this town fall under the purview of Highland Park Independent School District or the Dallas Independent School District. About 98% of the residents have finished high school and 86%, one of the highest in the country, hold a bachelor’s degree. Houses are priced rather high here, with the median price of a house being $2.6 million, as per Realtor. If you wish to rent a house here, the cost, as per Apartments.com, is $2100 per month.
There is no dearth of activities for the residents here. For instance, the Dallas Library has an entire section dedicated to interactive learning for kids. Then there’s also the Heard Natural Science Museum where the learning activities are for the entire family. Walking and biking spots are available around the highland Park area. The Turtle Creek Parkway Park is the most popular place in the town, for picnics and other such activities. One may also indulge in some portrait making by its creeks.
Also, when it comes to just the parents, you may get away to any one of the many upscale restaurants or spend their hard-earned money in some retail therapy at the Highland Park Village, NorthPark Centre or at Park Lane. These places also have a number of bars and restaurants to help them wind down after a long hard day. This town epitomizes the philosophy of ‘big price and better payoff’. It all works out at the end of the day.
Housing Cost as a Percent of Income: 36%
Poverty Rate: 5.4%
High School Graduation Rate: 98.61%
Unemployment Rate: 7.2%
Child Care Costs: $840
Crime Rate (per 1,000 residents): 26.41
7. Irvine, CA
This planned community in Orange County has a booming job market where people can get employed to work in the sunny weather and live in a family-friendly atmosphere. While the cost-of-living index is high, at 178, the median household income is $93,823. And a personal finance website ranked the city to be the third happiest place by finance to live in America. This is mostly due to the fact that the residents fall into a generally higher income bracket which ensures a certain financial comfort. It also helps that the crime rate is low and one of the top hospitals in California – the UC Irvine Medical Centre – is located here.
There are dozens of highly rated public and private schools in Irvine, administered by Tustin Unified School District. As far as higher education institutes go, California Southern University, Concordia University, Stanbridge University and a number of other renowned institutes call Irvine home. It is a pleasing fact that nearly the entire city has finished high school and at least 86% of them have finished their graduation.
Houses in Irvine are priced quite high, with the median house price, as per Realtor, being as high as $926,000. According to Zillow, the rent per month could be as high as $2,300.
You will never run out of things to do in Irvine. With the kids, you should go to the Irvine museum or to see the stars at the UCI observatory. You can also plan fun activities like bike riding at the Irvine Regional Park or try picking strawberries at Tanaka Farms or just choose to walk in the middle of nature at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. In October of every year, the city hosts the Global Village Festival as a celebration of its diversity, with entertainment and food from different cultures and exhibitions from local merchants. And in a city like Irvine, the couples will find plenty of babysitters to watch their children, so they can go exploring the restaurant and bars, or just enjoy a concert or show at the amphitheatre. You needn’t look too far to be entertained in this city.
Housing Cost as a Percent of Income: 36%
Poverty Rate: 12.6%
High School Graduation Rate: 93.63%
Unemployment Rate: 3.4%
Child Care Costs: $1,447
Crime Rate (per 1,000 residents): 16.55
If you are planning to move to one of the cities, we recommend that the first step you take is to make an unbiased and practical assessment of your finances, the present and the future and then make your decision accordingly. When all is said and done, everything we do is for the sake of a good life for our families, because they are not just an important part of life, but they are the most important part of it.