The cities on WalletHub's list rank high for key financial factors that would draw families; for playgrounds, not so much.
The average American can expect to move nearly 12 times in their lifetime, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. These move may be precipitated by milestone events, including leaving home for college, the first post-college domicile, the marriage, raising a family, and retirement.
Which cities in America are most hospitable for families? Plano, TX and Sioux Falls, SD top a new ranking of the Best Cities for Families compiled by WalletHub. The financial wellness site considered 31 key metrics that take into account essential family dynamics, including access to quality jobs, housing costs, quality of schools and health care and opportunities for family and children fun and recreation.
Filling out the top 10 best cities for families, according to WalletHub are:
- Overland Park, KS
- Freemont, CA
- Irvine, CA
- Virginia Beach, VA
- Lincoln, NE
- Anchorage, AK
- Gilbert, AZ
- Amarillo, TC
The cities on this list ranked high for key financial factors that would draw families. Plano ranks tops for highest median family salary, most affordable housing. It also ranks in top five for lowest violent crime rate (fourth) and least percentage of families below the poverty line (third). Just don’t head to Plano for the playgrounds. Madison ranks first among the surveyed cities for most playgrounds per capita.
Nor does Plano or any of the other top-ten ranked best cities for families rank in the top five for highest number of attractions. Not surprisingly, metropolitan cities dominate this category: New York, followed by Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.
What should parents consider most when choosing a place to start or raise a family? “Schools are a big one,” offers Tovah P. Klein, of Barnard College, one of the family studies, psychology or household finance experts consulted by WalletHub. “Whether the community has the kinds of schools the family desires should be a top priority. Housing costs are important too. What can the family afford and how limited will they be in their options, especially as the family grows and they may want to move to larger living space? If a family is strapped in their finances due to housing costs, it may not be the best choice of city. Or maybe there are other parts of the city to live in that can make finances more reasonable.”
No matter what the city, poor financial habits can sabotage parents’ best efforts to start a family. Among these, according to Bill Emmons of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis are debt and not having an emergency or rainy day fund.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.