Top 7 Places To Raise A Family In The US, Ranked

If you’re planning to start a family, the list of challenges and considerations that come into play with this life stage are enormous. Many people end up moving, especially those who live in an urban area, to better accommodate their new lifestyle. Couples with children normally consider a variety of factors when it comes to choosing their next place to live, such as affordability, the housing market, safety, proximity to schools, and the job market. StudyFinds is here to help you through your process. The best places to raise a family in the U.S. score well in multiple areas and have better quality of life in general.

Though children can grow up and have fulfilling lives no matter where they live, there is some evidence that the neighborhood you grow up in matters. Research shows children’s immediate neighborhood can have a significant impact on their life outcomes, even more so than the neighborhood they end up living in as an adult. Not sure where to start when looking for a new place to live? StudyFinds consulted ten experts and found the consensus on the best places to raise a family in the U.S. Start here and make sure to do your own research to find the location that suits your family’s needs best. Are there any places we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

➡️ How Our “Best Of The Best” Lists Are Created

StudyFinds’ “Best of the Best” articles are put together with the idea of taking the work out of common consumer research. Ever find yourself searching for a product or service on Google and reading multiple reviews to find items listed across many of them? Our Best of the Best lists are created with that process in mind, with each item ranked by how frequently it appears on expert reviews or lists. With Best of the Best, you are getting consensus picks — making them truly the best of the best!

The List: Best Places to Raise a Family in the US, According to Experts

1. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan
A lake in Ann Arbor, Michigan (Photo by Justin Hu on Unsplash)

Ann Arbor, Michigan, is not exactly considered a “cheap” place to live, but it is consistently rated as one of the best places to raise a family in America due to its low crime rates, good schools, and amenities that improve overall quality of living. Moving Astute notes that the median household income for the city is $69,456 and the median price of buying a house in Ann Arbor is $389,900.

Rocket Mortgage explains that the experience of living in Ann Arbor is often described as living in a college town with 50,000 trees. The city is, after all, home to the University of Michigan, which is ranked as one of the top public universities in the nation. The city‘s education is top-notch as early as primary school, with a low student-to-teacher ratio and test scores that are 20 percent higher than the national average.

There is no shortage of things to do as a parent or a kid, with the Hands-On Museum being one of the best children’s museums in the country. mentions families can visit Domino’s Petting Farm, Planet Rock, the University of Michigan Stadium and Chelsea Milling Company. Adults can enjoy a variety of breweries and restaurants, as well as parks, golf courses, and gardens.

2. Plano, Texas

The Texas state flag
The Texas state flag (Photo by Pete Alexopoulos on Unsplash)

Plano is the ninth-most populated city in Texas, and still growing. NASDAQ included Plano on their own list of best cities in the U.S. for young families, stating that the median home value is $503,025. Most residents in Plano own their homes, and the environment has a dense, suburban feel.

Living in Plano is ideal for young families, with access to resources, amenities and, according to Niche, a crime rate well below the national average. Parents will have plenty of top-rated private and public schools to choose from, and most families who live in the area tend to have moderate political views.

MovingWaldo loves that Plano has plenty of family-friendly activities such as the The Crayola Experience, which is 60,00 square feet of interactive space for kids. Most residents in Plano also live within walking distance to a park, as there are a total of 142 parks in the area.

3. Irvine, California

Irvine, California
A sunset in Irvine, California (Photo by Gustavo Zambelli on Unsplash)

Irvine, or California in general, is not the place to move if you’re on a budget. According to Travel + Leisure, the median price for a home in the Orange County oasis is $1.3 million, which is an increase of 10 percent compared to last year. But if you already have a good nest egg to start with, Irvine is one of the top-rated places to raise a family.

MovingAPT notes that Irvine was rated the 34th-happiest location to reside in the U.S. by WalletHub. Irvine is an affluent city, with a thriving job market, great schools, and one of the lowest crime rates in the nation. The city is home to University of California-Irvine, one of the top public universities in the state.

Irvine is an ideal location if you want the benefit of living in an area that offers urban living with expansive green areas. The city has over 16,000 acres of green space, including parks, athletic fields and hiking trails. HOMEiA says that families won’t run out of things to do, with Disneyland nearby as well as multiple beaches within ten miles.

4. Overland Park, Kansas

Overland Park, Kansas
Overland Park, Kansas (Photo by Levi Trimmer on Unsplash)

If living in the Midwest appeals to you, Overland Park, Kansas, located just south of Kansas City, could be the place for you. NASDAQ says that Overland Park is popular due to its affordable cost of living and community-oriented atmosphere that is great for families. The median household income is $87,629 and the average purchase price of a home is $295,800.

However, in some neighborhoods, the median home value is $413,000 and homes only stay on the market for a few days. Travel + Leisure says that Overland Park is home to the best-rated school district in Kansas and offers many things that families would find appealing, such as job opportunities, health care, and accessible parks.

Extra Space Storage says Overland Park offers a variety of family-friendly opportunities. Enjoy large parks or botanical gardens, explore museums, or visit the famous Overland Park Farmers Market. Sports fans are also a short drive away from Kansas City to watch their favorite teams play, like the Chiefs and Royals.

5. Columbia, Maryland

Fall in Columbia, Maryland
Fall in Columbia, Maryland (Photo by KhanIM on Shutterstock)

Columbia, located in Howard County, Maryland, has a population of around 105,000. According to Niche, the median home value is $458,700 and the average rent price is $1,895. Columbia is rated as one of the best places to raise a family due to its perfect location outside of Baltimore and family-friendly environment.

Rocket Mortgage explains that though the cost of living in Columbia is 21 percent higher than the national average, it is still considered a great place to live for families due to its easy access to Baltimore and the surrounding metro areas like Washington, D.C. Columbia is also home to the best school district in Maryland.

Even if Columbia provides a suburban escape from city life, you certainly won’t run out of activities for you and your family. MovingWaldo says that families can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities like apple-picking or swimming at large outdoor pools. The city itself also promotes community engagement by hosting a variety of festivals and other programs.

6. Arlington, Virginia

Arlington, Virginia
Arlington, Virginia (Photo by Greg Bulla on Unsplash)

Arlington is another option if you’re looking to live within reach of Washington, D.C. The town is located across the Potomac River, with an estimated population of 236,000 and median home value of $312,000. NASDAQ says Arlington is known for its affordable housing and great schools situated near family-friendly communities.

There is ample opportunity in Arlington as well, with many government offices and large companies in the area. Extra Space Storage notes the Arlington school district has 41 schools to choose from and is ranked the second-best school district in Virginia.

Rocket Mortgage says newcomers to Arlington can take part in a variety of tourist activities, such as the Smithsonian National Museum, the Kennedy Center for the Arts, or the Arlington National Cemetery. The city also has no shortage of restaurants and bars.

7. Naperville, Illinois

Knoch Knolls Park in Naperville, Illinois
Knoch Knolls Park in Naperville, Illinois (Photo by David Mirabal on Unsplash)

Naperville, a suburb of Chicago, is only less than an hour’s drive away from the Windy City. Niche rates it as one of the best places to live in Illinois, with a population of 149,000, a median home value of $482,600, and a dense suburban environment.

If you’re looking for great education options for your children, Rocket Mortgage notes the two public school districts in Naperville are internationally recognized for excellence. Standardized testing scores from these schools are among the highest in the nation.

For families that enjoy outdoor activities, Naperville has many options. From parks to hiking trails, there are many ways to experience the great outdoors with your family. MovingWaldo recommends visiting Knoch Knolls park, taking a walk along Naperville Riverwalk, or sunbathing at Centennial Beach.


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.

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About the Author

Elsa Lee

Elsa is a freelance journalist, copywriter, and marketer based out of the Los Angeles area. She has been writing for 7 years.

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  1. Lazy uniformed selection, mainstream greatest hits . Kind of blue fine ,but DSotM is no better on vinyl than CD and the others are just out of a BMW CD pocket . Audiophile ? No way!

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