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AUSTIN, Texas — If you’re a single dad, even Father’s Day probably doesn’t provide much of a break from juggling the daily responsibilities of parenthood. However, there are some places that make it easier for fathers to balance work and family. Specifically, a new survey has found that single fathers should be looking at the Northeast or Northwest of the United States if they want a little help being “Super Dad” in 2024.

Conducted by LawnStarter in honor of Father’s Day, researchers compared America’s 500 biggest cities, grading them based on eight different categories, to find the ones that would best benefit a single parent. These categories included parent-friendly state policies, the affordability of housing and childcare services, and a single parent’s access to health care, green spaces, and playgrounds.

According to the survey, the biggest winners single fathers should take note of were in Massachusetts, California, Oregon, and Washington state. In fact, out of the top 20 cities making LawnStarter’s 2024 list, only two did not reside in one of these states! Those were New York (14th) and Warwick, Rhode Island (5th).

Overall, Newton, Massachusetts was named the best city for single dads this year. Single parenthood is most affordable to dads in this wealthy suburb, where residents have an average annual income of more than $154,000. Rounding out the top four best cities for single dads are Redmond, Washington (2nd), Portland, Oregon (3rd), and Mountain View, California (4th).

Researchers found that Massachusetts and Oregon have the most parent-friendly state policies, including the longest paid family leave (12 weeks), job protections supporting paid family leave, and policies that allow parents to take sick days to care for their children. Massachusetts, which had five cities in the 20, also protects parents so they can take time off for school events.

While states like Florida and Texas may not have state income tax, the survey also found they lack key resources for single parents. This includes higher rates of food insecurity, poor-quality public schools, and fewer playgrounds. Seven of the bottom eight cities in this new survey are located in either Florida or Texas. The only one that isn’t is Flint, Michigan (497th), which has the highest share of children in poverty (69.4%) and men in poverty (24.3%).

 

Methodology

First, LawnStarter determined the factors (metrics) that are most relevant to rank the Best Cities for Single Dads. Researchers then assigned a weight to each factor based on its importance and grouped those factors into 8 categories: Affordability, Child Care, Health and Education, Home and Outdoors, Work-Life Balance, State Policy, Community Support, and Safety. The categories, factors, and their weights are listed in the table below.

For each of the 500 biggest U.S. cities, LawnStarter then gathered data on each factor from the sources listed below the table.

Finally, researchers calculated scores (out of 100 points) for each city to determine its rank in each factor, each category, and overall. A city’s Overall Score is the average of its scores across all factors and categories. The highest Overall Score ranked “Best” (No. 1) and the lowest “Worst” (No. 500).

Note: The “Worst” among individual factors may not be No. 500 due to ties.

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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