When it’s time to raise a family, many couples think about moving to a smaller, less populated town outside of a large city, but some want to stay in an urban setting — seeing the advantages that it has to offer their future children.
Wallethub "compared the 150 most populated U.S. cities based on 36 key metrics that take into account essential family dynamics such as the relative cost of housing, the quality of local school and health care systems, and the opportunities for fun and recreation” to see what the best and worst urban locations were for families.
The results found that none of the top 50 cities included Northeast locations — with many cities in that region trending toward the bottom, including New York City and Philadelphia.
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WalletHub specifically ranked cities across five key dimensions: family fun; health and safety; education and child care; affordability; and socioeconomic environment.
The top cities in the ranking were Overland Park, Kansas; Madison, Wisconsin; Plano, Texas; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Virginia Beach, Virginia. Plano, for example, ranked No. 1 for most affordable housing, and Overland Park had the lowest percentage of families that were below the poverty level.
Finances seemed to have a large impact in the rankings, as New York City was unsurprisingly No. 1 for attractions, but ranked last for lowest median family salary (adjusted for cost of living).
New York City, which ranked 115 overall, was at 37 for health and safety, but in the 70s for family fun and education and child care. Its big city neighbor to the south, Philadelphia, also ranked low for affordability and other factors, coming in at 123.
Boston, however, fared better at number 53, with its high education and child care rating of five.
"Young families should carefully review their lifestyle and assess their current resources, and then prioritize their preferences accordingly," said Soyeon Park, associate professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Development at San Francisco State University.
“Not all families have the sufficient wherewithal to buy a large single family house with a spacious backyard, hire a 24-hour nanny, send the child to a private school and shop daily at pricey organic grocery stores. For some families, enjoying outdoor recreational activities together on weekends is crucial, but for others it may be more important to find easy access to multiple child care arrangements as both parents work full-time with nontraditional hours. Long-term financial planning based on individual needs is key to successfully managing a budget, especially when couples have young children or plan to have children in the near future.”