When deciding on where to live, most homebuyers consider what might be best, and safest, for their kids. With this in mind, a study from WalletHub examined 180 U.S. cities, using 46 key metrics to determine which cities are the best for raising a family, and which fall short.
“A child’s development and a family’s quality of life is largely influenced by the city they live in due to environmental factors and social factors,” said Michelle Bemiller, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, Walsh University. “In terms of environmental factors, a child’s development and a family’s quality of life can be impacted by issues related to lack of adequate housing, pollutants that affect health and wellness, crime rates, and the quality of schools – to name a few.”
Overland Park, Kansas was rated best overall, due to its affordability and “socioeconomics rank”. Overland park also boasts the highest median family salary, adjusted for cost of living. Close behind are two California cities, Irvine and Fremont, which WalletHub found to each have high rankings in health and safety as well as education and childcare. Irvine also holds the lowest crime rate in the country, making it a safe city for families. According to WalletHub, Cedar Rapids, Iowa has the most affordable housing, while Overton Park has the second most affordable.
WalletHub's "worse" city was Newark, New Jersey, due to low rankings in both health and safety as well as education and childcare, and one of the lowest affordability rankings.
According to Huberta Jackson-Lowman, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Florida A&M University, Affordable housing is the number one thing families should consider when choosing a city, meaning local officials should make offering resources to first time buyers a priority when trying to attract young families.
“If housing becomes unaffordable for low-income families, then homelessness increases and the trauma of homelessness affects the development of the child and places them at risk for developmental disorders, psychological problems, learning disabilities, etc,” said Jackson-Lowman.
Find the report from WalletHub here.