Fort Wayne named best city to raise a family
By Derek Miller | SmartAsset
Raising a family can be tough. First of all, it’s expensive. The USDA estimates that raising a child born in 2015 would cost a family $233,000 over 18 years. It’s common nowadays for both parents to work outside of the home, meaning they need to pay for full-time child care, which can be very costly. Parents also want to give their children the best chance to succeed so school quality is on many parents’ minds when deciding where to live.
In order to find the best cities to raise a family, SmartAsset looked at data on eight different factors for 86 of the largest cities in the country. Specifically, they looked at:
- Housing costs as a percentage of income. This is the median housing cost in each area as a percentage of the median household income. Data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 5-year American Community Survey.
- Child care costs. This is the average annual cost of full-time center-based child care for an infant. Data is measured at the state level and comes from Child Care Aware.
- Percent of population age 19 and under. Data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 5-Year 2015 American Community Survey.
- Average proficiency in math and reading. This is the average percent of students across schools who are proficient in math combined with the average percent who are proficient in reading. Data comes from the U.S. Department of Education EDFacts for the 2013-2014 School Year.
- High school graduation rate. This is the average percentage of students across schools who graduate. Data comes from the U.S. Department of Education EDFacts for the 2013-2014 School Year.
- Poverty rate. This is the percent of the population whose incomes place them below the poverty line. Data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 5-year American Community Survey.
- Unemployment rate. Data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 5-year American Community Survey.
- Crime rate per 100,000 residents. This is the crime rate per 100,000 residents, it combines violent and property crime rates. Data comes from FBI’s 2015 Uniform Crime Reporting Program and from local police departments and city websites.
1. Fort Wayne, Indiana
Fort Wayne claims first place in our study of the best cities to raise a family. One important factor in Fort Wayne’s favor is its high school graduation rate. Just over 90% of high school students graduate, the third-highest rate in the study. In past studies, we have found that Fort Wayne is one of the best places for teachers, as well. Combine that strong education reputation with low costs of living, and Fort Wayne is a great option for raising a family.
2. Lincoln, Nebraska
The capital of Nebraska ranks well in our study because of high scores in economic metrics and quality of life indicators. Lincoln has the lowest unemployment rate in our study (3.1%) as well as the third-lowest percent of income which goes toward housing (around 21% on average). The schools here are pretty good, as well. Lincoln ranks 13th for both average proficiency in math and reading and the graduation rate.
3. Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth is the second-largest city in our top 10 with a population of 796,614, according to U.S. Census Bureau numbers. Fort Worth beats out the stiff competition from other Texas cities because of its high-quality schools and relatively young population. Thirty-one percent of the folks in Fort Worth are below the age of 20 and almost 89% of high school students graduate. Fort Worth ranks fifth in both of those metrics.
4. Arlington, Texas
Arlington has quite a bit going for it when it comes to raising family. Arlington ranks in the top 10 for the following three metrics: unemployment rate (4.3%), rate of proficiency in math and reading (79.7%) and percentage of population who is under age 20 (29.6%). Combine those great scores with the fact that Arlington ranks no worse than 30th in any metric, and you see why the city is a great place to raise a family.
5. Boise, Idaho
Boise is a solid option, especially if crime is a big concern for you. Boise has the eighth-lowest crime rate in our study, with 2,580 crimes per 100,000 residents. It also ranks in the top 10 in three other metrics including average proficiency in math and reading, housing costs as a percentage of income and the cost of full-time child care. In fact, Idaho families get a one of the better deals in the country when it comes to child care costs. Compared to other states like Colorado, child care costs in Idaho are half as high.