Top 10 Family-Friendly Metropolitan Areas

Want to give your kids that “raised in the city” experience without all of the risks of New York or LA? evaluated the top 50 markets by rental inventory based on the cost of living, violent crime rate, and graduation rate, in order to identify ten cities where parents can raise a child with peace of mind. Cost of living, crime rate, and graduation rate were ranked against the national average, and crime rate was weighted double relative to other statistics, based on the overwhelming response from parents that safety is a top priority. The following places are all wonderful choices for parents looking to raise their kids in the city (not ranked in order):

  • Photo credit: Daniel Mayer

    Austin, TX – This heart of Texas city is known for its neighborhood spirit. The grassroots feeling of Austin makes residents proud and means every family will find a place where they belong. From the peacocks in Mayfield Park to the watering holes at Barton Springs, the kids will never be bored.

  • Columbus, Ohio

    Columbus, OH – Columbus is an affordable city with Midwestern values and some of the top public schools in the nation, offering opportunities for all children. This city abounds with themed play parks both indoor and outdoor, and boasts an Audubon designated park, Pickerington Ponds, where you can hike, bike and explore 260 species of birds!

  • Dallas, Texas
    Photo credit: fcn80

    Dallas, TX – Children living in Dallas have endless attractions and learning experiences in their own city – from zoos to parks to children’s theater. Sportier family members will enjoy cheering on the city’s many top sports teams including the Cowboys and the Rangers!

  • Denver, Colorado
    Photo credit: refractor

    Denver, CO – Denver has the largest public parks system of any U.S. city – perfect for active and outdoorsy families. One of the fittest cities in the nation, Denver is big on sports so get ready to cheer, go Broncos!

  • Omaha, NE
    Photo credit: Shannon Ramos

    Omaha, NE – Outstanding public schools, a consistently low crime rate, and a lower cost of living make Omaha a great city, especially for parents valuing education. With many museums and performing arts, the Old Market historic neighborhood and the Heartland of America Park, Omaha will keep your kids engaged.

  • Phoenix, AZ
    Photo credit: public domain

    Phoenix, AZ – While Phoenix may have a reputation for attracting retirees, the warm weather is also perfect for kids, with attractions like the Phoenix Zoo, the Children’s Museum and a multitude of outdoor activities, including hiking and biking trails through the Sonoran desert.

  • Portland, OR
    Photo credit: Jami Dwyer

    Portland, OR – With a low crime rate and high graduation rate, the statistics are in Portland’s favor for families. This Oregon city is also known to be a haven for green living. Portland is a great combination of culture and the arts with beautiful scenery from the mountains to the coasts of Oregon.

  • Discovered by the Germans in 1904...
    Photo credit: Whoismanu

    San Diego, CA – Families with children are never bored in San Diego! From beaches to family-friendly attractions downtown, there’s plenty to keep the kids busy. A major tourist destination with fantastic weather year-round, San Diego also boasts many interesting theme parks, zoos and aquariums that will capture kids’ imaginations.

  • San Jose, CA
    Photo credit: Team San Jose

    San Jose, CA – Parents with kids will appreciate the convenience of living in San Jose, known for its public transportation and cultural attractions. From the largest outdoor Monopoly board to the Children’s Discovery Museum and Happy Hollow Park, there is plenty of fun (and learning) to be found in the tech hub.

  • Seattle, WA
    Photo credit: Daniel Schwen

    Seattle, WA – A high graduation rate and reputation for academic excellence, Seattle is a great place to settle down with children of all ages. Surrounded by the beauty of the Puget Sound and the Olympic mountains there is plenty to explore in this science and technology center.

Top 10 List Methodology developed this list in 2012. Metropolitan markets were ranked based on availability of rental inventory, cost of living, violent crime rate, and graduation rates. Based on the top 50 markets by rental availability, we ranked performance against the national average for cost of living, violent crime rate per 100,000 inhabitants, and graduate rate for the principal school district serving the city. Crime rate was given double weight relative to the other statistics. Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Education,

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