To determine the 10 Best Places to Raise a Family, Livability’s data scientists first analyzed all U.S. cities with a population between 20,000 and 300,000 and weeded out places with high childcare costs and low Great Schools scores.
The list was created by cross-referencing 2018 city population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division with data from Great Schools, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
All in all, Livability data scientists and editors analyzed more than 2,000 cities based on the following criteria in order to determine the 2018 10 Best Places to Raise a Family:
- Number of potential playmates (percent of the population that is under age 6)
- Quality of public schools
- Measures of children’s health
- Affordability of housing and transportation options
- Cost of childcare
- Number of daycare options, parks and libraries
- Walkability and other factors related to the physical environment
- And, because we know what really matters to kids: the number of candy stores
And, finally, our editorial experts weighed in to give the list our Livability stamp of approval.
“This year’s Best Places to Raise a Family list highlights some famously family-friendly cities and some gems you might never have heard of,” says Winona Dimeo-Ediger, Livability.com’s Managing Editor. “To get to the heart of what makes a city great for families, we combined rigorous data collection and ranking criteria with personal testimonials from these cities’ most important residents: kids.”
Livability.com explores what makes small to mid-sized cities great places to live, work and visit. We examine issues such as affordability, cultural amenities and talent attraction, and celebrate the accomplishments of these cities through our monthly top 10 lists, our annual ranking of the Top 100 Best Places to Live, and daily articles exploring the who, what, why and how behind the “where.” Livability.com is a division of Journal Communications, Inc.