The 10 Best Cities to Raise Children

by Christian Neeser - June 8, 2014

What made us happy as children? Well depending on who you are it could be a vast number of things; simply reading our favorite book, playing a sport with our friends, watching Hey Arnold!, or even playing catch with your Dad.

There are many things about the city in which we grew up that played a part in our happiness as well. Did we feel safe? Did we have opportunity to get a good education? These ten cities, according to our study, are the best at ensuring a quality childhood, and peace of mind for the parents raising them.

Here's How We Ranked Them

We started with a list of the 100 most populous cities in the U.S. and ranked them from one to 100 in each of the following categories:

Crime Rate - Your child's safety is something that is always on your mind. It doesn't matter if he or she is five or 50, you hope they are staying safe. So we examined crime rate as an important criteria. Data found on

Public School Ranking - Education is important as well. You'd like your child to be able to survive a college classroom, and that's where being prepared comes in. Numbers from, which explains how they rank the schools here.

Public Parks Per Capita - Children getting exercise is of big significance as well. It keeps them healthy, and it helps the parents stay happy. Public parks are an excellent, and free, way to do that. Data found through Yelp.

Average Family Salary - Being able to afford a couple of luxuries, like a television or a new baseball bat and glove, can really help the "fun" factor that goes along with growing up. This is the average salary based on a family household. Numbers from the Census website.

Cost of Living - In order to balance out annual salary, we looked the cost of living in each city as well. Data attained through Area Vibes website.

After establishing a ranking for each of those categories, We assigned a score to each city for those categories as well. Once those were added up, We divided the sum into an average; the lower that average was the better.

1. Scottsdale, AZ

Sunny Scottsdale was able to vault to the number one spot by ranking first in average family income. At more than $136,000 annually, it certainly helps to afford the cost of living. You could even take the kids to a tournament at TPC Scottsdale; or perhaps, even play it. The city also ranked fourth in the public schools category.

2. Fremont, CA

The fourth most populous city in the San Francisco Bay area, Fremont ranked in the top five in three separate categories. Other than having a couple of claims to fame - like being the site of the Apple factory where the first Mac computer was produced - the city proved to be a wonderful place to raise your children as well. They ranked third in the crime rate category.

3. Irvine, CA

It has been well established that Irvine is home to quality public schooling; they ranked sixth in CNNMoney's study of best places to live in the U.S., partly because of their schools. This study proved no different, as they ranked number one in that category. They also ranked second in average income, so jobs there afford the working parent an opportunity to give their children a couple of luxuries...