Everyone wants the best things in life for their children and family, like a suitable household to grow up in, a proper school system to enroll the kids into, a safe town with a low crime rate, etc. Additionally, everyone wants their children to thrive in a town bustling with culture, fun things to do, and people with similar goals and mindsets.
However, there are so, so many conflicting reports about what the very best and safest cities to raise a family are. It’s difficult to find accurate and good information on cities that aren’t just straight up lists of names or are fraught with poorly researched, shallow data. As someone who has lived in one of the 10 best cities spoken about below, I can tell you that growing up in a town that is very safe, low in crime, bursting with unique culture, well-educated, and offering myriads of unique intangibles that make it completely special was a huge benefit while growing up.
After many hours of research, speaking to some people who have lived in these cities, and thinking about the best factors that go into a city primed for raising a family, I am here to present to you, without any further ado, the ten unequivocally best cities in America to raise a healthy, happy, educated, and fantastic family.
(Interested in reading about other great American cities? Check out the new website from this article’s author www.americaunraveled.com).
10. Boulder, Colorado
Who else wouldn’t want to wake up to beautiful Colorado mountains, fresh air, and an intellectual economy driven by one of the nation’s greatest universities, the University of Colorado, Boulder. Colorado is frequently cited as one of the top 10 states in the country for excellence in school systems – Boulder’s itself is among the very finest. Additionally, the town’s crime rate is relatively low for a large city, certainly much, much lower than the US average. From the town’s Pearl Street Overpass to the awe-inspiring scenic area of the Flatirons to the endless bike trails and exciting urban culture, Boulder is not only one of the best places to live in, but also one of the best to raise culturally diverse, intellectual children. Recently, Men’s Journal ranked Boulder, CO as the best place in America to live. We understand why.
9. Burlington, Vermont
The largest city in the beautiful state of Vermont, Burlington’s economy is driven by the power of education and health, with the University of Vermont employing several thousands of faculty, staff, and students. Additionally, the Fletcher Allen hospital, named a top 25 “green” hospital by the health advocacy organization Practice Greenhealth, employs several thousand doctors, nurses, and staff members as well. The unemployment rate, according to Kiplinger.com, is an astoundingly low 3.5%, marking this city one of the best places for moms and dads to find jobs to support their children. The town is exceptionally noted for being eco-friendly, with the mayor aiming to make all energy used in the town as renewable energy. Indeed, many of the top solar power companies in the entire world are based in Burlington.
Additionally, the town is known for having a quirky and fun sense of cultural pride, with the city hosting very popular dragon boat races that sometimes have well over 2,000 participants. The race takes place in Lake Champlain, and proceeds go to charity. Also, fun fact: Ben & Jerry’s started in Burlington in 1978.
8. Dubuque, Iowa
With an unemployment rate of less than 5%, Dubuque led the entire midwest in economy and job growth in 2005 and was subsequently ranked in the top 25 fastest growing economies in North America. The city has truly blossomed in recent years, with education, health, finance, and publishing all becoming legitimately wealthy sectors of the city.
Outside of the positive economic climate, there are many other tremendous benefits to raising a family in Dubuque. A single-family home costs less than $150,000 on average, with many premium four-bedroom homes in their historic district costing less than $300,000 total. If you are deeply religious and spiritual, you will enjoy Dubuque’s very Christian population, a population that is given the option to attend any of the 11 active Christian churches in the entire city.
The school system is also fantastic, with sixteen schools (ten high schools, three middle schools, three elementary schools) enrolling over 10,000 students, ensuring a very favorable student size per building. A rising national attraction, Dubuque has well over 1,000,000 tourists that come to check out the city per year.
7. Friendswood, Texas
Frequently cited as one of the very best cities in the nation to raise a family, Friendswood was recently cited by the website Neighborhood Scout as the 32nd safest city in all of America. In addition to being supremely safe, the average income per family is close to $130,000, among the highest for small towns in all of Texas. With a population of less than 40,000 residents, the town size is very desirable for those who are not looking for the urban sprawl of a major city, but rather, the intimacy and communal friendship of a town that comes packed with a heaping spoonful of heart and positive pride. Additionally, the school system is rated “exemplary” by the state of Texas.
Located near greater Houston, families have easy driving access to one of the country’s most culturally diverse cities in America, a city thats sports several professional sports teams, a strongly ethnic, diverse international community, and the presence of several of the world’s finest universities, including the University of Houston as well as Rice University.
I moved to Friendswood, Texas from West Hartford, Connecticut this year, and it is clear that those who made this list have never visited Friendswood. Unfortunately, my family fell under the spell of propaganda such as this, and it has been the worst mistake of our lives. Please know that often lists such as these are compiled based on submissions sent in by the towns themselves, and they are based mainly on statistics which we all know can be skewed toward the most favorable representation of an area. Kind of like a beauty contestant with a really aggressive agent sending in her stats to every pageant she can find. Friendswood, much like other parts of Texas, has a lot of bravado about nothing. The sentence about the “heaping spoonful of positive pride” is the truest characterization in the description. The drive down I-45 from Houston is the ugliest and most depressing drive in America. I cannot wait to move my family out of here. I think most would agree that an area rampant in pawn shops, tattoo parlors, pay-day lenders, self-storage facilities, smoke stores, and “gentlemen’s clubs” is not a great place to raise a family. If ZoomTens examined data such as the number of chain drive thru fast food restaurants per capita, Friendswood would certainly not have made this list. The schools are shockingly resource poor. They may be “Exemplary” for Texas, but they cannot hold a candle to schools in the Northeast. Teachers are not required to have Master’s degrees, so most do not. Phys Ed classes can have 75 students at the elementary level, and 1 librarian is shared among over 1300 students. Just a reality check. There is no real sense of community here, and for the record, it TOTALLY feels like sprawl.