Special Report

Best Cities for Families

Source: Thinkstock

15. Morgantown, WV
> 5-yr. change in number of families: +2.9%
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people: 267.6
> Share of 3-4 yr. olds in preschool: 42.6%
> Graduation rate: 84.7%

If you’re a family that likes to keep it local, look no farther than Morgantown. The city offers universal pre-school and is home to West Virginia University, so your child can grow up having an education right next door. Morgantown ranks highly among other U.S metro areas when it comes to recreation areas, as the community boasts 65 for every 100,000 families, more than all but 15 other metro areas.

Source: Thinkstock

14. Bloomington, IL
> 5-yr. change in number of families: N/A
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people: 252.0
> Share of 3-4 yr. olds in preschool: 58.1%
> Graduation rate: 88.2%

For working parents, long commutes can be stressful and cut into time better spent with the family. In the Bloomington metro area, the average commute is less than 18 minutes, which is nearly 10 minutes less than the average commute on a national scale.

Children in the Bloomington metro area are also far less likely to grow up facing serious financial hardship than most. Bloomington’s child poverty rate of 7.3% is less than half the nationwide rate.

Source: John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

13. Norwich-New London, CT
> 5-yr. change in number of families: +1.3%
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people: 323.7
> Share of 3-4 yr. olds in preschool: 61.0%
> Graduation rate: 89.5%

Of the four major metropolitan areas in Connecticut, three rank among the best cities for families. Advantages in the Norwich-New London metro area include access to both medical care and preschool programs. Child health care coverage is nearly universal in Norwich-New London as only 1.1% of area children are uninsured. Additionally, the metro area is one of only three nationwide with a lower than average violent crime rate and a preschool enrollment among 3 and 4-year olds over 60%.

Source: Thinkstock

12. Sheboygan, WI
> 5-yr. change in number of families: +4.7%
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people: 174.5
> Share of 3-4 yr. olds in preschool: 41.1%
> Graduation rate: 93.9%

Children who grow up in the Sheboygan metro area are far more likely to finish high school than most. About 94% of students in the area graduate from high school, the third highest graduation rate among U.S. metro areas. A favorable job market also helps area parents. The unemployment rate among working parents in Sheboygan is only 1.9%, half the comparable U.S. rate.

Source: Thinkstock

11. Portland-South Portland, ME
> 5-yr. change in number of families: +1.5%
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people: 134.6
> Share of 3-4 yr. olds in preschool: 46.1%
> Graduation rate: 89.0%

The Portland-South Portland metro area boasts 58 recreation centers and 2.2 public parks for every 100,000 families, a larger share than most other U.S. metro areas and far more than across the U.S. as a whole.

Additionally, incomes tend be relatively high in the area as the typical family earns $77,500 a year, nearly $10,000 more than the typical American family.

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