To identify the 30 best cities for families, 24/7 Wall St. created an index accounting for a range of social, educational, and economic measures, as well as measures of health. Metro areas with a violent crime rate, or property crime rate, that exceeded the corresponding national rates were excluded.
The social components of the index were the five year change in the number of families, share of families with children, recreation centers and public parks for every every 100,000 families. The education component was comprised of the high school graduation rate, preschool enrollment, and the relative share of workers employed in child day care services. The economic measures included were the 2015 unemployment rate among parents, the child poverty rate, average commute time, and the ratio of median family incomes to home values. The measures of health included in the index were the child uninsured rate, teen birth rate, and share of the population with limited access to healthy food.
Graduation rates and teen birth rates are from 2017 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program. The share of the population with limited access to health food is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. Employment in child day care centers is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. The number of parks and recreation centers come from County Business Patterns, a division of the U.S. Census Bureau. All other data came from the Census’ 2015 American Community Survey.