Special Report

Worst Cities to Raise Children

Source: Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia Commons

10. Danville, IL
> Pre-school enrollment: 36.1%
> Graduation rate: 78.7%
> Pop. with access to areas for activity: 65.6%
> Violent crime rate: 780 per 100,000

A relatively dangerous place, Danville, Illinois’ violent crime rate of 780 incidents of murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault for every 100,000 residents is more than double the corresponding national rate. High crime can be closely tied to poor economic conditions, and in Danville, 6.7% of the labor force is unemployed, one of the higher unemployment rates among U.S. metro areas.

Likely due in part to an inadequate job market, 27.8% of area children live in poverty, well above the 20.7% U.S. child poverty rate.

Source: bobistraveling / Flickr

9. Beckley, WV
> Pre-school enrollment: 26.9%
> Graduation rate: 83.0%
> Pop. with access to areas for activity: 47.2%
> Violent crime rate: 440 per 100,000

Access to parks and recreation centers can promote more active and healthier lifestyles. Relatively few Beckley, West Virginia residents can take advantage of such amenities as only 47.2% of the population has easy access to venues for physical activity, well below the 84.0% share of Americans nationwide.

Children in Beckley are also more likely to face serious financial hardship and less likely to receive preventative medical care than most. Some 25.7% of area children live in poverty and 11.7% are without health insurance, well above the respective 20.7% and 4.8% national shares.

Source: oddharmonic / Flickr

8. Goldsboro, NC
> Pre-school enrollment: 23.2%
> Graduation rate: 85.0%
> Pop. with access to areas for activity: 48.5%
> Violent crime rate: 494 per 100,000

Access to places for physical activity such as parks or recreation centers can increase the likelihood of area children being physically active and healthy. In the Goldsboro metro area, less than half of the population has access to such facilities, one of the smallest shares of any city nationwide. Area children are also more likely to lack health insurance and live in poverty than children nationwide.

Source: Thinkstock

7. Albuquerque, NM
> Pre-school enrollment: 40.9%
> Graduation rate: 62.0%
> Pop. with access to areas for activity: 85.0%
> Violent crime rate: 793 per 100,000

Albuquerque high school students are among the least likely in the country to graduate on time. Albuquerque’s 62% graduation rate is the lowest among U.S. metro areas and well below the 83% U.S. graduation rate.

In addition to struggling schools, the metro area also has a crime problem. There were 793 violent crimes for every 100,000 Albuquerque metro area residents in 2015, more than double the comparable U.S. violent crime rate.

Source: Thinkstock

6. Monroe, LA
> Pre-school enrollment: 46.2%
> Graduation rate: 81.6%
> Pop. with access to areas for activity: 66.9%
> Violent crime rate: 1,160 per 100,000

With 1,160 violent crimes — murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault — for every 100,000 residents, Monroe, Louisiana is the most dangerous metro area in the country. Like many parts of the country with high crime, Monroe is a relatively poor city. More than 1 in every 10 families lives on less than $10,000 a year — more than double the comparable share nationwide. Additionally, 35% of area children live in poverty, the 12th highest child poverty rate among U.S. metro areas.

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