Special Report

Worst Cities to Raise Children

Samuel Stebbins, Evan Comen


To identify the worst cities for children, 24/7 Wall St. created an index composed of violent crime rates, graduation rates, preschool enrollment rates, and the share of the population with access to areas for physical activity like parks and recreation centers. The share of 3 and 4-year olds enrolled in preschool came from the 2015 American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau. Violent crime rates came from the FBI’s 2015 Uniform Crime Report. Graduation rates and the share of the population with access to places for physical activity are from the 2017 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program. Only metro areas for which such data was available were included. We also considered ACS measures that were not indexed, including the child uninsured rate, child poverty rate, and median family income. Per-pupil school funding came from Education Week’s Quality Counts 2017 report.