The Ultimate List of the Best Cities to Raise a Family in the US

October 17, 2021 / Posted in City Guides
Michael Vaughan

Moving through the Bay Area, Michael works as a freelance writer in the moving and transportation industry.

Although most families in the US tend to move every few years, that doesn’t make the search for the perfect location any easier. While every household might have different reasons for moving, knowing more about the best cities to raise a family will help you make the right decision for you and your kids.

 A couple playing with their baby
Having a baby is one of the most common reasons households decide to move

Considering the country’s sheer size, many are wondering what state is the best state to raise a family. While it’s hard to pick a place that will suit everyone, the locations mentioned in this article will undoubtedly be a good choice for you, no matter what your personal preferences might be.

The Best Cities to Raise a Family in the US Have a Lot in Common

Families in the US tend to move a lot more often on average compared to the rest of the world, with many typical households relocating to a new home every five years. While this usually coincides with the birth of a child, there are many other reasons to move. Most American parents don’t mind moving to a new city or even an entirely different state if it means they can provide their children with a better life.

However, that doesn’t make it any easier for them to decide where to live. If you and your loved ones plan to move soon, you’ll probably need some house hunting tips. Fortunately, the best places to raise a family in the US have a lot of things in common. You just have to make sure that the location you choose has all the necessary family-friendly qualities, including:

  • Low rates of violent and property crimes,
  • Plenty of highly-rated public schools,
  • Relatively short commute times,
  • A high percentage of households with children,
  • Access to important amenities (parks, libraries, colleges, museums).
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Finding a Perfect Location Takes Time, So You Might Want to Hire Long-Distance Movers to Assist With Other Tasks

With all the research you’ll have to do before relocating, there probably won’t be enough time to pack all the fragile items you own. If you have a lot of things on your to-do list, one of the easiest ways to box up for a move would be to book a packing service with professional cross-country movers. You won’t even have to worry about getting any packing materials, as they are always included with the long-distance moving services.

Moving is incredibly stressful as is, so if you’re relocating from East Coast to West Coast, for example, you’ll also want to get a car shipping service from an auto transport company. Even if we forget for a second how hard driving from one part of the country to another can be, you certainly don’t want to take your kids through all the chaos just to save a bit of money on transportation costs. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at a few places that will undoubtedly suit any household.

Professional long distance movers preparing items for cross country moving
These moves require a lot of preparation, so don't hesitate to hire a professional moving or car shipping company to assist you

Naperville, Illinois Is Easily the Best and Safest Place to Raise a Family in the Entire US

By all accounts, Naperville, Illinois, is easily one of the best cities in America to raise a family. The Chicago suburb provides all the benefits of a metropolis without any visible downsides. For starters, its school system ranks among the top forty school districts in the entire US, meaning you can easily find excellent public schools near you no matter which neighborhood you decide to move to.

You’ll also find plenty of parks throughout the entire suburb, which is particularly good for families moving with pets. Centennial Park is one of the most popular spots where locals gather to enjoy all sorts of sporting and outdoor activities, many of which you’ll be able to explore with your children.

Another great thing about Naperville is that you won’t have to worry about long commuting. While driving to Chicago can sometimes take well over an hour, the suburb has a well-organized public transportation system. It’s often the better option, as Amtrak’s Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg trains allow you to get to Downtown Chicago in just over 40 minutes. That means you won’t be missing out on any of the fun things to do with your kids, even if you don’t move to Chicago itself.

Recent Crime Reports Show That Naperville Is Easily One of the Safest Cities to Live in the Entire Country

What makes Naperville a particularly great choice for households with children is its general safety. Its total crime numbers are 90% lower than Illinois’s, which is already one of the safest states in general. According to the most recent data, it experienced only about 300 crimes in 2019, most of which were property crimes. Violent felonies are very rare, with no murders occurring within the city’s borders.

The City’s Only Major Downside Is the Relatively Higher Housing Cost

One of the rare downsides of Naperville is its relatively high cost of living. This is particularly true for housing, as the suburb has a median home value of $420,000 and monthly rent of $1,500. While someone who lives in Los Angeles might find these prices very affordable, they are significantly higher when compared to the cost of living in Chicago. Still, for a suburb with so many excellent features, these prices are not really that high, especially when compared to some other locations on this list.

Streets of Naperville, Illinois
What is the best city to raise a family in the US? Naperville, IL, is arguably the best candidate for the spot

The Woodlands, TX, Is the Top City to Live in America Period

If you’re planning on moving to Texas, The Woodlands might just be the location you’ve been looking for. The master-planned community is perfect for raising children, featuring everything from excellent healthcare and public schools to low crime rates. It also has extensive outdoor recreational areas, including 220 miles of hiking and biking trails and over 150 parks. It also houses many corporations, so you won’t have to worry about getting a job before moving here.

The Woodlands Is One of the More Prestigious Locations in Texas

With all the amenities the Houston suburb offers, it’s not surprising that Niche ranked it as their #1 city to live in America. That also makes it one of the more prestigious locations in Texas, with the local population earning double what an average Texan earns in a year. If you already live in Houston, be aware that The Woodlands’ median home value of $375,000 more than doubles the city’s $170,000. However, these prices shouldn’t be a problem for someone coming from California. To see what amenities you’ll be getting after moving here, check out the video below.

Raleigh in North Carolina Is the Place Where Scientists Are Made

Anyone who’s not sure where to move needs to check out Raleigh. The North Carolina capital is primarily known for its universities, schools, and scientific institutions, meaning it’s perfect for raising children interested in technology and natural sciences. The local population is highly educated, with many adult residents having at least a bachelor’s degree. At one point, Time magazine even ranked it as the third most educated city in the country.

On a similar note, Raleigh’s North Carolina State University is a part of the biggest research area in the entire country, also known as the Research Triangle Park (RTP). The establishment of the RTP in the late 1950s created tens of thousands of jobs in science and technology fields, causing the city’s population to double every twenty to thirty years ever since. Fast forward to today, you’ll see that Raleigh is prominently featured on many “Top 10” lists. Considering everything it offers, it’s only a matter of time before more people discover its amenities.

The North Carolina Capital Is So Affordable You’ll Only Find Cheaper Housing in Florida

With the rapid population growth and all the amenities it offers, you’d think that Raleigh would certainly be very expensive. On the contrary, the city’s cost of living is about 5% lower than the national average. Despite the constant growth of its real estate market, it has some of the most affordable housing among all the entries on this list.

The median home value of $250,000 and monthly rent of $1,120 are relatively inexpensive even when compared to the national averages. Unless you’re down with moving to Florida, you won’t be able to find cheaper real estate with half the amenities Raleigh offers.

 

Wide shot of Raleigh, North Carolina
Where is the most affordable place to raise a family? Raleigh's real estate makes it one of the cheapest places on this list

Your Child Will Love All the Things Irvine, California, Has to Offer

If you’re on the East Coast and planning a cross-country move to California, Irvine should definitely be on top of your watch list. While most dream of relocating to San Francisco or Los Angeles, many tend to forget that the Orange County area is a perfect place for your children to grow up. Those who decide to move here will get to enjoy sunny weather and a ton of incredible outdoor activities throughout the year.

There’s also a ton of shops, parks, malls, and restaurants, meaning you’ll never run out of things to do. Irvine also houses several highly-rated public and private schools as well as colleges and universities, providing your kids with all the education needed to succeed in life.

Irvine Is Between San Francisco and Los Angeles in Terms of Housing Prices

As with most other places in California, high taxes and highly-priced housing have to be the biggest drawback to moving to Irvine. Although there are many more expensive locations in Orange County, Irvine prices still fall between the cost of living in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Its median home value of $840,000 and $2,350 monthly rent costs are easily the highest of all the locations on this list. This means you’ll need to have a good and steady source of income just to provide your children with everything they need.

Aerial view of Irvine
If you're interested in relocating to California, OC's Irvine should be on top of your list

Washington’s Bellevue Is Another Excellent Choice

Moving to Washington State is almost always a good choice. It’s incredibly wealthy, socially liberal, and has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. While most people are still relocating to Seattle, the rise in property crimes has caused many to consider moving to the suburbs around the city. With that in mind, you can’t go wrong with Bellevue, as it has just as many amenities as Seattle but without the disadvantages.

Besides being safer than its neighbor, Bellevue also has the top school district in the state, allowing your children to get the highest quality education possible. It features a ton of parks, museums, and playgrounds, providing an abundance of kid-friendly activities for you to explore. Cycling is very popular here, so don’t forget to pack your bikes before relocating. Last but not least, if you have to commute, you can get to Downtown Seattle in under 20 minutes.

Bellevue’s Housing Can Be Very Expensive

Although Bellevue is technically an upscaled version of what living in Seattle is like, that’s also what makes it somewhat more expensive. Most of the city’s real estate consists of houses whose median home value of $810,000 is about 20% higher than Seattle’s. Renting costs are also higher, but at least the monthly rent of $1,950 is relatively affordable.

Aerial view of Bellevue, Washington
Bellevue is one of the best places for families in the Pacific Northwest

Relocations Are Not Easy, So Try to Make the Process a Bit Easier on Your Children

These were some of the top locations for families in the US. If you’re planning on relocating to a new state, remember to do your research and hire a long-distance moving company to assist you with the preparations. Also, know that saying goodbye to friends is not going to be easy, though, especially for your children. While the little ones might get over it as soon as you meet your new neighbors, teenagers are far more likely to get depressed after moving. Creating a routine and finding new and exciting things to do together will do a lot to help them adjust to their new surroundings much more quickly.

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