The Top 100 Best Cities To Raise A Family.

According to the magazine Best Life, using categories and data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Center for Education Statistics, the FBI, the American Association of Museums, the National Center for Health Statistics and the American Bar Association to sort them out, here is a list of the first 25 of the 100 Best Places to Raise A Family.

1 Honolulu, Hawaii
2 Virginia Beach, Virginia
3 Billings, Montana
4 Columbus, Georgia
5 San Diego, California
6 Des Moines, Iowa
7 Minneapolis, Minnesota
8 Madison, Wisconsin
9 Colorado Springs, Colorado
10 Santa Rosa, California
11 Wichita, Kansas
12 Los Angeles, California
13 Corona, California
14 Austin, Texas
15 Stamford, Connecticut
16 Omaha, Nebraska
17 Naperville, Illinois
18 Fort Wayne, Indiana
19 Springfield, Illinois
20 Boise, Idaho
21 Manchester, New Hampshire
22 South Bay Area, California
23 New York, New York
24 Fontana, California
25 Louisville, Kentucky

I have to say that I thoroughly disagree that Los Angeles should be anywhere on this list – between the horrible public school system, the lack of mass transit, the overpopulation, the crime rate, and the dirty air, how can they be in the top 25 places? Strange… Anyway, if you want to read the whole list and see where your city fits in, you can see them all over at the Today Show’s website.

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Comments (25)

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  1. I feel like I’m always defending LA here! I completely agree that LAUSD is awful, but there are very good school districts within the greater LA area (plus some of the country’s best private schools too). And you simply can’t beat the breadth of diversity in culture, ethinicities, and experiences. You could pretty much find anything you want here, whether it be a product or an experience or even a person. I’m more than happy to be raising my children in a place where they’ll have access to all of these things.

  2. Wow! Oklahoma City just missed the top 25. We wound up number 28. That’s pretty impressive really. Nice to know that I’m raising my family in one of the better cities.

    The Today’s Show site also lists the 10 worst cities. I was surprised to see Springfield, MO on there. I’ve been to Springfield and it doesn’t seem like such a bad place.

  3. David says:

    Unfortunately though, most people who live in LA cannot afford private school. The preschool my wife works at is private and charges $1500 a month! So instead, the majority of kids end up in LAUSD, which is absolutely terrible. If you can afford private elementary school at $2K a month or so, the schools are not bad.

    And yes, I agree you can find anything you want here…along with many things we don’t want, which is why we are moving out – and we live in SM, one of the best places in LA to live. But different strokes for different folks, and it is not for us after 15 years of living here. 🙂

  4. David says:

    I’ve been to Springfield too, it doesn’t seem all that bad. That list uses education as a big part of their measurements; it’s one big reason I dont know why L.A. is listed as a good place, cause the public schools are really bad.

  5. Austin, Texas here!!

  6. Laura says:

    I lived in Virgina Beach and the area for the past 8 years and I’m surprised it’s on the list. The city caters to tourists. A lot of the activities they have for families goes on during the summer and the have it on the ocean front, where you have to pay for parking. I had to wait until 5pm to get my $1 resident pass. That bothered me because everyone one else came creating long lines of traffic. Housing is expensive and one big reason why we left. The other was that wages tended to be lower than national average.

    Just wanted to give one former resident’s viewpoint.

  7. david says:

    VA Beach, huh? I haven’t been there in ages. I went to ODU in Norfolk, but I lived down close to the beach for my last year – traffic wasn’t that bad back then, it is now? What a shame!

  8. David, you’re exactly right (though, the public schools in some areas are excellent – it really depends on what part of the city you live in!). Based on what you’ve said, I’m sure you’ll be incredibly happy in NM. I’m excited for you to move, and look forward to reading all about the process!

  9. david says:

    The public schools here in S.M. are great, but we couldn’t afford to buy a house here to raise the kids in. I am sure NM will suit us better!

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  11. taupecat says:

    This list is just whacked. Reno? Terrible town with nothing there; a city that’s been on the decline for decades. Same with Oakland; too much poverty and crime. San Francisco is definitely nice, buy WAAAYYY to expensive to raise a family with housing and gas prices the highest in the country.

    And what, no love for my area? One D.C. suburb, Alexandria VA, got a mention, but not my Montgomery County, MD. We have low crime, beautiful parks and playgrounds everywhere, excellent schools (6 of the county high schools just made the Challenger list of the top 100 public schools in the country), and an excellent public transportation system.

    About the only thing I agree with on this list is Philadelphia being 4th on the “worst” list. Talk about a crime-ridden mess of a city!

  12. david says:

    You should write them and let them know to take a look next year!

  13. Kathleen says:

    Los Angeles is terrible. My husband and I are raising a two year old here and planning to move out of state by next year. Housing is completely unaffordable, and once you have a house, you have to be able to afford to send your children to private school in most areas. Commuting is a nightmare. I dont know how LA made it on the list. There are of course areas that have good schools (Santa Monica, Palos Verdes which I guess is south bay) but you need to be able to spend close to – if not over a million dollars to own a home there. We are professionals – husband has MBA and works in banking – I work in property management – by most standards we should be able to live pretty well. NOT IN LA.

  14. david says:

    That’s why we are leaving Kathleen, it’s just not our wish to have to work so much and go without certain things just to live here anymore.

  15. nuiloa says:

    Wow, this list is seriously flawed.

    I grew up in Hawaii and it’s a terrible place to live, especially if you’re raising children.

    This study says Honolulu spends $9000/pupil — but not much seems to actually make it to the kids, because the schools are terrible. They also mentioned low unemployment, but don’t mention nearly all jobs are low-paying service jobs in the tourism industry.

  16. david says:

    I don’t doubt that there are problems with this list for every city, especially if one lives in them. Citizens definitely see the “real” issues where studies tend to gloss them over…

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  18. Wendy Parks says:

    I am a single divorced mother raising two boys (12 and 13 years old). I moved from Chicago to Columbus, Georgia several years ago. I am very happy that I made the move. I love Columbus. We have a great school system and it is a great place to raise a family.

  19. Kim W says:

    Has anyone lived in Georgia? I tried to make it there, but it was so expensive. Actually I stayed with my sister in Atlanta, GA in a new area called Camp Creek Marketplace. It was definitely stressful. I’m originally from Davenport, IA, and I wanted a new change. I was not used to the rush hour traffic, the long waiting lines at the stores, etc. I had a truck and gas was killing my pockets. The school system was not good. I believe it was called Fulton County. I’ve heard that there are other states that are better to live in throughout Georgia. Please advise.

  20. rianne says:

    i was surprised at the LA on the list too. i moved out of california for new mexico and love it here. we were in ontario, ca. i can’t believe fontana, ca is on that list. best place to raise a gang member, not child.

  21. david says:

    Where in NM rianne? Yea, you are right – Fontana is a great place to raise a gang member – makes you wonder who compiles these lists!

  22. harry says:

    I think Warner Robins GA was recently named best place in Georgia to raise a family, the new SE little league HQ is now located there and the Warner Robins little league team won the world sries in little league in 2007. The largest employer in the state is located there. It has many out of state people living there.

  23. Sean Manning says:

    Scranton Pennsylvania

  24. Justin says:

    Reno is actually a great place to live. Low crime compared to other major cities,Good school systems, no state tax, four seasons, and yes only 35 minutes to tahoe the best skiing on earth. You can drive from one end of town to the other in 25 minutes. We have a major airport centrally located about 15 minutes tops from all directions. Great restaurants, fishing and close to sac and Utah. Plus if your LDS there is a mini-Temple. We have it all and more.

  25. Dave says:

    I cannot believe NYC , New York made the list. I am from NYC and I am trying had to get find a place elsewhere to raise my kids. The NYC public schools are sub par, unless your child happens to pass a test and get into another special school , but then you have to travel outside of your neighborhood. The humidty is horrible ugggh…. It there is allot of precipitation. Crime is prevalent. NYC is a top terror target.Air quality is bad. Bad place for people with allergies. It is overcrowded. The homes are very expensive in the areas where you would want to live. Taxes are very high, car insurance is crazy. So if you like a place where you live on top of eachother, the summers are extremely sticky, the winters are freezing, pollution is high, the beaches are dirty, crime is a problem, streets are dirty, it is noisy … ummmm did i forget anything.. ohhh.. wait the cultural activities area great… gotta give credit…