There are almost 20,000 cities in the US, so figuring out which one is just right for you and your family can be a bit of a struggle. The city ranking website Livability.com hopes to simplify that process with their list of the top 10 cities for raising a family in 2018.
As they crafted the list, Livability ranked a city’s kid-friendliness by looking at things like the availability and affordability of daycare, how many other kids there are to play with, the quality of local schools, transportation options, and the cost of living. The number of public spaces like parks and libraries was taken into consideration as well.
10) Bozeman, Montana is a smallish town in southern Montana. Most people there only require a 15-minute commute to work, which leaves lots of time to enjoy the city’s bevy of outdoor activities like hiking (Yellowstone isn’t too far away), whitewater rafting, and golfing. The town of just 50,000 people is also home to the Museum of the Rockies and a growing tech sector. So not only is there a lot of good work for adults, but plenty of stuff to get the kids away from the screens and outside too.
9) Morgantown, West Virginia is located near the Pennsylvania border and West Virginia University. The latter means all kinds of sporting and on-campus events that are good for the whole family. Swimming and fishing at Cheat Lake is a popular option too. The local high school Morgantown High also ranks number one in the whole state.
8) Fayetteville, Arkansas is home to around 86,000 people. As is the case with many college towns, sports are a huge deal and the locals often love to go watch the Razorbacks play at The University of Arkansas. Beyond sports, the town has around 37 different parks and almost 100 miles of walking trails. Finding work isn’t too much of a struggle either as Fayetteville has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the US at 2.5 percent.
7) Oak Park, Illinois isn’t even five-square-miles large but is still home to around 50,000 residents. As a suburb of Chicago, all the big-city action isn’t too far away. That makes residents thankful that getting around isn’t too hard either. The public transit in Oak Park is notoriously great. Events like movie screenings in the park and the first day of school marching band celebration make it the perfect spot for little kids to feel at home.
6) State College, Pennsylvania is one of the state’s crown jewels. Located right by Penn State University, the town is often referred to as The Happy Valley. Beyond the fact that the fun of Big 10 Penn State football speaks for itself, State College is home to 395-acre arboretum filled with activities specifically meant for little kids. Beyond that the education system is fantastic. The region boasts just 13 students for every teacher and that kind of ratio is extremely uncommon.
5) Bloomington, Indiana only has a median house price of about $250,000. That puts it a lot closer to the affordable side of things, at least as far as college towns are concerned. A trail cutting straight through the city also leads to the nearby Charles C. Deam wilderness area.
4) Fort Collins, Colorado is another college town, this one located near the illustrious Colorado State University. Amazingly there are around 300 totally sunny days in Fort Collins every year. That means taking advantage of the city’s 600 park acres and 20 miles of hiking trails is pretty easy. The public transit is fantastic, but if buses aren’t your speed, Fort Collins is very bike friendly. If your kid is a history buff, The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is regularly home to fantastic history exhibits and programs too.
3) Beaverton, Oregon is a small suburb of Portland and has some of the best schools and cleanest air in the whole state. Massive companies like IBM, Nike, and Intel all have their headquarters in Beaverton as well. That being the case, there is probably a job for every kind of person here. But when work is off the table, Beaverton’s natural beauty and 1,400 acres of dedicated natural area is nothing short of remarkable.
2) Ann Arbor, Michigan is located about 40 miles west of Detroit. The local Dexter-Huron Metropark is a massive wooded area complete with trails, water activities, swings, parks, and picnic areas. Given the fact that the region is home to 17,000 students, the 17:1 student-teacher ratio is fantastic. Beyond that, around 70 percent of the residents over 25-years-old have at least a bachelor’s degree.
1) Moscow, Idaho is one of the smallest towns on this list, but it isn’t lacking in any personality. The small city is located right along the state’s border with Washington and is home to the University of Idaho. With a massive botanic garden and seven local parks, being outside in Moscow is a huge treat. As far as education goes, kids have it really good. The local school district doesn’t even serve 2,500 students, which will help you and your kids have an easier time making friends.