Pheabs Data Report – Best 15 US Places To Start A Family

The births of over 10,000 babies are celebrated in the US each day, and with that, families are created and families grow. As your stage of life changes, sometimes your needs and wants do too. One change that plenty of families initiate is a relocation. This may be because you want your kids to be…

american family

The births of over 10,000 babies are celebrated in the US each day, and with that, families are created and families grow. As your stage of life changes, sometimes your needs and wants do too. One change that plenty of families initiate is a relocation. This may be because you want your kids to be able to walk around safely, it might be that you want to move to be closer to the top schools, or that you simply fancy a change. 

Whatever the catalyst for change, there are various things to think about when moving your family. To help you out, we have carried out some research to provide you with the information you need when thinking about where the best destinations are for family life. 

We have taken data from a few sources, but have principally used the US census as a basis for our conclusions. 

How We Determined Our List


Property Ownership 

Many of us aspire to own properties in our adult life. The likelihood of making these dreams a reality depends upon where you are. The average property ownership rate across the US equates to 65.5%, but this differs from city to city. If you are hoping to purchase a home, you should aim for a city with a respectable property ownership rate. This is because, where rates are low, it implies that purchasing is difficult. 


Proportion of 18-24 Year Olds Who Progress To College Or Equivalent 

This may not be something you’ve thought of, but when thinking towards the future, this is very important when considering how your children’s education will progress.

You may locate yourself in a particularly impressive school district, but if you are hoping to send your children to college, you should consider how common that is within the area. 


Median Household Income 

A staple factor – how much you will be earning. When supporting a family, finances can be stressful. This is particularly pertinent when adjusting to a new life in a new town. Therefore, we have looked at how much you are likely to be taking home from work. 


Median Monthly Rent 

Which should be looked at side-by-side with income (as illustrated in our table below). It’s fantastic if you’re earning a good salary, but you need to consider how far that money will stretch in your new hometown. To understand this, you need to understand the cost of living. For those who choose not to buy straight away, or those who favor a rent culture, rent is usually their most substantial outgoing. We have looked at the median rental price for a three bedroom property – a popular choice for families. 


How Many People Commute To Work

A more trivial factor, but one that can help you nurture a healthy routine within the business of family life. Indeed, studies have proven that walking contributes to positive mental wellbeing. So, really, this could be an investment in your happiness as well as your physical health. 


Key Findings: 


  • The Midwest Comes Out On Top 

The Midwest is often applauded for being a popular place to live, and it is no exception when it comes to raising a family. With states like Michigan, Indiana and Illinois featuring on this list, the Midwest seems a popular location for parents to relocate. 


  • There Is Huge Disparity In College Attendance Rates

Across the US, around 41% of 18-24 year olds enroll in college. Across various cities and states, these rates differ hugely. On this list, the highest admission rate is a whopping 86.3% (Ann Arbor, Michigan), while the lowest is a substantially shallow 22.8% in Arlington, Virginia. 


  • The Outdoors Proves Popular 

Of the rankings we have curated, a common theme is the outdoor amenities available within the city. US citizens are spoilt for choice when it comes to rivers, lakes, parks and beyond. It seems that families flock towards them when settling down.


Best 15 US Places To Start A Family


1. Naperville, Illinois


Naperville’s low crime rate, with only 0.66 violent crimes per thousand residents, draws families in. A happy and thriving city, Naperville commonly sits in Top Ten rankings of Midwest communities. With two school districts, and plenty of nature saturating the city, this ethnically diverse city has plenty on offer for families. 



2. Boston, Massachusetts 


More expensive than other family-friendly options, Boston presents educational and cultural benefits, and encourages a healthy lifestyle, with areas dedicating for nature-lovers and bike-riders. With museums aplenty and plenty of waterside land, there are lots of activities for the weekend. Boston is a popular choice among high-earners who are starting families while financially comfortable. 



3. El Dorado Hills, California


El Dorado Hills gets our number 3 spot for a number of reasons, including being the city on our list with the highest percentage of home owners and boasting a very high median household income. The affordability of housing combined with its vast outdoor parks and great location makes it a great choice for families. 


4. Ann Arbor, Michigan


According to Niche, Ann Arbor is the fifth best city to raise a family in the US. This city is culturally rich, and is not falling short of galleries, artists and museums for you to spend your weekends in. Michigan is home to excellent public schools which, in turn, deliver an exceptionally high rate of 18-24 year olds in higher education. Michigan offers outdoor areas, with lakes, public parks and walking paths dotted around.

ann arbor


5. Irvine, California


A city grounded in community, you will likely have a very happy life raising a family in Irvine. With plenty of parks, fantastic schools, and with a surging job market, Irvine offers opportunities for both adults and children. Irvine is safe, and is surrounded by California’s wonderful nature and geography. 



6. Plano, Texas


Plano’s lakes and parks are only one of their superb offerings for families. With a median age of 37, and around 70,000 families residing there, Plano is set up for family life. High incomes and relatively low costs of living encourages families to start their homes there, and the wonderful schools and average house size of circa 2,500 square feet makes them want to stay. Offering over 60 parks and nature trails, a reputation for breeding high academic achievers, and warm weather, Plano should definitely feature on your ‘maybe’ list. 



7. Colorado Springs, Colorado


Fantastic weather, high quality of life and a strong sense of ‘business casual’ are all strings to Colorado Springs’ bow. Many new families choose to buy homes in CS, enjoying the weather and culture, safe in the knowledge that schools provide strong education, and their kids can grow up somewhat outdoors. Colorado Springs is also a magnet for fitness fanatics, so you can run, cycle, walk and more with your friends and family, right on your doorstep. 

colorado springs


8. Kansas City, Missouri 


Kansas city is revered by locals due to its small town feel and fantastic amenities. Public libraries are in abundance, farmers markets make shopping more interesting, and KC has been ranked seventh in the US for offering affordable homes. Offering well staffed hospitals (including a dedicated children’s hospital), you can rest easy, knowing that you have strong care around you. Consistently lauded as a midwestern gem, this community-centric metro offers low costs of living, strong job opportunities, and places to explore. 

kansas city


9. Arlington, Virginia


Arlington has mastered the art of catering to children, teenagers and adults. Their crime rate is lower than the national average, as is their unemployment rate (which is an impressive 2.8%), and their median age is 34.7. All of these point in the direction of a stable and happy family life. Arlington is the fifth highest income US county by median family income, meaning that families typically enjoy a solid amount of disposable income. Arlington sees hot weather, snowfall, is home to the Pentagon and the US Air Force Memorial. This brings in a respectable amount of tourism, while still maintaining a suburban feel.



10. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Saturated with museums, historical sites, botanical gardens, and well planned public transport, it is easy to move around and explore Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is unique in providing an urban-suburban mix, with popular occupations being in the healthcare, technology and education sectors. The majority of Pittsburgh residents rent their homes, making Pittsburgh an ideal place to ‘try before you buy.’ You could rent for a year or two, peruse the housing market, explore their growing job market, and make a decision afterwards. 



11. District Of Columbia


Having been awarded for preparing students for college, DC is a fantastic springboard for your children’s education and future. With the average commute only just surpassing half an hour, you will have plenty of time to spend at home with your family, between sightseeing and exploring the hub that is DC. There are fantastic career opportunities, with NGOs to Financial Institutions to Tech companies, for you and your children to look towards for careers, or simply for inspiration. 



12. Omaha, Nebraska


Forbes has applauded Omaha for its family-oriented environment, mainly due to its many great schools.  Home to the headquarters of four Fortune 500 companies, there are thriving companies, excellent jobs, and an education system ranking in the top ten in the US. Omaha experiences four seasons, benefits from a low crime rate, and is home to around 200,000 families. Omaha is well set up for families thinking of moving to the Midwest. 



13. Fort Wayne, Indiana


Renowned for its high quality of education, Fort Wayne can carry your children’s education, and can foster career growth if you work in the education sector. Fort Wayne is also one of the safest cities in the US, offering a low crime rate, and plenty of things to keep your family occupied. From museums to parks to zoos, Fort Wayne is not lacking a vibrant entertainment scene. With a strong manufacturing sector, there are plenty of new developments in the works at the moment. Watch Fort Wayne expand and grow with it!

fort wayne


14. Johns Creek, Georgia


Affordable living costs means that most residents own their home, not worrying about regular rental payments. Public schools have enjoyed high achieving pupils, and lots of students and workers walk to work, a key factor in a healthy routine. Incorporating a suburban feel and vibrant cultural scene, Johns Creek caters to all kinds of families. With a slightly older median age of 41.1, Johns Creek is a great place to move to if you have started your family already, but are thinking of relocating.

johns creek


15. Memphis, Tennessee 


Memphis offers fantastic schools, which does not only benefit your children! Some of Memphis’s community colleges now offer free education for adults. Memphis, therefore, is beneficial for adults thinking about furthering their own education. Costs of food, mortgages, and services are substantially lower than other US cities, and is therefore favorable for larger families, where costs are typically higher.



Data Findings:


Best 15 US Places To Start A Family

Location Property Ownership Proportion Of 18-24 Year Olds With College Or Degree Or Associate (%) Median Household Income Median Monthly Rent For Three Bedroom Home Workers who walk to work
Naperville, Illinois 75.60% 53.4 $125,926 $2,018.00 932
Boston, Massachusetts 35% 67.3 $71,115 $1,750.00 48497
El Dorado Hills, California 86.8% 54.3 $132,130 $2,544.oo N/A
Ann Arbor, Michigan 45.20% 86.3 $65,745 $1,492.00 8465
Irvine, California 46.80% 78.1 $105,126 $3,074.00 4434
Plano, Texas 59.10% 43.2 $95,602 $1,767.00 2383
Colorado Springs, Colorado 59% 34.6 $64,712 $1,441.00 3427
Kansas City, Missouri 53.30% 35.4 $54,194 $1,086.00 3913
Arlington, Virginia 42.50% 22.8 $122,604 $2,716.00 7273
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 46.70% 45.2 $50,536 $1,163.00 15791
District of Columbia 42.50% 40.8 $90,842 $1,907.00 47319
Omaha, Nebraska 59% 44.3 $62,213 $1,202.00 5248
Fort Wayne, Indiana 62.60% 40.6 $51,454 $913.00 1662
Johns Creek, Georgia 75.30% 34.1 $125,862 $1,833.00 237
Memphis, Tennessee 46.20% 41 $41,864 $1,069.00 4048
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