Where’s the best place to take your family if you’re looking to move — and what cities should you stay away from? In a new report, WalletHub is seeking to answer that question, ranking the 150 most populous cities in the U.S. by their family friendliness.
The top spot went to Overland Park, KS, followed by Plano, TX; Virginia Beach, VA; Lincoln, NE; and Sioux Falls, SD.
The least friendly were Jackson, MS, with Birmingham, AL; Detroit, MI; Miami, FL; and Baton Rouge, LA rounding out the bottom five.
Rankings were determined based on numerous metrics in five categories: family activities and fun (including the number of playgrounds and attractions), health and safety (such as air quality, water quality, medical access and crime statistics), education and childcare (covering public school rankings, graduation rates and parental leave policies), socioeconomic environment (based on unemployment rates, wealth gaps, divorce rates and foreclosure rates), and affordability (accounting for both income and housing costs).
The data used was obtained from numerous government and private sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Center for Education Statistics, the Trust for Public Land, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Partnership for Women and Families, Tripadvisor, and original WalletHub research.
Tumultuous Real Estate Markets
The housing market, of course, is likely to be one of the biggest factors considered by any family contemplating a move, but it’s a hard factor to nail down at the moment.
Broad trends are unsurprising; the five cities with the most affordable housing were all in Texas or the Midwest, with coastal cities clustering at the bottom (Los Angeles came dead last, in slot 150, while New York City was just two spots higher).
Overall, the housing market is still recovering, with sales of both new and existing homes rising.
But the market is still uneven, with low inventory in some places and sluggish sales in others (in a fast market, a home might sell in 30 days, whereas in a slow market, it might take up to nine months on average).
Families looking to buy a home on a tight budget will also need to keep a close eye on mortgage rates, with rates expected to climb over the busier summer season when more people want to move and buy houses.