By Charles B. Stockdale, 24/7 Wall Street
Choosing where to raise your kids can be a deeply personal decision, based on what you value most, what you can live without, and of course, what you can afford. But some things are universally desired, including good schools, health care, and nearby recreational opportunities. It was these and other similar factors that 24/7 Wall St. considered in order to identify the 10 best cities in which to raise a family.
The best-performing cities to make our list have large public outdoor spaces, lots of playgrounds, top hospitals and strong schools. Sometimes, as in the case of Irvine, Calif., where a decommissioned Marine Corps air station has been transformed into the massive Orange County Great Park, a bit of good fortune has played a role. However, the cities on our list generally have economies that are booming.
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Because being able to pay the bills is critical to raising a family, we factored unemployment rates into the equation. In the end, seven out of the 10 cities on our list had unemployment rates among the lowest in the country, and the majority saw their economies improve in recent years due to growth in new industries, primarily in the tech field.
High school graduation rates reflect the quality of both the local school system and the economy. The cities that performed best also have educated adult populations. Eight out of the 10 cities have a large percentage of adults with at least a high school degree.
We examined the nation's 100 largest cities and complied our list based on data on adult education levels from the Census Bureau; unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; data on the nation's besthigh schools and the best children's hospitals from U.S. News and World Report; violent crime rates from the FBI; and data on parkland, playgrounds and other public facilities from the Trust for Public Land.
This is 24/7 Wall St.'s list of the best cities to raise a family: