2017 RANKING & REVIEWS
TOP RANKING BEST PLACES TO LIVE IN THE US
Where to Find the Best Places to Raise a Family in the US
Living in a bustling big city may be great when you’re young and single, but when it’s time to raise a family, many people look for the best places to move if they’re not already located in one of the best kid-friendly places to live.
There are several factors to consider when you want to find the best places to live, such as job availability, median income level, school quality and graduation rates, and family-friendly activities that are available in the top places to live.
Award Emblem: Top 6 Best Places to Live in the US
Research is always vital before you begin looking for homes in different places to move to, so you don’t end up having to resettle again a few years later. A town can look like one of the best places for families to live in the images on their website, but be something completely different in person.
In our article on the best places to live in the US, we are going to take a look at six ideal cities that are the best places in the US to live while raising a family. We’ll also compare some of the key reasons you’ll want to look them up and possibly make a visit.
But before we get into the detailed comparisons of the best places to raise a family, we’re going to drill down into some of the ranking data that we used to choose these places to live and highlight resources you can apply when evaluating these best places for families to live.
AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best Places to Live in the US
List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the city names below to go directly to the detailed review section for that city):
Top 6 Best Places to Raise a Family | Brief Comparison & Ranking
Best Places to Move
Estimated Median Household Income 2015
Population as of 2014
High School Graduation Rate
|Palo Alto, CA|
|West Linn, OR|
Best Places to Raise a Family FAQ | Where Can I Research Data on Places to Live?
One of the best places to live that you’re researching might have an awesome high school graduation rate and plenty of nearby parks, but what about the crime rate?
And what do the average high and low temperatures look like for the top places to live that you’re considering? Are there enough sunny days?
Image Source: Best Places to Live in the US
There are a ton of different data points that make up your dream places to move to and not all of them are found in the same resource. So, we’ve shared some details below about top resources you can use to learn more about the best places in the US to live to compare with your wish list.
City-Data is a site that compiles details from select government and private sources to bring you comprehensive profiles for every city in the U.S. It’s the first place you’ll want to look when researching the best places to move.
A few of the items you can find there:
- Median income
- Housing prices
- Breakdown of the population
- Crime rates
- Average climate details
How far is your salary going to go in one of the best places to move? How much will it cost you for the move itself? You can use HomeFair.com and its suite of moving-related calculators and city reports to learn all that and more.
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
The NCES is part of the Institute of Education Sciences, and before you settle on the best places for families to live, you’ll want to use their Public School Districts Search to find out how a particular school district stacks up to the rest of the country.
Tip: Be sure to click the “Show All” button on your search result page.
National Park Service
If you’re a nature lover and want to find the top places to live where your family can commune with nature, use the Find a Park by State tool. It will give you a full listing of details on national parks, and you can see if the best places to live that you’re researching are nearby.
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AdvisoryHQ’s Selection Methodology
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Please click here “AdvisoryHQ’s Ranking Methodologies” for a detailed review of AdvisoryHQ’s selection methodologies for ranking top rated credit cards, financial accounts, firms, products, and services.
Detailed Review—Top Ranking Best Places to Move
Below, please find a detailed review of each city on our list of the best places to live in the US. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these best places to raise a family to score so highly in our selection ranking.
Erie, CO Review
If your ideal places to move to include views of majestic mountains and plenty of outdoor activities, then the town of Erie, Colorado, may be right up your alley.
This is one of the best places for families to live for those who like a small town feel but also want to be close to a bigger city with plenty of activities. Erie is just about 30 minutes from downtown Denver.
They also boast scenic trails and lots of outdoor activities along with 300 days of sunshine a year, which makes them one of the best places in the US to live if you’re a sun lover.
Image Source: Erie, CO | Best Places to Move
Highlights that Make Erie, CO One of the Best Places to Raise a Family
- Estimated median household income: $113,395
- Mean housing prices: $431,916
- Population density: (low) 2,167 people per square mile
- 25 years and over unemployed: 3.0%
Plenty of Outdoor Activities
Erie, CO, is one of the best places for families to live that love the great outdoors. Colorado is known for a population that enjoys all types of recreational activities, and Erie offers a lot in this area.
This is one of the places to live that has 11 neighborhood parks, plus a dog park and skate park. They also have more than 61 miles of trails and over 1,300 acres of open space, along with a golf course and single track bike trails.
In Erie, you may be near all the attractions that Denver offers, but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t one of the best places to live that also has plenty to do right there in town.
A few of their community events include:
- Erie Town Fair
- Concerts in the Park
- Erie Biscuit Day
- Erie Farmers’ market
- Erie Brewfest
Hutto, TX Review
Hutto, Texas, is located in Williamson County and is part of the Austin–Round Rock metropolitan area. It is another one of the best places in the US to live if you like being in a smaller community that’s close to the attractions of a bigger city.
This is one of the places to move to that is conveniently located in central Texas. Hutto is just 30 minutes from Austin, the Texas state capital, and about 1 hour and 40 minutes from San Antonio, TX.
It turns out that others are also finding this one of the best places to live, because according to the City of Hutto, TX, Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, it’s known as one of the fastest growing cities in Texas.
Highlights that Make Hutto, TX One of the Best Places to Raise a Family
- Estimated median household income: $76,279
- Mean housing prices: $248,606
- Population density: (very high) 21,980 people per square mile
- 25 years and over unemployed: 2.2%
This town is one of the best places to move for affordable living. Housing prices are very reasonable and it has a cost of living index of 93.7, less than the U.S. average (100).
This is also one of the top places to live for good job prospects. The unemployment rate is just 2.2% for those 25 and over.
Historic Old Town
If you love towns that have a rich history and buildings dating back to the 1800s, then you’ll find Hutto one of the best places to live in the US. Their Historic Old Town features the Late Victorian Italianate style of architecture, popular at the turn of the twentieth century, and is home to a number of shops and restaurants.
The Hutto Commercial District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service. If you choose this as one of your favorite places to live, you won’t want to miss their Historic Homes Tour during the Old Town Christmas weekend.
Matthews, NC Review
If you’re interested in a more southeastern locale for the best places to raise a family, then you’ll want to take a look at Matthews, North Carolina. The town is a large suburb of Charlotte, NC, and is located in Mecklenburg County.
Looking for magnet programs to give your children an excellent education? Then you’ll find Matthews, part of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system, one of the best places to live.
Image Source: Town of Matthews, NC | Great Places to Move To
Highlights that Make Matthews, NC One of the Best Places to Live in the US
- Estimated median household income: $73,174
- Mean housing prices: $272,860
- Population density (low) 2,112 people per square mile
- Over 25 years and over unemployed: 4.7%
The magnet programs and school choice options within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools are two things that cause families to choose Matthews as one of the best places for families to live.
Some of the magnet themes offered to children whose parents find this one of the top places to live are:
- Visual and performing arts
- World languages
- International Baccalaureate
Large Sports Complex
Families that are into sports will find Matthews one of the best places in the US to live partially due to their extensive sports complex.
The Sportsplex at Matthews consists of 9 synthetic turf fields, 2 grass fields, and a 2,500-seat grass stadium. There are also two playgrounds there and about 2 miles of paved trails, making this one of the best places to move for an active, sports-oriented family.
Palo Alto, CA Review
We’re heading over to the other coast for the next city on our Best Places to Raise a Family List. Palo Alto, California is snuggled conveniently between San Francisco (35 miles south) and San Jose (14 miles north), meaning if you’re in the tech industry this city will be one of the best places to move.
It offers being both the heart of Silicon Valley and part of the San Francisco Metropolitan Bay Area. So for the urbanites that enjoy being in a spot with a rich history, you’ll find Palo Alto one of the best places to live in the US.
Highlights that Make Palo Alto, CA One of the Best Places to Raise a Family
- Estimated median household income: $147,737
- Mean housing prices: $1,000,000+
- Population density: (average) 2,828 people per square mile
- 25 years and over unemployed: 3.1%
Plenty of Open Spaces
When searching out the best places to raise a family, having open spaces for children to enjoy is a high priority for many. While you may be near one of the world’s most famous cities, San Francisco, Palo Alto has made it a priority to stay green and spacious.
They have an extraordinary number of city-owned parks for the size, 34 in total, making this one of the best places to move if you love park visits. Nearly one-third of its 26 square miles is open space, and it’s a natural habitat for many birds and aquatic life.
Mix of Tradition and Innovation
Just because you’re settling down and looking for the best places to live in the US for a family doesn’t mean you still can’t be part of a vibrant and innovative community.
Palo Alto offers an eclectic mix of both tradition and innovation, being the birthplace of Silicon Valley. A few examples of things that make this one of the best places to move are:
- 31-mile dark fiber ring for ultra-fast Internet access
- Commuter rail throughout the city
- Numerous bike paths
- Nearby museums, including Hiller Aviation Museum and Junior Museum & Zoo
Rockville, MD Review
For those wanting to be close to our nation’s capital of Washington, DC, Rockville, Maryland, is one of the best places to live in the US. It is situated just 30 minutes north of DC, close enough to enjoy the historical Smithsonian museums and zoo, but far enough away to live a quieter family life.
The city is well known for its fine dining from more than 20 restaurants located in Rockville Town Square. For foodies this is one of the best places to move to enjoy a variety of great cuisine.
Image Source: Rockville Town Square | Best Places to Move
Highlights that Make Rockville, MD One of the Best Places to Raise a Family
- Estimated median household income: $97,377
- Mean housing prices: $536,490
- Population density: (average) 4,904 people per square mile
- 25 years and over unemployed: 3.2%
History is Right Down the Road
If you want to raise your children in a place with plenty of easy access to U.S. history and world-class museums, Rockville is one of the best places to raise a family. The Smithsonian is less than 30 minutes away and has 19 museums and the National Zoo.
If you haven’t visited Washington, DC, before, you may not realize that all of these Smithsonian attractions are free of charge. So choosing Rockville as one of the best places to live gives you more to do for a lot less in entertainment costs.
Rockville has plenty to offer right in town, and the many community-centric centers and facilities are one of the things that make it one of the great places to live to meet your neighbors.
Some of the facilities you can enjoy when you choose this city as one of the best places to live in the US are:
- Croydon Creek Nature Center
- Rockville Skate Park
- Rockville Senior Center
- Thomas Farm Community Center
- F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre
West Linn, OR Review
The last city on our list of the best places to live in the US is in a place where some people may not have considered looking when searching places to live. But West Linn, Oregon, is in one of the most scenic states in the country.
The city is located in Clackamas County and just about 30 minutes south of Portland, OR. This is another area known for great outdoor activities and a view of statuesque Mt. Hood, so if you’re a nature lover, this is one of the best places to move.
Highlights that Make West Linn, OR One of the Best Places to Live in the US
- Estimated median household income: $90,211
- Mean housing prices: $386,451
- Population density: (average) 3,559 people per square mile
- 25 years and over unemployed: 3.6%
Affordable & Safe
If you’re a younger family just starting out, then West Linn offers one of the best places to raise a family and have a chance to afford your own home. At a mean housing price of $386,451 and home values at $433,597, well above the Oregon average of $264,100, you know that this is one of the top places to live where a home investment is a good one.
The low crime rate also makes it one of the best places to live in the US. It has a 2014 crime index of just 54, compared to a US city average of 234. (The lower the number, the less crimes per 100,000 people.)
Outdoor Parks and Recreation
For the outdoorsy family, West Linn, OR is one of the best places to live in the US to have a choice of 600 acres of park land full of a variety of themes and activities.
Their exceptional parks include opportunity for sports, picnicking, playground romping, biking, and wildlife watching. They even have Spray parks which provide kids a fun way to cool off in the summer. And if you have a skater in the family, the West Linn Skate Park will make this one of the best places to live.
Conclusion—Top 6 Best Places to Live in the US
Even though our list of the best places to raise a family are sprinkled all across America, you’ll note one key similarity that these very different places to live share—they all tend to be around 30 minutes from a major city.
This means that you get the quieter and often more unique town life, yet can go visit all the extra attractions that the larger city has to offer any time. This can also mean more job opportunities in these places to move to with just a short commute.
Whether you love the mountains, historic cities, or places with exceptional schools, each of these best places to raise a family has something to offer. By using the resources we’ve mentioned, you can drill down into all the data on these perfect places to live to find the dream town for your family.
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