Top 10 Best Places To Raise A Family

8 Min Read
Updated March 25, 2023
Written By
Lauren Nowacki
Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In 2021, 8.4% of Americans moved, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. While housing is the number one reason people are moving, the next reason is family related.

For some, this means seeking the best places to raise their family. Some cities just have more to offer for families, including better school systems, lower costs for child care and more family-friendly amenities. Read on to discover the 10 best places to raise a family in America and what makes them so attractive to families.

What Makes These Cities Some Of The Best Places To Live With Kids?

When considering this list, it’s important think about what’s important to families, including safety (lower crime rates), affordability (costs of living) and an opportunity for kids to grow and thrive (schooling, community and amenities).

With this in mind, we evaluated cities across the country based on criteria that indicate favorable quality of life, especially for families. Top factors included objective measures such as quality schools, number of households with children, child care affordability and crime rates.

We also weighed other criteria, including number of public parks, where families can enjoy quality time outside and kids can burn off energy and get fresh air. 

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Our Rankings For The Best US Cities To Raise A Family

The best places in America to raise a family are well distributed across the nation, but there are a few regional clusters to note. The West has three entries in the Top 10, while the Southern U.S. has two in Texas and in Florida. The Northeast is the only region without representation on this list.


City, State

Distinguishing Factor


Brownsville, Texas

Lower cost of living


Ann Arbor, Michigan

Highly ranked public school districts


Naples, Florida

Low crime


Boise, Idaho

Family-friendly amenities


Fayetteville, Arkansas

Low child care costs


Honolulu, Hawaii

Number of parks


San Diego, California

Best health care


Provo, Utah

Outdoor recreation


Jacksonville, Florida

Lower median home sold price


McAllen, Texas

Households with children

1. Brownsville, Texas

Brownsville, Texas.
  • Population: 421,017
  • Percentage of households with children: 42.3%
  • Average annual child care costs: $9,324


Brownsville has a cost of living that’s about 25% lower than the U.S. average. In fact, Brownsville families, on average, spend 22% less on grocery items than the rest of the country. By spending less on one of the biggest household expenses, they may have a little extra room in their budget for fun family outings to places like the Children’s Museum of Brownsville or the Gladys Porter Zoo.

2. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  • Population: 372,258
  • Percentage of households with children: 24.8%
  • Average annual child care costs: $10,861

While Ann Arbor is best known as the home of the University of Michigan, it offers so much more than simply being a college town. Known as “Tree Town,” Ann Arbor is densely forested and is home to more than 50,000 trees. While many city residents are employed by the school and university hospital, the university’s heavy focus on science and technology also draws several tech companies to the area.

3. Naples, Florida

Naples, Florida.
  • Population: 375,752
  • Percentage of households with children: 20.4%
  • Average annual child care costs: $9,238


The violent crime rate in Naples is the lowest on our list, making it one of the safest metro areas in the country. With an added feeling of security, families may feel more comfortable enjoying fun for all ages at one of many golf courses, water parks, beaches and state forests and preserves.

4. Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho.
  • Population: 764,718
  • Percentage of households with children: 33.7%
  • Average annual child care costs: $7,474


Life in Boise is offers bustling city vibes mixed with adventure in the wild – the best of both worlds. Families looking for educational entertainment can find it at one of many amenities that inspire learning. Those include the Idaho State Museum, Aquarium of Boise, Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology and the Children’s Museum of Idaho.

5. Fayetteville, Arkansas

Fayetteville, Arkansas.
  • Population: 546,725
  • Percentage of households with children: 35.3%
  • Average annual child care costs: $6,890


Fayetteville ranks in the top five metro areas for low child care costs. Along with its affordability, the city is known for its friendly, small-town charm and good schools, which makes it a great place to raise good people. It’s no wonder U.S. News & World Report has named Fayetteville a top 10 place to live multiple times in the last few years.

6. Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • Population: 1,016,508
  • Percentage of households with children: 31.1%
  • Average annual child care costs: $13,731


With more than 30 parks and recreation centers within its city limits, Honolulu has plenty of space for kids to exercise, explore and connect with nature. And at those parks, there are several year-round recreation programs and events. These include concerts, fairs, open markets and classes like archery, volleyball, swimming and beginner’s ukulele.

7. San Diego, California

San Diego, California.
  • Population: 3,298,634
  • Percentage of households with children: 30.7%
  • Average annual child care costs: $16,945


Ensuring the health and safety of every member of the family is important. San Diego residents can find premier healthcare at multiple top-ranked hospitals within the area. In U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals ranking, both UC San Diego Health and Rady Children’s Hospital were nationally ranked in 10 different specialties.

8. Provo, Utah

Provo, Utah.
  • Population: 671,185
  • Percentage of households with children: 45% (3rd)
  • Average annual child care costs: $9,945 (47th)


Provo is called the Garden City due to its magnitude of trees, gardens and fruit orchards. But there’s even more nature Provo has to offer. From lakes, bays and rivers to mountain peaks and canyons, there is plenty of natural splendor for family fun outdoors. Utah’s third-largest city offers a plethora of activities, including hiking, fishing, skiing and river rafting.

9. Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida.
  • Population: 1,605,848
  • Percentage of households with children: 29.5%
  • Average annual child care costs: $9,238


According to the October 2022 Rocket HomesSM Trend Report, the median sold price for homes in Jacksonville was $291,295 – just over 35% less than the national median price of $454,900. Along with lower housing prices, the city has so much to offer by land and water. The “River City by the Sea” features one of the country’s largest urban park systems and miles of beaches, intercoastal waterways and stretches of the St. Johns River.  

10. McAllen, Texas

McAllen, Texas.
  • Population: 870,781
  • Percentage of households with children: 46%
  • Average annual child care costs: $9,324


McAllen ranks #1 among the 150 metro areas for the percentage of households with children, providing more opportunity for kids to make friends. The city offers many events throughout the year for families with children to connect. A full calendar of events includes holiday parades and festivals, outdoor concerts, movies in the park and art walks.

The Bottom Line: There Are Many US Cities Ideal For Raising Families

When considering where you should buy a home, you may want to look at where you’d like to spend your time and raise your family. The cities listed above have been evaluated based on such factors as the cost of living, school ratings and general safety. Fortunately, America has many great places to raise a family.

When you have selected an area to live, you may want to consider the cost in comparison to potential income. When you choose to start a family, you will need to reevaluate your budget. Rocket Mortgage® is with you for every step of your financial journey and can offer expert advice, mortgage calculators and more. If you’re ready to put down roots and buy a home for your family, today.

Methodology: Finding The Best Places To Raise A Family

Rocket Homes collected and analyzed the most recent data on seven key local and statewide metrics to help us choose the 10 U.S. cities to raise a family. Home to almost 75% of U.S. residents the top 150 metropolitan statistical areas and their surrounding suburbs were used in this analysis. The metrics we chose for this study are based on public data availability and topical relevancy.

Each metric had data collected on it for the metropolitan statistical area and that area was ranked for each metric from best (1) to worst. Once all the metro areas were ranked from best to worst for each metric, weights were then applied to each metric depending on their individual importance when it comes to choosing a place to raise a family. The final scores were sorted to produce the final rankings.  

As safety is often a major concern for families with children, cities with violent crime rates greater than or equal to 55 and property crime rates greater than or equal to 65 were removed from the ranking.





Number of public parks per capita



The Trust For Public Land

Percentage of households with one or more people under 18



The U.S. Census Bureau

Percentage of schools above average school quality




Annual average child care costs



World Population Review

Violent crime rate



Property crime rate



Percentage increase/decrease in households with one or more people under 18 from 2015 to 2020



The U.S. Census Bureau


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