The 10 Best U.S. Cities to Raise Kids in 2020

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This story originally appeared on SmartAsset.com.

Raising kids is a difficult task — one that has been made harder for many in recent months as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and the accompanying economic trouble. Finding the best place to grow a family is a process that involves many factors that often change depending on where you look. That’s why SmartAsset analyzed the data to find the best places to raise kids in America.

We compared the 200 largest U.S. metro areas across the following metrics: percentage of the population who are children, housing costs as a percentage of income, concentration of children’s entertainment establishments, high school graduation rate, daily average air pollution, child poverty rate, percentage of the children without health insurance and violent crime rate.

To find the best cities to raise kids in 2020, we analyzed data for the 200 largest U.S. metro areas across the following metrics:

Percentage of the population who are children. Data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 one-year American Community Survey.

Housing costs as a percentage of income. This is the median housing cost as a percentage of the median household income. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2018 one-year American Community Survey.

Concentration of children’s entertainment establishments. This is the percentage of establishments in a metro area that are related to children’s entertainment. We considered bowling alleys, zoos, sports teams, arcades, museums and theme parks as children’s entertainment establishments. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2018 Metro Area Business Patterns Survey.

High school graduation rate. Data comes from the 2020 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program.

Air pollution. This measures the average daily fine particulate matter. Data comes from the 2020 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program.

Child poverty rates. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2018 one-year American Community Survey.

Percentage of children without health insurance. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2018 one-year American Community Survey.

Violent crime rate. The number of incidents of violent crime per 100,000 residents. Data is from the 2020 2020 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program.

First, we ranked each metro area on each metric. From there, we found each metro area’s average ranking across all the metrics, assigning each metric an equal weight. We used this average ranking to create our final score. The metro area with the highest average ranking received an index score of 100. The metro area with the lowest average ranking received an index score of zero.

Key findings

Midwestern locales are most favorable for raising kids. Of the top 10 places in our study, seven are in the Midwest, with particularly strong showings from Wisconsin and Iowa.

The Appleton, Green Bay and Madison metro areas in Wisconsin rank first, second and seventh, respectively, and have a high concentration of children’s entertainment establishments, favorable high school graduation rates and low child poverty rates.

Meanwhile, Iowa’s Cedar Rapids and Des Moines-West Des Moines areas take the No. 3 and 4 spots, respectively, ranking very well for low housing costs as a percentage of income as well as relatively low percentages of children without health insurance.

Insurance is not necessarily ensured. With health care being an especially hot-button issue in America over the past several years, insurance is an especially important consideration when it comes to any family’s finances. The average percentage of children without health insurance across all 200 metro areas in the study is 4.97%, and while the majority of our top 10 metro areas fall below this rate, two areas in particular — Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield, Utah — hover near or above it.

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