The 10 Best Places to Raise a Family in 2024 — and the Worst Ones

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Daughter kissing her mother
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Couples who have children — or who plan to have kids — must consider many things before choosing the community where they will raise their family.

For example, chances are good that they will look for great amenities, safety, good schools and plenty of wholesome activities.

Recently, WalletHub looked 182 U.S. cities and rated them on 45 metrics that are important to families. WalletHub then compiled a list of the best — and worst — places to raise a family. Here are the places that made each list, and how they ranked in some key factors.

10. Huntington Beach, California

Huntington Beach in Orange County, California
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Overall score: 63.28 out of 100 possible points

Category score for:

  • Family activities: 84 out of 182
  • Health and safety: 18
  • Education and child care: 4
  • Affordability: 81

Huntington Beach is a seaside town in Orange County known for its stretch of more than eight miles of beautiful beaches. It is an excellent spot for surfing, which has earned it the moniker “Surf City.”

9. Boise, Idaho

Home in Boise, Idaho
Paul W Thompson / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 63.34 out of 100 possible points

Category score for:

  • Family activities: 32 out of 182
  • Health and safety: 16
  • Education and child care: 50
  • Affordability: 23

Boise combines the best of living in a city with opportunities to explore nature. Residents have easy access to the mountains and hundreds of trails, as well as the Boise River.

8. San Diego

San Diego
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Overall score: 63.67 out of 100 possible points

Category score for:

  • Family activities: 5 out of 182
  • Health and safety: 25
  • Education and child care: 12
  • Affordability: 82

San Diego is a great place for those who want to live in a large city with a great climate and access to the ocean. The world-famous San Diego Zoo is also located here.

7. San Jose, California

San Jose, California
mTaira / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 63.88 out of 100 possible points

Category score for:

  • Family activities: 37 out of 182
  • Health and safety: 17
  • Education and child care: 10
  • Affordability: 56

San Jose is the epicenter of California’s Silicon Valley, making it one of the top spots for technological innovation in the world. Those residents who pry themselves away from their computer screens can enjoy 300 days of sunshine per year.

6. Gilbert, Arizona

Gilbert Arizona
Cavan-Images / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 64.02 out of 100 possible points

Category score for:

  • Family activities: 79 out of 182
  • Health and safety: 20
  • Education and child care: 43
  • Affordability: 12

Gilbert has deep roots in agriculture, but this fast-growing city is now becoming more famous for its restaurant and arts scene. In 1980, just 5,700 people lived in this suburb of Phoenix. Today, that number has swelled to 267,000.

5. Seattle

Seattle, Washington
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 64.14 out of 100 possible points

Category score for:

  • Family activities: 72 out of 182
  • Health and safety: 109
  • Education and child care: 7
  • Affordability: 8

Ascend Seattle‘s iconic 605-foot-tall Space Needle, and you can look out upon sweeping views of Elliott Bay and the Cascade Mountains, which beckon nature lovers. For a more urban experience, visit some of the more than 225 artisans who set up shop at Pike Place Market amid the flower stands and seafood sellers.

4. Plano, Texas

Plano Texas
Epiglottis / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 68.05 out of 100 possible points

Category score for:

  • Family activities: 74 out of 182
  • Health and safety: 5
  • Education and child care: 29
  • Affordability: 7

Plano provides access to the entire Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. Families with young children will love the Crayola Experience at The Shops at Willow Bend mall, which features nearly two dozen hands-on attractions.

3. Irvine, California

Irvine, California
LagunaticPhoto / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 68.99 out of 100 possible points

Category score for:

  • Family activities: 21 out of 182
  • Health and safety: 1
  • Education and child care: 2
  • Affordability: 49

Irvine is another Orange County city that — like Huntington Beach — offers a combination of city life and great weather. Families will find plenty to do in the 1,300 acres of the Great Park public space, from ice skating to a rock playground.

2. Overland Park, Kansas

Overland Park, Kansas
EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 70.11 out of 100 possible points

Category score for:

  • Family activities: 118 out of 182
  • Health and safety: 21
  • Education and child care: 13
  • Affordability: 1

Overland Park is one of four principal cities in the Kansas City metro and the most populous suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. Long known as a family-friendly city, its attractions include the 300-acre Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, which is open year-round.

1. Fremont, California

Fremont, California
John Roche / Shutterstock.com

Overall score: 73.55 out of 100 possible points

Category score for:

  • Family activities: 78 out of 182
  • Health and safety: 3
  • Education and child care: 1
  • Affordability: 11

Fremont is located in the San Francisco Bay area. It is the fourth-largest city by population in that region and the fifth-largest city in all of California by land area. The city is known for having a relatively young population and can boast low unemployment and crime levels.

The worst places to raise a family

Augusta, Georgia
ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

Unfortunately, some cities are not great options if you plan to raise a family. Here is a roll call of those cities in the study, with their overall scores:

  • Augusta, Georgia: 40.04 out of 100 possible points
  • Jackson, Mississippi: 39.9
  • New Orleans: 39.7
  • Birmingham, Alabama: 39.3
  • San Bernardino, California: 39.07
  • Gulfport, Mississippi: 39.07
  • Newark, New Jersey: 37.99
  • Cleveland: 35.4
  • Detroit: 34.91
  • Memphis, Tennessee: 33.85

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