A new ranking of the best cities for working parents shows that most of the top 10 cities are also college towns.
The universities based in such cities serve as the cities’ largest employers, according to financial data provider SmartAsset, which compiled the ranking.
Universities also tend to be parent-friendly employers, often offering family friendly policies and more vacation time than employers in the private sector.
Each of the five highest-ranked cities serves as the base for a state university, including:
- Orem, Utah — Utah Valley University
- Wichita Falls, Texas — Midwestern State University
- Irvine, California — University of California, Irvine
- Iowa City, Iowa — University of Iowa
- Jonesboro, Arkansas — Arkansas State University
The nine factors that Smart Asset considered when evaluating cities were:
- Average unemployment rate for the county in which the city is located
- Median household income
- Median annual housing costs, including all costs of owning or renting a home (mortgage or rent payments, utilities, insurance costs, and property taxes)
- Percentage of workers who work more than 49 weeks per year
- Average travel time to work
- Violent-crime rate
- Average high school graduation rate
- State policy rating, which is a score developed by the National Partnership for Women & Families based on state laws regarding things like paid family leave, paid sick days, workplace accommodations for pregnant women and break time for new mothers
- Average annual cost of child care from childbirth to kindergarten for the state in which the city is located
Orem, Utah, came out on top due to “a relatively high quality of life for families with strong employment conditions for workers,” according to SmartAsset. That includes the fourth-lowest crime rate of any city in SmartAsset’s analysis and the 10th-lowest unemployment rate — 2.7 percent.
The top 10 cities for working parents are:
- Orem, Utah
- Wichita Falls, Texas
- Irvine, California
- Iowa City, Iowa
- Jonesboro, Arkansas
- Columbia, Missouri
- Oshkosh, Wisconsin
- Palo Alto, California
- Provo, Utah
- Edmond, Oklahoma
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