Best Places for Young Families to Live a Good and Balanced Life

young family
By Ben Hartwig
21 November, 2019

Living the good life in that perfect little corner of the U.S. is a dream for many young families. 

Like many businesses, however, it all boils down to location. An ideal neighborhood will be either a small town, medium-sized city or one that’s near a major metropolis, making driving or commuting to work a breeze. Proximity to the metro means there will always be work opportunities for mom and dad. Access to good schools, top hospitals, outdoor activities, and entertainment are also non-negotiable. Places that have low crime rates seal the deal.

Ranking Criteria

With all these factors to consider, how can young families find a place like this? Does it even exist? The short answer is yes, areas such as these do exist, but living in some of the best places comes at a cost paid through more expensive housing or goods and services. While good neighborhoods have plenty to offer young families who choose to be a part of their community, the overall picture of income versus affordability needs close consideration. 

Not all the places on this list have expensive housing, which goes to prove that not all good things in life come with an exorbitant price tag. The locations on this list use criteria based on Areavibes.com’s Livability Rankings. These include affordability, population, crime, median income, schools, and housing, among others. 

1. Ann Arbor, MI

  • Livability Ranking: 79
  • Population: 118,087
  • Median Home Value: $250,200.
  • Median Household Income: $57,697.

Ann Arbor, Michigan, is one of the best cities to raise a family because of its low crime rate, A+ amenities, and many respected schools. The city is also home to the top-ranked hospital in the state, the University of Michigan Hospital

Cost of Living

Scoring 108 points, the cost of living in Ann Arbor is a little higher than the national average. However, the cost of goods, services, and even groceries are lower. 

Education

education

Ann Arbor offers plenty of outstanding school options for children. The average school test scores in the city are 20% higher than the national average and 45% higher than the entire state. Almost 96% of residents completed high school, and 72% have a bachelor’s degree. 

Family Activities

Fun activities await families in Ann Arbor. Notable locations include:

  • Hands-On Museum.
  • Planet Rock.
  • The University of Michigan Stadium.
  • Domino’s Petting Farm.
  • Chelsea Milling Company.

Activities for Parents

Ann Arbor is home to plenty of restaurants, bars, breweries, and even a Main Street teeming with nightlife. Popular places to visit are Knight’s Steakhouse, Seoul Street, Dalat, Restaurant, and The Circ Bar. 

The Outdoors

Outdoor recreation options in Ann Arbor include trails, parks, gardens, and golf courses. Explore Bandemer Park, Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Waterloo Recreation Area, and Nichols Arboretum. 

2. Bowling Green, OH

  • Livability Ranking: 77.
  • Population: 31,641.
  • Median Home Value: $157,900.
  • Median Household Income: $33,562.

Bowling Green, Ohio, is a small town with a big city vibe, making it an excellent choice for young families looking to settle down. The city has a low cost of living, top-rated schools, plenty of amenities, and a variety of fun outdoor activities for the whole family. Bowling Green is also safe, with a crime rate that’s 28% lower than the national average. For healthcare, Bowling Green has Wood’s County Hospital and the nearby University of Toledo Medical Center. 

Cost of Living

Bowling Green is a very affordable place to live in with a score of 97. While goods and services in town cost slightly more than the national average, utilities and housing costs are lower. 

Education

Bowling Green’s top-rated schools churn out test scores that are 61% higher than the national average. Over 90% of the town’s residents graduated high school, and more than 42% have a bachelor’s degree.

Family Activities

Bowling Green has a variety of fun activities and destinations for the family to enjoy. Notable locations include the Bowling Green Wind Farm, Planetarium, and Historical Center. The town also hosts the annual Black Swamp Arts Festival, which is a fun way to get to know the community. 

Activities for Parents

old couple

Popular Bowling Green spots include Beckett’s Burger Bar, SamB’s, and East Street Cafe. 

The Outdoors

Bowling Green is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true because of all the fishing, hiking, kayaking, yoga, cycling, and running activities. Notable locations include Carter Park, City Park, and Simpson Garden Park. 

3. Carmel, IN

  • Livability Ranking: 86.
  • Population: 86,940.
  • Median Home Value: $306,500.
  • Median Household Income: $106,546.

The percentage of children living in Carmel, Indiana, is 13% higher than in most U.S. cities, making it an excellent choice for young families. This medium-sized city also ranks high when it comes to quality education and family activities. Due to falling Indiana arrest rates Carmel also has a crime rate that’s 72% lower than the national average. For healthcare, the city has Indiana University Health-North, one of the top hospitals in Indiana. 

Cost of Living

The reason Carmel comes in at 3rd place despite its high livability score is the high cost of living. The city scored 113, 28% higher than the state average, due to expensive real estate. 

Education

Carmel has top-notch public schools, with test scores that are 77% higher than the rest of the country. Over 97% of residents are high-school graduates, and 70% have college degrees. 

Family Activities

Carmel has plenty to offer when it comes to fun activities for the family. Notable locations include:

  • Mannon Community Center Waterpark.
  • The Carmel Arts and Design District.
  • The Palladium at the Center for Performing Arts.

Carmel is also near Indianapolis, which offers a ton of other activities. 

Activities for Parents

The city has plenty of upscale shopping areas, bars, and restaurants. Popular haunts include Bazbeaux, Muldoons, Anthony’s Chophouse, Union Brewing Company, and more. 

The Outdoors

Carmel has a beautiful mix of outdoor activities for the whole family, including Coxall Gardens, Manon Trail, and the Plum Creek Golf Club.

4. Cary, NC

  • Livability Ranking: 86.
  • Population: 155,822.
  • Median Home Value: $309,800.
  • Median Household Income: $94,617.

Cary, North Carolina, has great weather, excellent schools, and plenty of amenities. One of the biggest draws of living here is the city’s proximity to Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh. Cary is also safe, with a crime rate that’s 59% lower than the national average. Healthcare options include Duke University Hospital and the University of North Carolina Hospital. 

Cost of Living

cost of living

With a cost of living index score of 116, it’s pretty pricey to live in Cary. Housing is also expensive here, sitting at 52% higher than the U.S. average. 

Education

Cary has excellent schools, with test scores that are 38% higher than the national average. About 94% of residents are high school graduates, while 64% have bachelor’s degrees. 

Family Activities

There’s plenty of events and activities in Cary, including puppet shows and storytime at the public library. Kids can explore the hands-on exhibits at the Marbles Kids Museum. The Daniel Dhers Sports Complex offers cycling and skating. 

Activities for Parents

Cary is home to Chatham Street, which boasts of many bars, shops, and restaurants. Popular places include LA Farm Bakery, Chatham Street Wine Market, and Bond Brothers Beer Company.

The Outdoors

Cary has plenty of parks, lakes, and farmer’s markets. Families can explore the Triangle Lakes, Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Pullen Park, and the Greystone Recreation Center.

5. Franklin Park, PA

  • Livability Ranking: 75.
  • Population: 14,228.
  • Median Home Value: $312,200.
  • Median Household Income: $121,661.

Franklin Park, Pennsylvania, has excellent public schools, plenty of jobs, and a plethora of community events. The crime rate here is 87% lower than the national average. Franklin Park is also near Pittsburgh, giving residents access to quality healthcare services. UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside Hospital provides medical services to the community.

Cost of Living

The cost of living index score of Franklin Park is 120, making it one of the most expensive places on this list. Housing and grocery expenses are high, while services and healthcare are lower than the rest of the country. 

Education

Franklin Park has a top-rated public-school system, with test scores 21% higher than the national average. Residents who completed high school are at 98%, while college graduates are at 70%. 

Family Activities

family activities

Franklin Park boasts of all-year-round activities and excellent destinations, including:

  • Go Ape Treetop Adventure.
  • Fun Fore All Family Fun Park.
  • Blue Berry Hill Park.
  • Museums and other attractions in neighboring Pittsburgh. 

Activities for Parents

Popular spots in Franklin Park include Bella Frutteto, GoodFellas, The Franklin Inn, and DraftHouse. Adults can also go to downtown Pittsburgh for more night-out options. 

The Outdoors

Franklin Park has plenty of trails, parks, and open spaces for hiking, biking, and exploring. Notable places include Acorn Park and Blueberry Hill Park. The local community park also offers hiking trails, a children’s playground, and basketball courts. 

Summary

Choosing where to live is a tough decision, especially for families with young children. A city or town has to make sense when it comes to jobs, education, crime, and quality healthcare. Isolated places or those far from major cities wouldn’t be ideal because of limited work and school opportunities. These parameters are essential to ensure a safe and nurturing community for the kids to live in.

 

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