19 Best Cities to Start a Family

Hayley Matthews

Written by: Hayley Matthews

Hayley Matthews

Hayley has over 10 years of experience overseeing content strategy, social media engagement, and article opportunities. She has also written hundreds of informational and entertaining blog posts. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Bustle, Cosmo, the Huffington Post, AskMen, and Entrepreneur. When she's not writing about dating news, relationship advice, or her fantasy love affair with Leonardo DiCaprio, she enjoys listening to The Beatles, watching Harry Potter reruns, and drinking IPAs.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Too often we are faced with situations and decisions that we know how to handle, but we simply don’t know where to start. The same goes for starting a family.

There are so many factors to consider because not only do you have to think about what’s best for you and your SO, but you also now have to consider things like education, safety and entertainment for the sake of your children. It can get a little fuzzy trying to narrow down a list of potential cities that seem perfect for your new family, but we have a great starting point for you that will make browsing a bit easier.

If you’re looking for a place that meets all of your needs and you’re curious as to what some of your best options have to offer, read over this list of the 19 Best Cities to Start a Family. With family-friendly environments and proximity to important resources, not one of these destinations will let you and your new family down.

19. Garland, Texas

It’s only appropriate that this gorgeous city starts off our list because everything is bigger in Texas.

Beginning with settlers in the 1800s, Garland has always been known as a place of rich history and hard work that has transformed into a thriving metropolitan city. The strong base in manufacturing, combined with a family-friendly atmosphere and numerous career opportunities, have earned this city the brand “Texas Made Here.”

With exemplary and recognized public schools and a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality award-winning community college, the education system in this Lone Star city is sure to provide a bright future for your kids.

18. Omaha, Nebraska

This Nebraskan gem makes a strong potential candidate to house a new family because of its reasonable cost of living, house affordability and median income. As the largest city in the state, the possibilities are endless here.

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine even named Omaha the third best city in the nation to live, work and play. With all the chief executives of the Fortune 500 companies headquartered here, a strong work ethic and devotion to giving back in the community is ensured.

17. Aurora, Illinois

Known as the “City of Lights,” Aurora is the perfect old-fashioned city to raise a family. Aurora’s value for cultural, historical, social, artistic and ethnic heritage is evident in the layout of the city and the style of the buildings. In 1979, the Aurora City Council even established the Aurora Preservation Commission.

Ranking first in health and safety in a comparison of the 150 largest cities in the U.S. and 14th in education and child care, Aurora is a safe and cultured learning environment for any new family.

16. Santa Clarita, California

You can’t go wrong with a gorgeous city in Southern California where the weather is always great and there are countless things to do. The perfect combination of small-town charm and urban sophistication make Santa Clarita a very comfortable and safe environment for a new family.

With award-winning educational facilities, western heritage, endless options for dining and numerous trails, you and your family can prosper mentally and physically.

15. Chesapeake, Virginia

Situated in the heart of Coastal Virginia, Chesapeake is the ultimate hybrid of city and country. This city is within a day’s drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population, so families have feasible options for road trips, not to mention Chesapeake itself offers a multitude of activities, so you’ll never run out of things to do.

From shopping and sightseeing, to bird watching, hiking and kayaking, there is something for everybody. Rated as one of the top five safest cities of its size in the U.S. by the FBI and ranking fifth in education and childcare compared to the 150 largest cities in the U.S., what more could you ask for?

14. Rancho Cucamonga, California

Surrounded by the majestic San Gabriel Mountains, Rancho Cucamonga is a scenic gem you will never get sick of looking at. Boasting more than 20 parks and community facilities and highly rated schools, this city provides the ideal balance of work and play.

As one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas, businesses are beginning to thrive here, but still the city maintains its rich historical tradition. If you start your family here, you are guaranteed high safety, 300 days of sunshine a year and Southern Californian charm.

13. Grand Prairie, Texas

If you are focusing mostly on location and hometown atmosphere, head over to Grand Prairie. While it is one of the nation’s busiest and most successful urban centers, this city is centered around Friday night football games, Sunday picnics and days at the Joe Pool Lake.

As the 15th largest city in the Lone Star state, Grand Prairie is perfectly located between Dallas and Fort Worth and offers more than 5,000 acres of parks, well-established neighborhoods and top-notch health care.

12. Chula Vista, California

Chula Vista means “beautiful view,” but this is simply an understatement for this breathtaking city. Situated in one of the richest economic, cultural and environmentally diverse zones in the U.S., there are more than 50 square miles of coastal landscape, wildlife refuges, the San Diego Bay and numerous other attractions.

A leader in conservation and renewable energy, Chula Vista is working on a project that will establish thousands of new jobs, protect natural resources and create new public parks. With great weather year-round and outstanding public schools, this California dream can’t be passed up.

 11. Gilbert, Arizona

Beginning as the “Hay Shipping Capital of the World,” Gilbert has transformed into a thriving economic environment with numerous businesses and successful individuals. With a nationally ranked K-12 education system and a booming housing industry, any new family would thrive in this beautiful suburban community.

Ranking third in affordability compared to the 150 largest cities in the U.S., you really do get the optimal bang for your buck. As ranked by CNN/Money Magazine, Gilbert has become a Best Place to Live in the U.S., and that is evident through its community life, abundant entertainment and activities and old-fashioned Heritage District.

 10. Fremont, California

Unlike many other cities in California, Fremont is much less commercialized and more focused on an urban, hometown feel. With a moderate climate and easy access to things like shopping, recreation and major universities, this city has great qualities for a new family.

As California’s 15th largest city, Fremont has numerous well-kept parks and a variety of scenic locations like Lake Elizabeth, Mission San Jose and Central Park. Because of the strong balance between every aspect of life, including its strong business presence, Fremont ranks high in health, safety and in socioeconomic environment.

 9. Overland Park, Kansas

Don’t let Dorothy fool you because Kansas is not all prairies and hay bales. Overland Park, boasting one of the biggest populations in the state, offers a multitude of job opportunities, fun activities and schools.

The park like community with great neighborhoods and recreational facilities make Overland Park a great place to live and grow up.  From the arboretum and botanical gardens, to the farmers market and children’s farmstead, the atmosphere is very safe and family-friendly.

 8. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

With Midwestern values and a positive “can-do” attitude, Sioux Falls is a mecca of optimism and beauty for your new family. Ranking very high in affordability and socioeconomic environment, this city is extremely focused on strong finance, business and investments.

With a low unemployment rate of 2.9 percent and a desire to constantly improve, Sioux Falls maintains a great balance among things like public safety, infrastructure and quality-of-life.

7. Plano, Texas

All cities love to put on a show, but Plano truly commands the stage. A booming location for business people and economic growth, this city is appealing to most everyone. With unique attractions like Texas’ Largest Hot Air Balloon Festival and the Southfork Ranch from the TV series “Dallas,” your new family will never fail to be entertained.

Places like the Arbor Hills Reserve and the 56 miles of trails that span Plano also provide a healthy alternative route for activity. When compared with the 150 largest cities in the U.S., Plano even ranks first in education and child care and socioeconomic environment rank. This city loves kids, and kids love it back.

6. Allentown, Pennsylvania

As the third largest city in Pennsylvania, this city is right in the center of fast-paced and thriving industries. Being in such close proximity to huge cities like NYC and Philadelphia, it’s no wonder that Allentown has been recognized as the second best performing region of its size in economic development, according to Site Selection Magazine’s 2014 rankings.

This city has everything to offer, from a theater district and a new professional hockey arena, to huge corporate offices and neighborhood living. It is even in the process of being transformed into one of America’s most vibrant urban communities.

5. Richmond, Virginia

Richmond is much more than just the capital of Virginia. It is an economically progressive place that has amazing family-friendly things to offer like neighborhoods with beautiful architecture, a cultural and educational heritage and well-known prestige.

Richmond was recently ranked as one of the 50 Best Places to Live in America by Men’s Journal, further proving its strong presence of community, activities and Southern charm. Whether it be first-class museums or a day trip to Washington D.C., Richmond is the best history-rich place to start a new family.

4. Worcester, Massachusetts

In the heart of Commonwealth and New England, Worcester is a smart city with quality colleges and universities, strong economy and affordable housing. It comes as no surprise that this city is a five-time recipient of the All-American City Award, as it is the perfect hybrid of an intimate mid-size city and a booming metropolis.

Starting a family here, you will get the best of both worlds. There is an abundance of quality public schools, diverse forms of entertainment and reliable companies that offer great jobs, which all add up to a great potential hometown.

3. Youngstown, Ohio

Known for it’s devotion to the iron and steel industry, Youngstown is a railroad in itself. There are multiple paths you can take while in this beautiful city, as it is multifaceted and has multiple things to offer a new family. It is a smaller city with an intimate atmosphere, but there are more than 100 neighborhoods to choose from that are extremely affordable and safe.

Youngstown is also known for its dedication to the arts, recreational activities and its commitment to maintaining all 37 area park facilities. This small town is upbeat, rich in history and a great fit for anyone trying to raise children.

2. Poughkeepsie, New York

While skyscrapers and speeding cabs typically characterize New York, the city of Poughkeepsie provides a pleasant alternative. This scenic city borders the Hudson River and has beautiful, old-fashioned architecture that give it a comfortable feel.

While the cost of living is a bit higher than most cities, so is the median income. Safety is assured because of the low crime rate, and school will be significant because the education program is ranked in the nation’s top third.

1. Ogden, Utah

Topping our list at #1 is this gorgeous mountainous city in Utah. Ogden is a family-friendly place with affordable housing, a high level of safety and great schools.

But wait, there’s more.

Instead of huge buildings, Ogden offers gorgeous mountains like Ben Lomond Peak and Strawberry Peak, and if you aren’t fond of heights, you can find good eats, visit the energetic scene downtown or travel to a national park.

Ogden has anything and everything for you and your new family. You’ll never want to leave.

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