10 Best Cities for Raising Children

arlington, cities
Last year's best city for raising kids, Arlington, Va., tumbled to No. 70.

What makes a good place to raise a family? It all depends, right? Good schools are a must, obviously. A low unemployment rate means plentiful jobs. An abundance of pediatricians, low crime rates and decent air quality are all great reasons for picking your child’s hometown. Accommodating to hipster parents, maybe? So who’s the best of the best?

(Or, for that matter, the worst of the best?)

Parenting magazine recently released its annual list of the 100 most family friendly cities in the U.S. They based their rankings on 8,000 bits of data in 84 categories to come up with this grand and glorious list. But if your awesome hometown didn’t even break the top 25, consider this: the 2001 No. 1 city was ranked 71st last year. Last year’s No. 1, Arlington, Va., is now No. 70. Parenting editors explained they added a “charm and culture index,” (think: free museums and kid-friendly restaurants), which is likely responsible for the massive reshuffling.

Parenting magazines 10 Most Family Friendly U.S. Cities for 2011

And the 10 Worst Cities for Raising Families of 2011.

Photo: wikipedia

  • Washington, D.C. 1 of 10
    Washington, D.C.
    The Metro, government jobs, all those free Smithsonian Museums! This family city benefited from Parenting's new "culture index". Photo: Ben Shuman via wikipedia
  • Austin, Texas 2 of 10
    Austin, Texas
    Even if you think you could never live in the Lone Star State, Austin will change your mind. Outdoors year round, great food and music. Tech and government jobs. Photo: mskogly via flickr
  • Boston 3 of 10
    Talk about an abundance of doctors! Boston also gets points for museums, all around American history and great food for the family. Photo: bpende via flickr
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul 4 of 10
    Minneapolis-St. Paul
    Not just the greatest city for hipster parents, but also a great place to raise kids, period. Sure, the winters are rough -- but the parks, affordable housing and access to pediatricians put this fine city in the Upper Midwest near the top. Photo: amymingo via wikipedia
  • Des Moines, Iowa 5 of 10
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Two kid-friendly words: State. Fair. Plus, cheap housing, good schools, clean air. Photo: Phil Roeder via flickr
  • Madison, Wisconsin 6 of 10
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Great schools, great housing, Great Lakes. Get through the cold winters and you can spend the rest of the seasons on outdoor trails. Photo: Charles Kenyon via wikipedia
  • Honolulu, Hawaii 7 of 10
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    What's not to love? Nearly non-existent unemployment, clean air and some of the lowest obesity rates in the nation. Plus? It's Hawaii! Photo: Dan Zen via flickr
  • Omaha, Nebraska 8 of 10
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Not an obvious choice for most of us, but the housing is affordable (if not fairly suburban, see picture). But Parenting swears there's tons of art and culture, including a vibrant jazz scene. Photo: futuredirections via wikipedia
  • Seattle, Wash. 9 of 10
    Seattle, Wash.
    It's Seattle. Enough said, right? Photo: bterrycompton via flickr
  • Louisville, Kentucky 10 of 10
    Louisville, Kentucky
    Um, horsies? Parenting promises lots of parks, affordable housing and great schools. Photo: merfam via flickr



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