The 100 Best Places to Raise a Family

Plus: the ten worst.

Television executives seized the idea long ago: American families value where they plant their roots. The Cunninghams, Milwaukee. The Simpsons, Springfield. But fathers face reality when they're not in prime time. They want to raise their children somewhere safe, where they can attend good schools with favorable student-teacher ratios, above-average test scores, and respectable budgets. Plenty of museums, parks, and pediatricians also contribute to a good quality of life, whereas multihour commutes, expensive houses, and divorcing friends and neighbors do not. Best Life editors used these categories and data from the U.S. Census Bureau, National Center for Education Statistics, FBI, American Association of Museums, National Center for Health Statistics, and American Bar Association to evaluate 257 cities. Here are the best—and worst—places to raise a family. And for more great advice on how to be the best possible father, here's how to raise your Dad game.

1/ Honolulu, Hawaii: Schools spend almost $9,000 per pupil, unemployment ranks less than half the national average, and you can play on the island of O'ahu's 125 beaches.
2/ Virginia Beach, Virginia
3/ Billings, Montana
4/ Columbus, Georgia
5 /San Diego, California
6/ Des Moines, Iowa
7/ Minneapolis, Minnesota
8/ Madison, Wisconsin
9/ Colorado Springs, Colorado
10/ Santa Rosa, California
11/ Wichita, Kansas
12/ Los Angeles, California
13/ Corona, California
14/ Austin, Texas
15/ Stamford, Connecticut
16/ Omaha, Nebraska
17/ Naperville, Illinois
18/ Fort Wayne, Indiana
19/ Springfield, Illinois
20/ Boise, Idaho
21/ Manchester, New Hampshire
22/ South Bay Area, California
23/ New York, New York
24/ Fontana, California
25/ Louisville, Kentucky
26/ Plano, Texas
27/ Oceanside, California
28/ Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
29/ Sacramento, California
30/ Ann Arbor, Michigan
31/ Reno, Nevada
32/ Las Vegas, Nevada
33/ Lincoln, Nebraska
34/ San Bernardino, California
35/ Grand Rapids, Michigan
36/ Raleigh-Durham
37/ Kansas City, Kansas
38/ Fremont, California
39/ Buffalo, New York
40/ Berkeley, California
41/ Cambridge, Massachusetts
42/ Kansas City, Missouri
43/ Waterbury, Connecticut
44/ Syracuse, New York
45 /Phoenix, Arizona
46 /Albuquerque, New Mexico
47 / Akron, Ohio
48 /Boston, Massachusetts
49 /Escondido, California
50 /Fairfield, California
51 /Antioch, California
52 /Elgin, Illinois
53 /Rochester, New York
54 /Seattle, Washington
55 /Tucson, Arizona
56 /Santa Clarita, California
57 /Denver, Colorado
58 /Indianapolis, Indiana
59 /Glendale, Arizona
60 /Chicago, Illinois
61 /Atlanta, Georgia
62 /San Antonio, Texas
63/ Mobile, Alabama
64 /Concord, California
65 /Denton, Texas
66 /Coral Springs, Florida
67 /San Francisco, California
68 /Cedar Rapids, Iowa
69 /El Paso, Texas
70 /San Buenaventura, California
71 /Worcester, Massachusetts
72/ Baltimore, Maryland
73/ Richmond, California
74/ Lowell, Massachusetts
75/ Portland, Oregon
76/ Jacksonville, Florida
77 /Fort Collins, Colorado
78/ Orlando, Florida
79/ Modesto, California
80/ Montgomery, Alabama
81 /Tampa, Florida
82/ Salinas, California
83/ Newport News, Virginia
84/ Oakland, California
85/ Augusta, Georgia
86/Fort Worth, Texas
87/ Washington, D.C.
88/ Tulsa, Oklahoma
89/ Bellevue, Washington
90/Cincinnati, Ohio
91 /McKinney, Texas
92 /St. Louis, Missouri
93 /Hayward, California
94 /Midland, Texas
95 /Sterling Heights, Michigan
96 /Greensboro, North Carolina
97 /Arlington, Texas
98 /Alexandria, Virginia
99 /Winston-Salem, North Carolina
100/ Lexington, Kentucky

The 10 Worst Places to Raise a Family (from best to worst)

10/Springfield, Missouri
9/Dayton, Ohio
8/Corpus Christi, Texas
7/Flint, Michigan
6/Columbia, South Carolina
5/Waco, Texas
4/Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
3/Fayetteville, North Carolina
2/Beaumont, Texas
1/Clarksville, Tennessee

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