Numbers Count: Rankings for family-friendly cities

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Numbers count. They matter to bankers and to prospective homebuyers, sellers, and real estate professionals. Here’s my take on the key numbers on the housing market this week.

The numbers: Best cities for families

family_in_park_cropWhat’s the best city in America to raise a family? How does your city rank? WalletHub has tried to answer these questions by comparing the 150 most populated U.S. cities based on 30 family-friendly measures, including playgrounds per capita, quality of schools, health-care quality, and the relative cost of housing. Number One on the list? Overland Park, Kansas. One California city makes WalletHub’s top 10. The full, 150-city list is viewable on WalletHub, a financial education website.

What counts: Every city has its charms and flaws, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this “ranking” sparks a lively conversation about which cities are tops for tots. Regardless of where a city or neighborhood land in anybody’s rankings, this report is a good reminder that whenever you start house hunting, you should have a checklist of what’s important and what may not be so important.

Empty nesters looking to downsize may want certain things in a home and a community, and young couples with a child or a child-on-the-way may want something very different.
Take a look at this report’s methodology. It offers a useful list of factors you may not have thought about for evaluating a city or a neighborhood. Such as:

  • Parkland acreage per 100,000 residents
  • Percentage of families with children under 18
  • Number of pediatricians per 100,000 residents
  • Childcare costs

While you may not be able to quantify all these factors, it is helpful to think about them and decide what is truly important in your decision-making process regarding a home and a neighborhood. A good real-estate agent may have the answers to a lot of your questions on these topics.

Take families with children under 18, for example. I have a colleague in the San Francisco Bay Area with two college-age sons. They grew up on a street with just one other family, so it wasn’t the most fun block around. When one of his sons returned from college a week ago, there was a summer block party with dozens of kids swarming everywhere! One generation’s retiree community can become the next generation’s playground!

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