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Fremont tops the list as best place to raise a family

With 30 percent of Americans who moved last year citing “family reasons” as their motivation, the personal-finance website WalletHub recently released its report on the Best & Worst Places to Raise a Family in 2024, as well as expert commentary, to help people find the best place to put down roots.

Five cities in California made the top 10, with top-rated Fremont leading the way. WalletHub compared more than 180 cities across 45 key metrics. The data set ranges from housing affordability to school-system quality to the unemployment rate.


Best Cities for Families

Taking first place in the study was Fremont, CA, followed by Overland Park, KS in second, Irvine, CA; Plano, TX; Seattle, WA; Gilbert, AZ; San Jose, CA; San Diego, CA; Boise, ID and, rounding out the top 10, Huntington Beach, CA.


Worst Cities for Families

Coming in at the bottom of the study were Augusta, GA at number 173, followed by Jackson MS; New Orleans, LA; Birmingham, AL; San Bernardino, CA and Gulfport, MS, tied at 177; Newark, NJ; Cleveland, OH; Detroit, MI; and, last on the list, at number 182, Memphis, TN.


Best vs. Worst

New York has the most playgrounds (per square root of the population), which is 13.1 times more than in Hialeah, Florida, the city with the fewest.

Irvine, California, has the fewest violent crimes (per 1,000 residents), which is 32.3 times fewer than in Memphis, Tennessee, the city with the most.

Columbia, Maryland, has the highest median family annual income (adjusted for cost of living), which is 3.3 times higher than in Detroit, the city with the lowest.

Overland Park, Kansas, has the lowest share of families receiving food stamps, which is 25.8 times lower than in Detroit, the city with the highest.

Pearl City, Hawaii, has the lowest share of families living in poverty, which is 12.2 times lower than in Detroit, the city with the highest.

“Finding the best place to raise a family is difficult, between balancing an affordable cost of living with good educational opportunities, safety and enough recreation to keep kids entertained. On top of all of these factors, people also often want to raise their children close to their extended family. Therefore, current or prospective parents can benefit from narrowing down their choices to a few of the best cities that are within a reasonable drive of their family,” noted WalletHub Analyst Cassandra Happe. “Fremont, CA, is the best place to raise a family in 2024, with one of the highest median family incomes and the fourth-lowest share of families living in poverty. Fremont is especially good when it comes to children’s education, with over 67 percent of public schools rated at least a seven out of ten. In addition, Fremont is a good city for children’s health, as only 1.4 percent of children lack health insurance and only 1.1 percent of the population lacks access to healthy food.”

To view the full report, visit:


Expert Commentary

To what degree is a child’s development and a family’s quality of life influenced by the city they live in? How?

“Both directly and indirectly, where you live impacts you and your children’s quality of life. Directly through the offerings of the community – ranging from parks and green space for outdoor exploring to museums, schools and extracurricular opportunities. Indirectly through how available parents and family are to their children. If adults need to work multiple jobs, commute long hours, and therefore have minimal time with their children, even extensive communal resources cannot replace the time and connection lost.”

Rona Milch Novick, PhD – Dean, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, Yeshiva University


“Many aspects of where you live can impact your family’s well-being. The quality of school systems, access to good jobs, general crime rates, and access to quality recreation are all factors that are tied to the city you live in and impact your family. Considering all of these factors when you pick a city to live in is an important consideration when you have a family.”

Brian J. Willoughby, Ph.D. – Professor; Fellow, The Wheatley Institute, Brigham Young University


How can local officials make their cities more attractive to young families?

“Cities can work with local economic development organizations to find creative ways to encourage childcare providers to expand the services available. Public services like parks, hiking and bike trails, and recreational programming are important. But paramount is safety and security, so a strong, dedicated public law enforcement presence and positive interaction between that entity and families and children allow the focus to be on addressing other needs of children.”

Dr. Tami James Moore, CFLE – Professor, University of Nebraska at Kearney


“One of the most important things officials can do is provide strong recreational resources for families. Parks, sports fields, and recreation centers are all attractive to young families. Investing and supporting strong school systems is also critical.”

Brian J. Willoughby, Ph.D. – Professor; Fellow, The Wheatley Institute, Brigham Young University


What are the most important steps parents can take to help their children grow up healthy?

“Invest in the most valuable commodity for healthy development – your relationship with your children. There are no shortcuts, it requires a commitment of time and energy, getting to know your child, sharing their passions, and being there for the moments that matter to them. Equally important, remember that you are always the grown-up. Children will have many friends; parents play a unique and important role in children’s lives. This includes setting limits. It includes ensuring children do even those things that are difficult and unpleasant. It includes honestly telling children when they are wrong, and not necessarily coming to their defense when others rightfully point out their misdeeds. None of this will win them a popularity contest with their children, but it will help their children grow into resilient and responsible adults.”

Rona Milch Novick, PhD – Dean, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, Yeshiva University