Starting a family can be as exciting a time as ever. Monumental life decisions like getting married, buying a home, and having children should not be rushed, but rather carefully planned down to the very last detail. Millennials have recently become the newest generation to give these things a try.
When purchasing their first home, young couples often imagine their kids growing up in the perfect house in the perfect city. Staying put in one house can provide many benefits to a young family. Your kids are given a consistent education, they can make life-long friends who all live in the same area, and parents can find peace in knowing their kids are comfortable and safe. Ultimately, Millennials looking to start a family must find all of these things at a reasonable price, especially considering they are a generation plagued by student debt.
The team at LendEDU wanted to provide insight to all of the young families out there looking to purchase their first home. Using our unique scoring system, we have put together a ranking of the best 300 cities to start a family. Each city was scored on four parameters that were equally weighted in the final overall ranking. Education was scored on a 1 to 10 scale based on results from the test scores of each city's education system, 10 being the best possible score.
Cost of first home purchase was calculated by dividing median household income by median home value; a higher percentage meant a better score. Crime and safety was scored on the combined violent and property crime rate per 1,000 residents in each city. Percentage of young families was determined by finding the number of households that contain a married couple with children under the age of 18.
We hope that you enjoy our list, but more importantly, we hope this helps you find the right place to start your family.
Top 10 Cities to Start a Family
1. Frisco, Texas
Frisco, Texas tops LendEDU’s list for best cities to start a family. Located right outside the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Frisco has become a popular bedroom community for professionals working in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
- Education - 9 (Rank: 6)
- Cost of First Home Purchase - 42.6% (Rank: 13)
- Crime and Safety - 16.31 (Rank: 13)
- Percentage of Young Families - 42.5% (Rank: 1)
2. McKinney, Texas
McKinney, Texas comes in at second on our list. McKinney’s close proximity to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex has made it a popular commuting hub. McKinney was named the nation’s fastest growing city from 2000 to 2003 and again in 2006.
- Education - 8 (Rank: 19)
- Cost of First Home Purchase - 43.56% (Rank: 11)
- Crime and Safety - 18.06 (Rank: 19)
- Percentage of Young Families - 36.2% (Rank: 5)
3. Round Rock, Texas
Round Rock rounds out our top three. Round Rock is part of the Greater Austin metropolitan area, making it an ideal commuter city. The Austin suburb contains the international headquarters for Dell, a major employer of Round Rock residents.
- Education - 8 (Rank: 20)
- Cost of First Home Purchase - 42.84% (Rank: 12)
- Crime and Safety - 20.54 (Rank: 29)
- Percentage of Young Families - 31.7% (Rank: 20)
4. Olathe, Kansas
Olathe, Kansas takes the fourth spot on our list. The fourth most populous city in Kansas, Olathe is part of the Kansas City metropolitan area. The city has been consistently mentioned as one of the fastest growing cities in the United States.
- Education - 7 (Rank: 38)
- Cost of First Home Purchase - 39.33% (Rank: 36)
- Crime and Safety - 17.01 (Rank: 16)
- Percentage of Young Families - 33% (Rank: 15)
5. Plano, Texas
Plano, Texas is number five on the LendEDU Top Cities to Start a Family list. Part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Plano is home to the corporate headquarters of companies like Frito-Lay, J.C. Penney, Pizza Hut, and Toyota Motors USA. Job opportunities are boundless in this popular commuter hub.
- Education - 9 (Rank: 7)
- Cost of First Home Purchase - 38.61% (Rank: 42)
- Crime and Safety - 19.48 (Rank: 26)
- Percentage of Young Families - 28.1% (Rank: 40)
6. Gilbert, Arizona
Taking the sixth spot in our rankings is Gilbert, Arizona. A modern day boom town, Gilbert has increased in population from 5,717 in 1980 to 208,453 today. Gilbert is part of the Phoenix metropolitan area and is currently the most populous incorporated town in the United States.
- Education - 8 (Rank: 16)
- Cost of First Home Purchase - 30.1% (Rank: 98)
- Crime and Safety - 13.91 (Rank: 7)
- Percentage of Young Families - 35% (Rank: 7)
7. Cary, North Carolina
Cary, North Carolina is sixth on the list of Best Cities to Start a Family. Located in the metropolitan area known as “The Triangle,” Cary is one of the safest places to live in the United States.
- Education - 8 (Rank: 14)
- Cost of First Home Purchase - 30.47% (Rank: 95)
- Crime and Safety - 12.52 (Rank: 3)
- Percentage of Young Families - 31.9% (Rank: 19)
8. Naperville, Illinois
Naperville ranks eighth on our list and for good reason. The Illinois city ranked first in our education ranking and second in our safety ranking. Naperville is an expensive city to live in, but young families will be getting their money’s worth if they choose to live here.
- Education: 10 (Rank: 1)
- Cost of First Home Purchase - 26.78% (Rank: 133)
- Crime and Safety - 12.25 (Rank: 2)
- Percentage of Young Families: 35.9% (Rank: 6)
9. Centennial, Colorado
Centennial, Colorado has earned the number nine spot in LendEDU’s ranking of the Best Cities to Start a Family. The top employers in this Colorado community include OppenheimerFunds and Comcast.
- Education: 8 (Rank: 15)
- Cost of First Home Purchase - 30.58% (Rank: 93)
- Crime and Safety - 13.13 (Rank: 4)
- Percentage of Young Families - 27.5% (Rank: 47)
10. Carrollton, Texas
Rounding out LendEDU’s top ten is Carrollton, Texas. The Texas city has steadily grown in population since the 1950s and is consistently mentioned as one of the best cities to live in the United States.
- Education: 7 (Rank: 48)
- Cost of First Home Purchase - 41.96% (Rank: 17)
- Crime and Safety - 23.09 (Rank: 45)
- Percentage of Young Families - 26.2% (Rank: 60)
Top 300 Best Cities to Start a Family
In order to identify the top 300 cities for starting a family, LendEDU evaluated data for the 350 most populated cities in the United States. The 350 cities were evaluated across four parameters: 1) Education Quality; 2) Cost of First Home Purchase; 3) Safety; 4) Percentage of Young Families in the population.
Education quality was determined by using a rating calculated by Greatschools.org. Greatschools.org ranks each city’s education system on a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being the best possible score. Scores are calculated based on standardized test scores for students in each city.
Cost of first home purchase was determined based on statistics drawn from the U.S. Census Bureau. Rankings were determined by finding the median household income of each city and dividing it by the median home value to give a percentage. A higher percentage would indicate an easier and quicker time for the household to pay off the median home value. Young families would predictably be making close to the median household income of the city they are living in, and would have to be paying a house price close to the median home value. The higher the percentage value, the higher the rank each city received.
Safety was determined using statistics drawn from the FBI’s crime statistics data and Neighorhoodscout.com, a website recommended by the U.S. government’s data platform. Each city’s violent and property crimes were tallied together on a per-1,000 residents scale. A lower number would indicate a lower crime rate. The lower the crime number, the higher rank each city received.
The percentage of young families was calculated using data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau. For each city, the U.S. Census Bureau calculated the number of households with a married couple and children under the age of 18. This number was recorded as a percentage, a higher percentage meaning more households that have married couples and children under the age of 18. This stat was used to quantify how many young families are residing in each city. The higher percentage, the higher the rank of each city.
Once the data for each parameter was compiled for all 350 cities, cities were given four individual rankings for each of the four parameters. To give each city an overall ranking based on the four parameters, we gave each city an overall score based on the four parameters. The overall score was calculated from the four individual, equally weighted rankings and was scored as a number; the lower the number the better the ranking.