Well, hallelujah! Yet another survey lists the top family-friendly cities in the U.S., factoring in everything from crime rates to school rankings and, despite our somewhat dismal performance on the latter, Madison not only made the list, but came in at number two.

Naturally, we took the number one spot when it came to the number of playgrounds per 100,000 residents (72.96, in case you’re wondering). And Madison landed in the number two spot overall. Here’s how we scored:

  • 21 points in the availability of “family fun” 
  • 8 points for health and safety
  • 4 points for education
  • 9 points for affordability
  • 21 points for socioeconomic environment

Yes, we could certainly do better in the educational rankings (the low score comes despite Wisconsin coming in at number three on WalletHub’s “lowest high school dropout rate” list.) But we did well on the socioeconomic environment portion of the study. The study considered the following when determining a score for this category:

  • Separation & Divorce Rate
  • Percentage of Two-Parent Families
  • Percentage of Families Living Below the Poverty Line
  • Percentage of Families Receiving Food Stamps
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Wealth Gap
  • Foreclosure Rate

The top 5 family friendly cities, at least according to the study include:

1. Overland Park, KS

2. Madison, WI

3. Plano, TX

4. Sioux Falls, SD

5. Virginia Beach, VA

And the least family-friendly cities (those at the bottom of the list):

  • Cleveland, OH
  • Hialeah. FL
  • Detroit, MI
  • San Bernardino, CA
  • Birmingham Al

Last year, NerdWallet chose three Dane County cities as the best for young families: Waunakee (amazing schools, claims the authors), Mount Horeb and DeForest (the city with the most affordable housing).



Posted by Jolenta Averill on
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