The Best Places to Raise Your Kids 2011

No matter how hard you try, raising a family is complicated, not to mention expensive. For parents juggling concerns about their children’s safety, schools, expenses, and after school activities—and who also need to go to work on top of all this—living in the right place won’t solve all problems, but it can offer their children more opportunities and enhance the family’s lifestyle. In our fifth annual ranking of best places to raise kids, Bloomberg and Businessweek.com shifted our focus from large, urbanized places to smaller towns and cities.

Using 2010 data from Onboard Informatics, a real estate information and technology company in New York, we evaluated a total of 5,418 locations nationwide with populations larger than the state median but no larger than 50,000. We considered only locations where the median income is within 20 percent of the state’s median. The rankings put the most weight on school performance and the number of schools, crime statistics, and cost of living. Other factors included job growth, air quality, ethnic diversity, and access to recreational amenities (within the county), such as parks, zoos, theaters, and museums.

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