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Here are the best and worst US cities to raise a family in 2024

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The choice of where to raise a family is a big one for millions of Americans — and some cities are better picks than others. 

A recent study by WalletHub showed just which U.S. cities are the most family friendly in 2024. 

The company compared more than 180 U.S. cities, including the 150 most populated ones, to find the best cities to live in based on various criteria. 

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The five key dimensions include family fun, health and safety, education and child care, affordability and socio-economics. 

Within each of those, other metrics evaluated included the number of playgrounds, skate parks and mini-golf locations per capita. 

Kids playing in the backyard

Where are the best cities to raise a family in America? WalletHub looked at a variety of factors to find out. (iStock)

The study also looked at ideal weather, water quality, access to pediatricians, violent crime rate, high school graduation rate, summer learning opportunities, cost of living and more. 

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In the socioeconomic category, WalletHub analyzed the separation and divorce rate in cities, the unemployment rate, the wealth gap and other metrics. 

Here are the top five U.S. cities to raise a family in 2024 according to this report.

Top 5 U.S. cities for family living

Counting down here …

Seattle, Washington, neighborhood

Seattle, Washington, ranked No. 5 for the best city to raise a family in 2024.  (iStock)

5. Seattle, Washington

4. Plano, Texas

3. Irvine, California

2. Overland Park, Kansas

Overland Park, Kansas

Overland Park, Kansas, ranked high on the new list from WalletHub. (iStock)

1. Fremont, California

WalletHub named the city of Fremont, California, the most family-friendly city in the United States.

That’s due in part to its highest median family income after adjusting for the cost of living, at close to $122,000. 

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It was also ranked high due to 50.5% of its families having children under age 18, making it one of the highest rates in the country. 

The city of Fremont also has a high percentage of public schools and summer camp opportunities. 

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Wallet Hub also said of Fremont that its “residents are able to stay healthy. Only 1.4% of children lack health insurance, the second-lowest percentage in the country, and only 1.1% of the population lacks access to healthy food. The city also has the fifth-most parkland acres per capita, allowing for good outdoor exercise opportunities.”

Fremont, California

Fremont, California, topped a Wallet Hub list of the best place to raise a family in the U.S. in 2024. (iStock)

Ranking second on the list is Overland Park, Kansas, which was recognized for its low unemployment rate and high median family income. 

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The Kansas City suburb also has a low separation and divorce rate and is safe for children with a low traffic fatality rate, according to WalletHub. 

Irvine, California, came in third for its high-ranking schools and lowest violent crime rate per capita. 

Family in home front yard

The five key dimensions compared in the new study were family fun, health and safety, education and child care, affordability and socio-economics.  (iStock)

Cities at the bottom of the list included Gulfport, Mississippi; Newark, New Jersey; Cleveland, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; and Memphis, Tennessee — which came in last place. 

Other notable finds in the WalletHub study: New York City was tied with Chicago and Charlotte for the greatest number of playgrounds per capita. 

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The greatest number of attractions, in general, was a five-way tie between New York City, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco. 

Neighborhood and kids playing at home

WalletHub released a study of the best and worst cities for families to live in the year 2024.  (iStock)

WalletHub analyst Cassandra Happe said in a media statement, “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.”

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She added, “On top of all of these factors, people also often want to raise their children close to their extended family.”

She also said, “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.”

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