Best counties to raise a family in Florida

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June 3, 2021
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Best counties to raise a family in Florida

Known in other parts of the world as shires, provinces, or territories, the United States’ counties (also known in certain states as boroughs or parishes) date back to the 1600s, when settlers first came to find freedom from British rule. Today, those counties remain, with the 50 states divided into several, each with its own unique makeup.

For people looking to find a home to raise a family in, choosing a county is an important decision. Most families place affordable homes, safe neighborhoods, a quality school system, and family-friendly activities at the top of their wishlists.

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to raise a family in Florida using data from Niche. Niche ranks counties based on a variety of factors including cost of living, schools, healthcare, recreation and weather.

The list features counties that boast some of the top schools and fun, family-friendly activities for every season. Keep reading to explore the best counties to raise a family. Maybe you’ll find one that suits your brood.

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#25. Escambia County

- Population: 313,491
- Median home value: $146,200 (62% own)
- Median rent: $983 (38% rent)
- Median household income: $50,915
- Top public schools: West Florida High School of Advanced Technology (A-), Pensacola Beach Charter School (B+), Pensacola High School (B+)
- Top private schools: Trinitas Christian School (A), Pensacola Catholic High School (A-), East Hill Christian School (A-)
- Top places to live: Ferry Pass (A-), Pensacola (A-), Gonzalez (A-)
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Ebyabe // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Pasco County

- Population: 524,602
- Median home value: $162,100 (72% own)
- Median rent: $1,062 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $52,828
- Top public schools: Land O' Lakes High School (A), James W. Mitchell High School (A), Dayspring Academy (A)
- Top private schools: Academy at the Lakes (A+), Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School (A), Saddlebrook Preparatory School (A)
- Top places to live: Wesley Chapel (A), Land O' Lakes (A), Odessa (A)
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Ebyabe // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Wakulla County

- Population: 32,321
- Median home value: $144,000 (82% own)
- Median rent: $896 (18% rent)
- Median household income: $61,410
- Top public schools: Wakulla Middle School (A-), Riversprings Middle School (B+), Shadeville Elementary School (B+)
- Top private schools: Wakulla Christian School (B-)
- Top places to live: Crawfordville (A-), Sopchoppy (A), Panacea (B-)
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#22. Martin County

- Population: 159,065
- Median home value: $273,700 (78% own)
- Median rent: $1,111 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $61,133
- Top public schools: Clark Advanced Learning Center (A), Jensen Beach High School (A), Hidden Oaks Middle School (A)
- Top private schools: The Pine School (A+), Hobe Sound Christian Academy (A-), Community Christian Academy (B-)
- Top places to live: North River Shores (A), Jensen Beach (A), Sewall's Point (A)
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#21. Lee County

- Population: 737,468
- Median home value: $224,800 (72% own)
- Median rent: $1,154 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $57,832
- Top public schools: Fort Myers High School (A+), Florida Southwestern Collegiate High School - Lee Campus (A+), North Fort Myers High School (A-)
- Top private schools: Canterbury School (A+), Bishop Verot Catholic High School (A), Southwest Florida Christian Academy (A-)
- Top places to live: Whiskey Creek (A), Gateway (A), Sanibel (A)
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Ebyabe // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Walton County

- Population: 68,262
- Median home value: $229,500 (75% own)
- Median rent: $979 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $58,093
- Top public schools: Seaside Neighborhood School (A), Van R. Butler Elementary School (A-), Freeport Senior High School (A-)
- Top private schools: Ohana Institute (B+), Gateway Academy (unavailable), First Christian Academy (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Miramar Beach (A-), DeFuniak Springs (B), Freeport (B)
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#19. Pinellas County

- Population: 964,666
- Median home value: $201,200 (67% own)
- Median rent: $1,112 (33% rent)
- Median household income: $54,090
- Top public schools: St. Petersburg Collegiate High School (A+), Palm Harbor University High School (A), St. Petersburg High School (A)
- Top private schools: Shorecrest Preparatory School (A+), The Canterbury School of Florida (A+), Clearwater Central Catholic High School (A)
- Top places to live: Euclid-St. Paul (A+), Crescent Heights (A+), North Shore (A+)
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Ebyabe // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Osceola County

- Population: 351,955
- Median home value: $201,000 (62% own)
- Median rent: $1,228 (38% rent)
- Median household income: $52,279
- Top public schools: Osceola County School for the Arts (A), Celebration High School (A-), Professional & Technical High School (A-)
- Top private schools: Heritage Christian School (B+), Southland Christian School (B), City of Life Christian Academy (B-)
- Top places to live: Celebration (A), St. Cloud (B+), Buenaventura Lakes (B-)
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Michael Kagdis // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Palm Beach County

- Population: 1,465,027
- Median home value: $283,600 (69% own)
- Median rent: $1,398 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $63,299
- Top public schools: A.D. Henderson University School & FAU High School (A+), Suncoast Community High School (A+), Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts (A+)
- Top private schools: American Heritage Schools, Palm Beach Campus (A+), Saint Andrew's School (A+), The Benjamin School (A+)
- Top places to live: Grandview Heights (A+), Highland Beach (A), Boca Raton (A)
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#16. Miami-Dade County

- Population: 2,699,428
- Median home value: $289,600 (51% own)
- Median rent: $1,328 (49% rent)
- Median household income: $51,347
- Top public schools: School for Advanced Studies - Wolfson (A+), School for Advanced Studies - South (A+), School for Advanced Studies - North (A+)
- Top private schools: Ransom Everglades School (A+), Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart (A+), Gulliver Preparatory School (A+)
- Top places to live: Brickell (A+), Pinecrest (A+), Edgewater (A+)
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#15. Nassau County

- Population: 83,098
- Median home value: $230,900 (80% own)
- Median rent: $1,046 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $69,943
- Top public schools: Callahan Intermediate School (A), Hilliard Elementary School (A-), Emma Love Hardee Elementary School (A-)
- Top private schools: St. Michael Academy (unavailable), Sonshine Christian Academy (unavailable), Amelia Island Montessori School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Fernandina Beach (A-), Yulee (B+), Callahan (B)
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#14. Santa Rosa County

- Population: 174,755
- Median home value: $199,200 (76% own)
- Median rent: $1,129 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $67,949
- Top public schools: Gulf Breeze High School (A), Oriole Beach Elementary School (A-), Gulf Breeze Elementary School (A-)
- Top private schools: Lighthouse Private Christian Academy (B+), Santa Rosa Christian School (B-), West Florida Baptist Academy (B+)
- Top places to live: Gulf Breeze (A+), Oriole Beach (A), Tiger Point (A)
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#13. Broward County

- Population: 1,926,205
- Median home value: $265,000 (62% own)
- Median rent: $1,392 (38% rent)
- Median household income: $59,547
- Top public schools: Cypress Bay High School (A+), College Academy at Broward College (A+), Pompano Beach Institute of International Studies (A+)
- Top private schools: Pine Crest School - Fort Lauderdale Campus (A+), American Heritage Schools, Broward Campus (A+), NSU University School (A+)
- Top places to live: Weston (A+), Downtown (A), Cooper City (A)
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Ebyabe // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Lafayette County

- Population: 8,637
- Median home value: $104,700 (84% own)
- Median rent: $532 (16% rent)
- Median household income: $50,165
- Top public schools: Lafayette Elementary School (B+)
- Top private schools: Lighthouse Christian Academy (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Mayo (B-)
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#11. Duval County

- Population: 936,186
- Median home value: $180,700 (57% own)
- Median rent: $1,074 (43% rent)
- Median household income: $55,807
- Top public schools: Stanton College Preparatory (A+), Paxon School for Advanced Studies (A+), Douglas Anderson School of the Arts (A)
- Top private schools: Episcopal School of Jacksonville (A+), The Bolles School (A+), Bishop John J. Snyder High School (A)
- Top places to live: Secret Cove (A+), Deerwood (A+), Bayard (A)
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#10. Clay County

- Population: 211,405
- Median home value: $185,400 (75% own)
- Median rent: $1,148 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $65,740
- Top public schools: Fleming Island High School (A), Orange Park Elementary School (A), Thunderbolt Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: St. Johns Country Day School (A+), Christian Home Academy (A), HighPoint Christian Academy (A)
- Top places to live: Fleming Island (A+), Oakleaf Plantation (A), Orange Park (A)
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Ebyabe // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Okaloosa County

- Population: 203,794
- Median home value: $219,100 (63% own)
- Median rent: $1,127 (37% rent)
- Median household income: $63,412
- Top public schools: Collegiate High School at Northwest Florida State College (A+), Niceville Senior High School (A), Fort Walton Beach High School (A)
- Top private schools: Rocky Bayou Christian School - Niceville Campus (A-), Calvary Christian Academy & Preschool (B), St. Mary Catholic School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Mary Esther (A), Niceville (A), Lake Lorraine (A)
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#8. Alachua County

- Population: 265,443
- Median home value: $186,700 (55% own)
- Median rent: $983 (45% rent)
- Median household income: $49,689
- Top public schools: Eastside High School (A), F.W. Buchholz High School (A), P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School (A)
- Top private schools: Oak Hall School (A+), Saint Francis Catholic Academy (A), Cornerstone Academy (A-)
- Top places to live: Gainesville (A), High Springs (A), Alachua (A-)
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#7. Brevard County

- Population: 585,507
- Median home value: $196,400 (74% own)
- Median rent: $1,068 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $56,775
- Top public schools: West Shore Junior/Senior High School (A+), Edgewood Junior/Senior High School (A+), Freedom 7 Elementary School of International Studies (A)
- Top private schools: Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy (A+), Melbourne Central Catholic High School (A), Florida Prep (A-)
- Top places to live: Satellite Beach (A+), South Patrick Shores (A+), Indian Harbour Beach (A+)
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#6. Orange County

- Population: 1,349,746
- Median home value: $235,800 (55% own)
- Median rent: $1,215 (45% rent)
- Median household income: $58,254
- Top public schools: Orlando Science Middle/High Charter School (A+), Winter Park High School (A+), Timber Creek High School (A)
- Top private schools: Lake Highland Preparatory School (A+), Windermere Preparatory School (A+), The First Academy (A+)
- Top places to live: Park Lake/Highland (A+), Thornton Park (A+), Downtown (A+)
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#5. Leon County

- Population: 289,770
- Median home value: $203,100 (53% own)
- Median rent: $1,024 (47% rent)
- Median household income: $53,106
- Top public schools: Florida State University School (A+), Leon High School (A), Lawton Chiles High School (A)
- Top private schools: Maclay School (A+), John Paul II Catholic High School (A), North Florida Christian School (B+)
- Top places to live: Tallahassee (A)
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#4. Sarasota County

- Population: 419,496
- Median home value: $251,600 (75% own)
- Median rent: $1,277 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $62,236
- Top public schools: Pine View School (A+), Riverview High School (A), Ashton Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: The Out-of-Door Academy (A+), NewGate School (A+), Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School (A-)
- Top places to live: South Sarasota (A+), Osprey (A), Siesta Key (A)
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#3. Hillsborough County

- Population: 1,422,278
- Median home value: $216,300 (59% own)
- Median rent: $1,142 (41% rent)
- Median household income: $58,884
- Top public schools: Strawberry Crest High School (A+), Plant High School (A+), Steinbrenner High School (A)
- Top private schools: Berkeley Preparatory School (A+), Tampa Preparatory School (A+), Jesuit High School (A+)
- Top places to live: Hyde Park - Spanishtown Creek (A+), Harbour Island (A+), Historic Hyde Park (A+)
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#2. St. Johns County

- Population: 244,674
- Median home value: $304,700 (80% own)
- Median rent: $1,312 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $82,252
- Top public schools: Ponte Vedra High School (A+), Bartram Trail High School (A), Patriot Oaks Academy (A)
- Top private schools: St. Joseph Academy (A-), St. Gerard Campus (A-), St. John's Academy (A-)
- Top places to live: Nocatee (A+), Palm Valley (A+), Fruit Cove (A+)
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#1. Seminole County

- Population: 461,402
- Median home value: $242,600 (65% own)
- Median rent: $1,242 (35% rent)
- Median household income: $66,768
- Top public schools: Oviedo High School (A), Choices in Learning Charter School (A), Hagerty High School (A)
- Top private schools: Trinity Preparatory School (A+), Lake Mary Preparatory School (A+), The Geneva School (A+)
- Top places to live: Heathrow (A+), Lake Mary (A+), Oviedo (A+)

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