100 best cities to raise a family

April 3, 2021
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100 best cities to raise a family

How do you find a good city to raise a family? The most ideal spots provide safe neighborhoods, quality education, recreation opportunities, and affordability. Weighing all those factors and more and finding the right locale among nearly 20,000 incorporated cities, towns, and villages across America can be daunting, so Stacker collected 2020 data from the national review and ranking site Niche to compile a list of the top 100 locations to raise a family.

Some criteria considered in ranking the best 100 cities included crime rates, public school rankings, college graduation rates, cost of living, family amenities, outdoor recreation, transportation, diversity, and walkability. While Niche primarily sourced data from the U.S. Census Bureau data, other city details came from the U.S. Department of Education, the FBI, and other specific programs and demographics links.

In the list of cities, Stacker included the population, median home value, median rent, and median household income for each of the top 100 best cities. While California has five cities in the top 20, and Texas has four, an Illinois city 33 miles west of Chicago claims the top spot.

Six of the 10 cities in the country with populations over 1,000,000 made the list, showing that big cities are a great place to raise a family, offering a wealth of historic sites, museums, top schools, and parks to entertain parents and children alike. High walkability scores, rapidly improving school systems, and falling crime rates place vibrant cities like Dallas and New York among the nation’s best for families. On the opposite end of the spectrum, South Bend in northern Indiana earns the title of the smallest city on the list, with just over 102,000 residents.

Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia are represented, while Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Delaware, West Virginia, Mississippi, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, and Alaska are absent.

If you're hunting for the perfect place to lay down roots, be sure to keep reading to discover the most 100 highly rated cities for raising a family.

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#100. Little Rock, Arkansas

- Population: 197,958
- Median home value: $167,600 (55% own)
- Median rent: $872 (45% rent)
- Median household income: $51,485

For family life, Little Rock is brimming with neighborhood pools and space to roller skate, ice skate, and play hockey and broomball year-round at the Arkansas Skatium. The city’s cost of living is lower than the national average, and so are rents and the median sale price of a home.  

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#99. South Bend, Indiana

- Population: 102,037
- Median home value: $85,200 (57% own)
- Median rent: $789 (43% rent)
- Median household income: $40,265

South Bend is a city with plenty of parkland and a comfortable suburban feel, and it attracts families and young professionals. The cost of living is slightly lower than the rest of the state and significantly lower than the rest of the country. Public schools are above average, and more than a quarter of residents have an associate’s degree or some college, roughly on par with the rest of the country.

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#98. Honolulu, Hawaii

- Population: 400,317
- Median home value: $749,000 (49% own)
- Median rent: $1,534 (51% rent)
- Median household income: $76,055

This Hawaiian Island, which is considered one of the healthiest cities in the U.S., is so focused on the household, it even offers HONOLULU Family, a local website that caters to local clans. However, quality of life comes with a price, as Hawaii is notorious for its high cost of living at almost two-thirds above the national average. With an above-average public school system, Honolulu education levels remain high, with 25% of residents having at least a bachelor’s degree, and 15% having a master’s degree or higher.

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#97. Green Bay, Wisconsin

- Population: 104,777
- Median home value: $135,900 (56% own)
- Median rent: $730 (44% rent)
- Median household income: $49,251

This Wisconsin city, named for its location at the southern end of an arm of Lake Michigan, is home to the Green Bay Packers football team and nearby National Railroad Museum. Crime rates in Green Bay are close to the national average, and the city's cost-of-living index is 91.9—less than the U.S. average of 100. Serving the community, nearby West De Pere High School gets the area's highest ranking for high schools.

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#96. Jacksonville, Florida

- Population: 890,467
- Median home value: $173,200 (56% own)
- Median rent: $1,065 (44% rent)
- Median household income: $54,701

Jacksonville has plenty of room for children to run and play, with 80,000 acres of green space, 22 miles of beaches, and the country’s largest urban park system. The neighborhood of Orange Park is rural and wooded, and the Southside neighborhood has starter homes and good schools. The city is home to several of Florida’s top-ranked high schools.

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#95. Cedar Rapids, Iowa

- Population: 132,301
- Median home value: $141,800 (69% own)
- Median rent: $767 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $58,511

With nearly 70% of its residents owning their homes, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, makes the top 20 cities to buy a house in America. The community's crime rate is well below the national average for violent incidents, while property crimes are higher than average. Cedar Rapids boasts four of the top 20 high schools in the state of Iowa.

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#94. Indianapolis, Indiana

- Population: 864,447
- Median home value: $137,000 (53% own)
- Median rent: $892 (47% rent)
- Median household income: $47,873

As the capital of Indiana, Indianapolis is home to many family friendly attractions. The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is the world's largest, and White River State Park features a museum, zoo, waterways, trails, and more. Median home prices here top out at $174,900, while median rent is $936.

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#93. Corpus Christi, Texas

- Population: 325,780
- Median home value: $141,100 (57% own)
- Median rent: $1,028 (43% rent)
- Median household income: $56,333

In 2018, risk management company SmartAsset ranked this Texas town as the #3 best city to raise a family. Still holding steady now, the South Texas coastal city touts being one the best cities to buy a house in America while having some of the best public schools, according to Niche. Additionally, AreaVibes points out the cities cost of living index, which is 9% lower than the national average, making the already family-friendly city more financially appealing.

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#92. Dallas, Texas

- Population: 1,330,612
- Median home value: $188,100 (41% own)
- Median rent: $1,052 (59% rent)
- Median household income: $52,580

The North Texas metropolis of Dallas offers numerous family attractions, including the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden's family education programs and the popular Klyde Warren Park. The city claims the top two public schools in the state in the School of Science & Engineering and the School for the Talented & Gifted. Dallas is rated the 20th most diverse city in the country, though crime rates for violent and property crimes were well above the national average.

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#91. Wichita, Kansas

- Population: 389,877
- Median home value: $133,400 (59% own)
- Median rent: $809 (41% rent)
- Median household income: $52,620

Dennis the Menace lived in Wichita, the cartoon character’s creator Hank Ketcham said, and the city is still a great place to be a kid. The Exploration Place is a dynamic science museum, and The Alley Indoor Entertainment has 32 bowling lanes as well as Go-Kart race tracks, an arcade, and a high-tech virtual game attraction. Residents have good things to say about Wichita’s low cost of living, affordable housing, good schools, lack of traffic, and friendly neighbors.

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#90. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

- Population: 643,692
- Median home value: $158,500 (59% own)
- Median rent: $871 (41% rent)
- Median household income: $55,557

Known for its cowboy culture and surrounding oil wells, Oklahoma City serves as the state's capital. Its school district includes the state’s top three high schools, including the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, listed as the #1 high school out of the state's 438. Median home values here top $148,000, with rents at $819.

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#89. Nashville, Tennessee

- Population: 663,750
- Median home value: $239,000 (54% own)
- Median rent: $1,100 (46% rent)
- Median household income: $59,828

Nashville is ranked highly for its health care services and its affordable housing, and children can spread out in the city’s 90 parks and 75 miles of greenway paths. The city’s family-friendly neighborhoods include leafy Belmont Blvd., Sylvan Park, and the youthful 12 South area.

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#88. Metairie, Louisiana

- Population: 142,135
- Median home value: $236,900 (61% own)
- Median rent: $952 (39% rent)
- Median household income: $59,346

On the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain northwest of New Orleans, Metairie is in Jefferson Parish and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Besides drawing from the attractions available in New Orleans, families will find a selection of activities—including just relaxing—in the parish’s Lafreniere Park, with its hiking trails, boating, fishing, and tot-lots. Its top schools include Haynes Academy School for Advanced Studies, ranked as the fifth-best public high school in the state, with 99% of students showing at least a proficiency in both math and reading.

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#87. Reno, Nevada

- Population: 246,500
- Median home value: $335,000 (48% own)
- Median rent: $1,029 (52% rent)
- Median household income: $58,790

Packed with plenty of family events and attractions like the Animal Ark, and with the beautiful Lake Tahoe less than 40 miles from its doorstep, Reno is much more than a gambler's paradise. Its schools get high marks as well: Ranked the #1 school in Nevada, the Davidson Academy in Reno is structured to serve profoundly gifted middle and high school students, while Reno High School made the #6 rank for public high schools in the state.

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#86. Tulsa, Oklahoma

- Population: 402,324
- Median home value: $139,900 (51% own)
- Median rent: $829 (49% rent)
- Median household income: $47,650

Tulsa’s family-friendly arts and recreation comprises an area zoo, museum, a performing arts center, and a library, which hosted up to 176 community-wide events in 2019. With up to 135 parks and trails throughout the city, located along the Arkansas River, families have acres of land for year-round exercise and recreation. The former oil capital, renowned for its churches and architecture, comprises midtown neighborhoods, popular among young couples and families who seek city life with a suburban feel.

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#85. Lafayette, Louisiana

- Population: 126,666
- Median home value: $195,400 (57% own)
- Median rent: $890 (43% rent)
- Median household income: $51,264

Along the Vermillion River in Southwest Louisiana, the city of Lafayette is at the heart of Cajun and Creole country. Named the “Happiest City in America,” Lafayette features the Children’s Museum of Acadiana, which offers field trips and interactive exhibits. With a 96% proficiency rate for its students in math (98% in reading), the Early College Academy ranks as the best public high school in the Lafayette area.

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#84. Cincinnati, Ohio

- Population: 301,394
- Median home value: $138,000 (38% own)
- Median rent: $738 (62% rent)
- Median household income: $40,640

Home to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, the second-oldest zoo in the U.S., the city of Cincinnati is situated on the Ohio River and has a population of about 300,000. The city's cost-of-living index in 2019 was 88.7, well below the U.S. average of 100, but its crime rate is double the U.S. average.

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#83. Costa Mesa, California

- Population: 113,159
- Median home value: $749,400 (38% own)
- Median rent: $1,857 (62% rent)
- Median household income: $84,138

The Southern California community of Costa Mesa offers 28 parks, 20 public schools, and three libraries, as well as the OC Fair and Event Center—all within its 16 square miles. From here, residents find easy access to some of Southern California’s key attractions including beaches, Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. The benefits of the community’s offerings are offset somewhat by its high-six-figures median home prices.

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#82. Durham, North Carolina

- Population: 269,702
- Median home value: $224,100 (50% own)
- Median rent: $1,058 (50% rent)
- Median household income: $58,905

With a population of over 257,232, the city of Durham, North Carolina, is highly diverse, with an equal percentage of white and black residents, and 14% identifying as Hispanic or Latino. The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics ranks as the #4 best public high school in the country and #1 in the state. The crime rate in Durham is higher than the national average.

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#81. San Antonio, Texas

- Population: 1,508,083
- Median home value: $146,400 (54% own)
- Median rent: $992 (46% rent)
- Median household income: $52,455

San Antonio, in South-central Texas, is home to The Alamo Mission, where the legendary 1836 battle for Texas' independence from Mexico was fought. The city of 1.5 million is also home to The San Antonio River Walk, an urban waterway linking art, culture, history, recreation, restaurants, and much more in the heart of the city. Median home values and rents fall well below the national average.

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#80. Wilmington, North Carolina

- Population: 120,194
- Median home value: $246,400 (45% own)
- Median rent: $998 (55% rent)
- Median household income: $47,580

Wilmington gets high grades for its public schools, ranked #34 of 228 cities with the best public schools in America. The port city is the gateway to Cape Fear coast beaches, including the highly ranked Carolina Beach Boardwalk and kid-friendly North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Median home values are $246,000, with 45% of Wilmington’s residents owning their own home.

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#79. Colorado Springs, Colorado

- Population: 464,871
- Median home value: $269,800 (59% own)
- Median rent: $1,131 (41% rent)
- Median household income: $64,712

Families with youngsters in kindergarten through fifth grade might consider neighborhoods served by the Woodmen-Roberts Elementary School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The school in 2019 ranked better than 89.5% of elementary schools in the state. Clans of all ages can enjoy the city’s Garden of the Gods, which features towering red rock formations, or they can immerse themselves in history and nature through the city's cultural services.

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#78. Orlando, Florida

- Population: 280,832
- Median home value: $240,000 (35% own)
- Median rent: $1,196 (65% rent)
- Median household income: $51,757

A child's dream come true, the Orlando, Florida, area is home to legendary theme parks and museums including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Discovery Cove, Universal's Islands of Adventure, and Walt Disney World Resort. The city's school district features the Orlando Science Middle/High Charter School, ranked at the top of Orlando's best public high schools and #1 overall charter school in the state.

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#77. Glendale, California

- Population: 200,232
- Median home value: $769,900 (33% own)
- Median rent: $1,622 (67% rent)
- Median household income: $66,130

With its population pushing 200,000, Glendale, California, offers families a host of trails and a museum at Brand Park, and its Los Angeles County location means that innumerable family-friendly options, like Universal Studios Hollywood, are within reach. The city’s crime rate is exceptionally low, making it one of the safest in America, while it comes in at #11 for healthiest cities. But almost two-thirds of residents here rent, with median home prices nearing $770,000.

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#76. Lakewood, Colorado

- Population: 155,146
- Median home value: $364,800 (58% own)
- Median rent: $1,361 (42% rent)
- Median household income: $66,740

Outdoor life is a popular draw in Colorado, and Lakewood is no exception, with over 80 maintained parks helping to make the city the #46 healthiest in the nation. The D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School ranks as the #3 public high school in Colorado, with a 95% graduation rate among its 1,000 students. While the crime rate in Lakewood is slightly higher than average across most categories, so too is the median household income of $66,740.

You may also like: 50 best beach towns to live in

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#75. Columbia, South Carolina

- Population: 133,273
- Median home value: $181,100 (46% own)
- Median rent: $933 (54% rent)
- Median household income: $47,286

Median home values in South Carolina’s capital of Columbia reached $168,800 in 2019, with 55% of the city’s residents choosing to rent at an average of $878. Families can visit the 170-acre Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, home to over 2,000 animals and an aquarium reptile complex. The Lexington-Richland School District No. 5, serving about 17,000 students, gets the #1 ranking for education in the Columbia area.

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#74. Atlanta, Georgia

- Population: 488,800
- Median home value: $290,400 (44% own)
- Median rent: $1,153 (56% rent)
- Median household income: $59,948

Georgia’s capital and most populated city has more than 3,000 acres of parkland accompanied by up to 33 recreational centers filled with family-friendly opportunities. Niche rates Atlanta’s top three school districts, Buford City, Forsyth County, and Decatur City, with an overall grade of A+. USA Today reports how “history and art take center stage” in Atlanta’s museums, while great fun and education are found at the Georgia Aquarium, the largest marine exhibit in the U.S. Add in the affordable cost of living, and Atlanta gets more appealing.

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#73. Arlington, Texas

- Population: 395,477
- Median home value: $170,700 (55% own)
- Median rent: $1,055 (45% rent)
- Median household income: $60,571

Situated west of Dallas, Arlington is home to the University of Texas at Arlington. Discovery and educational experiences abound at River Legacy Parks, a natural urban hardwood forest home to 400 species of wildlife, and the River Legacy Living Science Center, featuring interactive exhibits and technology. Median home values and rent are below the national averages. Arlington ranks #11 of 228 most diverse cities in America.

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#72. San Jose, California

- Population: 1,027,690
- Median home value: $864,600 (57% own)
- Median rent: $2,107 (43% rent)
- Median household income: $109,593

The Bay Area California City of San Jose is considered one of the most diverse communities in the nation. Considered the hub of the region's Silicon Valley, San Jose also has one of the highest costs of living in the country, with median household incomes in the triple digits and significantly higher than the national average. The median home value is upwards of $800,000, also way over the national average. With more than 31,000 students, San Jose’s school district is home to many highly regarded elementary and high schools.

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#71. Clarksville, Tennessee

- Population: 152,934
- Median home value: $154,300 (53% own)
- Median rent: $961 (47% rent)
- Median household income: $53,604

The north Tennessee city of Clarksville in Montgomery County garners high grades for its public education, with Hazelwood Elementary School leading the pack. Families can share interactive experiences at the Custom House Museum and Cultural Center, home to one of the largest model railroad layouts in the region.

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#70. Jersey City, New Jersey

- Population: 261,940
- Median home value: $373,700 (29% own)
- Median rent: $1,401 (71% rent)
- Median household income: $70,752

Jersey City is home to young families who can take advantage of its proximity to all that New York City has to offer, at a fraction of the costs. The northeastern New Jersey city has plenty of daycare centers as well as independent, public, and charter schools, and there are plentiful playgrounds, tennis courts, spray pads, splash parks, swimming pools, a running track and an outdoor skating rink for year-round fun.

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#69. Houston, Texas

- Population: 2,310,432
- Median home value: $171,800 (42% own)
- Median rent: $1,041 (58% rent)
- Median household income: $52,338

Known for the NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston extends into Galveston Bay in Texas. Space Center Houston is among the nation's leading science education resources. Carnegie Vanguard High School ranks #5 in the state, one of a dozen high schools in the area to receive an A+ grade. The city of 2.2 million ranks #18 nationally for its ethnic and economic diversity.

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#68. Temecula, California

- Population: 113,381
- Median home value: $444,800 (65% own)
- Median rent: $1,856 (35% rent)
- Median household income: $96,183

The Southern California city of Temecula ranks as #26 in cities with the best public schools in America. Great Oak High School is the second best in Riverside County with a 97% average graduation rate. Kids get a hands-on feel for science while they play at the Temecula Children's Museum Pennypickle's Workshop. The city's crime rate comes in well below the national average in all categories.

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#67. Roseville, California

- Population: 135,637
- Median home value: $444,400 (66% own)
- Median rent: $1,604 (34% rent)
- Median household income: $89,082

Roseville, California, is part of the metropolitan area around the state capital of Sacramento. Almost two-thirds of its residents own their homes, with the median price in Roseville at $440,000, while rent exceeds $1,600. Granite Bay High School leads Placer County as its best public high school, with an average graduation rate of 96%.

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#66. Grand Rapids, Michigan

- Population: 198,401
- Median home value: $143,400 (55% own)
- Median rent: $925 (45% rent)
- Median household income: $50,103

Grand Rapids, east of Lake Michigan on the Grand River in Michigan, is served by Northern High School, ranked #1 best public high school in the area and #13 overall public high school in Michigan. The Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, which bills itself as one of the nation's premier horticultural display gardens and sculpture parks, also offers fun, adventure, and education for families. The Grand Rapids Public Museum features a high-tech planetarium.

You may also like: Best county to raise a family in every state

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#65. Pasadena, California

- Population: 141,258
- Median home value: $785,700 (42% own)
- Median rent: $1,710 (58% rent)
- Median household income: $83,068

Home to the Rose Bowl and the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena offers a wide range of educational, artistic, historical, and garden experiences for families to share. It ranked #8 in 2020 of the healthiest cities in the United States and places to live in America. But its amenities and come with a hefty price tag: The city's median home value pushes $785,000, and median rent is $1,710.

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#64. Lubbock, Texas

- Population: 253,851
- Median home value: $140,800 (51% own)
- Median rent: $955 (49% rent)
- Median household income: $50,453

Rise Academy, a public charter kindergarten-grade eight school in the northwest Texas City of Lubbock, earned the best standout elementary school in the area. History also thrives in Lubbock, at the National Ranching Heritage Center with its museum and outdoor park, and science takes center stage at the Science Spectrum and Omni Theater, which features over 250 hands-on interactive exhibits.

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#63. Palm Bay, Florida

- Population: 111,997
- Median home value: $155,200 (75% own)
- Median rent: $1,059 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $51,408

Seventy-five percent of Palm Bay's residents own their homes, which earns the Brevard County, Florida, community #8 among the best cities to buy a house in America. Nearby waterways offer families a myriad of experiences, including the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, a haven for sea turtles, and Castaways Point Park on the Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway. Two community junior/senior high schools—West Shore and Edgewood—get an A+ overall rating.

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#62. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

- Population: 302,205
- Median home value: $125,000 (47% own)
- Median rent: $958 (53% rent)
- Median household income: $48,711

Sports enthusiast families might consider Pittsburgh an ideal home base, with the Penguins and Steelers both winning numerous championships. The city sports a median home value of $125,000, putting it at #23 of 228 best cities to buy a house in America, and median rents of $958. The Pittsburgh Science & Technology Academy is the top high school in the city and ranks #6 among magnet schools in the state.

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#61. Salt Lake City, Utah

- Population: 197,756
- Median home value: $314,500 (48% own)
- Median rent: $985 (52% rent)
- Median household income: $60,676

Utah's capital city has a wealth of outdoor activities sure to please any family, which earns it the rank of #25 of 228 best cities for outdoor activities in America. The city's median home price is $314,500, with median rents at $985.

You may also like: Best places to raise a family in the West

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#60. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

- Population: 244,115
- Median home value: $147,900 (53% own)
- Median rent: $806 (47% rent)
- Median household income: $45,750

Home to Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, public schools earn high grades at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Foodies in the family will find the historic Moravian Culinary Trail, and the whole gang can explore the community's historic heirloom gardens and farmers' markets. Fans and athletes of virtually any sport can get their fill at the city's 59 sports venues.

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#59. St. Petersburg, Florida

- Population: 261,338
- Median home value: $205,000 (60% own)
- Median rent: $1,116 (40% rent)
- Median household income: $56,982

Florida is certainly not just for seniors, with St. Petersburg proving the Sunshine State is as family-friendly as ever at #59 out of 100. Its overall Niche grade of A promises an above-average public school system in an urban, suburban community made up of many young professionals. Additionally, St. Petersburg’s cost-of-living index comes in at 95, which comes in 5% lower than the national average, according to AreaVibes.

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#58. Greensboro, North Carolina

- Population: 291,303
- Median home value: $156,300 (50% own)
- Median rent: $877 (50% rent)
- Median household income: $48,964

The North Carolina city of Greensboro is served by The Early College at Guilford, ranked #7 in the Top 10 STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) schools in the country. Split evenly between homeowners and renters, Greensboro's residents see a median home value of $156,300 and median rent of $877. The Greensboro Science Center is an aquarium, museum, and zoo with numerous educational exhibits and interactive experiences.

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#57. Denton, Texas

- Population: 136,195
- Median home value: $218,800 (49% own)
- Median rent: $1,082 (51% rent)
- Median household income: $60,018

Denton, Texas, is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. The Argyle Independent School District ranks #13 in the state. The district's top school, Argyle High, boasts a 95% average graduation rate. Nearby Lake Lewisville is a recreational haven, featuring parks, marinas, camping and fishing.

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#56. Portland, Oregon

- Population: 645,291
- Median home value: $412,000 (53% own)
- Median rent: $1,248 (47% rent)
- Median household income: $71,005

Ranked as the #3 best city for outdoor activities in America, Portland, Oregon, is packed with family friendly attractions. The School of Science & Technology tops the list of Oregon’s best high schools, with a 90% graduation rate. About 77% of the city's more than 645,000 residents have some college education, with nearly 10% more bachelor's degrees than the national average.

You may also like: Best places to retire on the West Coast

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#55. Tallahassee, Florida

- Population: 191,279
- Median home value: $203,800 (40% own)
- Median rent: $1,023 (60% rent)
- Median household income: $45,734

The capital city of Florida, Tallahassee provides a host of opportunities for families to stay in shape, with over 100 miles of in-town biking trails, aerial obstacle courses, and canoe and paddle facilities among them. Leon High School, one of the most diverse in the city, is rated #2 of the best high schools in Tallahassee. The city is only safer than 4% of U.S. cities, however, with a crime rate of 49 per 1,000 residents, according to data reported from NeighborhoodScout.

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#54. Charleston, South Carolina

- Population: 135,257
- Median home value: $330,600 (56% own)
- Median rent: $1,257 (44% rent)
- Median household income: $68,438

The port city of Charleston, South Carolina, is alive with its historical roots. The first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.  Families with students in or about to enter high school might consider Academic Magnet High School, the second-best public high school in the state.

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#53. Kansas City, Missouri

- Population: 486,404
- Median home value: $154,600 (53% own)
- Median rent: $941 (47% rent)
- Median household income: $54,194

Kansas City, Missouri, features the world-class Kansas City Zoo and enjoys many educational opportunities. Of the city’s best schools, Park Hill South High School ranks #18 of 510 high schools in the state. Despite assault and murder rates that are several times higher than the national average, Kansas City still ranks in the top 40 in the U.S. for places to buy a house and for lowest cost of living.

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#52. Washington, D.C., District of Columbia

- Population: 692,683
- Median home value: $601,500 (42% own)
- Median rent: $1,541 (58% rent)
- Median household income: $86,420

Washington, D.C. offers an abundance of schools and libraries. Some of its most affordable neighborhoods for young families are Takoma Park, Catholic University Brookland, and Glover Park. Child care costs are high, but the District has offered free preschool to 3- and 4-year-olds since 2009. D.C. passed an extensive set of measures, the Birth-to-Three For All D.C Act, in 2018 that included investments in infant and toddler in health care services, subsidies for early childhood learning, and higher job standards and better pay for early childhood educators.

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#51. Boise, Idaho

- Population: 226,115
- Median home value: $253,400 (61% own)
- Median rent: $957 (39% rent)
- Median household income: $60,035

Follow the Boise River Greenbelt through the heart of the capital city of Idaho and neighboring communities for 25 miles of forested walking and bicycling trails, with access to downtown, Boise State University, and major parks. Boise Senior High School is ranked the best public high school in the state. The city's crime rate comes in below the national average for most violent and property crimes.

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#50. St. Paul, Minnesota

- Population: 304,547
- Median home value: $208,000 (50% own)
- Median rent: $968 (50% rent)
- Median household income: $57,876

The capital of Minnesota, St. Paul is home to Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, sure to please all in the family, as well as Fort Snelling State Park, with hiking and biking trails. The city's residents are about evenly split between homeowners and renters, with median home values and rent coming hovering around the national average. Two of its top schools are foreign-language immersion facilities for German and Mandarin.

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#49. Gainesville, Florida

- Population: 132,127
- Median home value: $161,900 (39% own)
- Median rent: $953 (61% rent)
- Median household income: $37,264

Nature and museums lead the family-friendly opportunities to share in the Gainesville area, with the Butterfly Rainforest, part of the Florida Museum of Natural History, at the top of the list. Eastside High School is listed as the #53 out of 656 public high schools in the state.

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#48. San Diego, California

- Population: 1,409,573
- Median home value: $602,600 (47% own)
- Median rent: $1,695 (53% rent)
- Median household income: $79,673

A full dose of culture, history, and museums, as well as the San Diego Zoo, await families at San Diego's Balboa Park. The Pacific Coast city ranks highly for diversity (#24 of 228) and public schools (#23 of 228). But its overall cost of living gets a D+, with median home values above $600,000, and rent nearly $1,700.

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#47. New York City, New York

- Population: 8,419,316
- Median home value: $606,000 (33% own)
- Median rent: $1,443 (67% rent)
- Median household income: $63,998

With an overall crime rate slightly below the national average in 2019, New York City also takes the #1 score for walkability in the nation, sure to please families that eschew driving. Stuyvesant High School in New York City ranks as the #6 best public high school in the nation. Despite the Big Apple’s high cost-of-living expenses, the city ranks in the top 10 nationally for diversity, outdoor activities, and best places for young professionals.

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#46. Boston, Massachusetts

- Population: 684,379
- Median home value: $532,700 (35% own)
- Median rent: $1,620 (65% rent)
- Median household income: $71,115

Boston is known for its colleges and universities, but it has an abundance of early childhood programs and preschools as well. For education and entertainment, there's the Boston Children's Museum, the Museum of Science, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, New England Aquarium, Franklin Park Zoo, and the Boston Ballet Children's Program.

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#45. Fargo, North Dakota

- Population: 121,889
- Median home value: $212,100 (44% own)
- Median rent: $823 (56% rent)
- Median household income: $55,551

The Red River Zoo, Plains Art Museum, and Fargo Air Museum are among the family friendly activities to enjoy in Fargo, North Dakota. Fargo Davies High School makes the grade as the best public high school in North Dakota, with a 97% average graduation rate.  

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#44. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

- Population: 177,117
- Median home value: $189,800 (61% own)
- Median rent: $827 (39% rent)
- Median household income: $59,912

The South Dakota city of Sioux Falls features Falls Park, through which the Big Sioux River runs, and family fun and education at the Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum. Sioux Falls ranked #23 for cities with the lowest cost of living in the nation.

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#43. Irving, Texas

- Population: 239,783
- Median home value: $177,500 (37% own)
- Median rent: $1,146 (63% rent)
- Median household income: $64,868

Situated just northwest of Dallas, Texas, Irving offers extensive aquatic programs among its parks and recreation. The city of ranks #12 of the 228 most diverse cities in America, and its crime rate comes in under the national average in most categories. Lake Grapevine offers a host of outdoor recreation opportunities for the whole family.

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#42. Tampa, Florida

- Population: 387,916
- Median home value: $238,900 (49% own)
- Median rent: $1,131 (51% rent)
- Median household income: $53,833

Nestled on the west coast of Florida near the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa is awash with activities for the entire family, including Busch Gardens with its rides and 12,000 animals. St. Petersburg Collegiate High School, listed as #18 among the best high schools in the state, leads the top schools in the area. Median home values here come in at about $238,900, with median rents around $1,100.

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#41. Burbank, California

- Population: 103,703
- Median home value: $730,100 (42% own)
- Median rent: $1,692 (58% rent)
- Median household income: $75,827

The Los Angeles County city of Burbank, near Hollywood, is home to famed movie and TV studios like Warner Bros. It also holds the distinction of ranking #14 healthiest place to live in America and #15 for best public schools in America. Living here can dent the family wallet, however, with median home values at $730,000 and rent at nearly $1,700.

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#40. Stamford, Connecticut

- Population: 129,309
- Median home value: $532,700 (52% own)
- Median rent: $1,812 (48% rent)
- Median household income: $93,059

Stamford is centrally located to more than 332 miles of beach access on the Long Island Sound in Connecticut. The city of about 128,000 features the Stamford Museum and Nature Center with family-oriented classes, exhibits, and special events. The crime rate in Stamford is generally much lower than the U.S. average. But with median rent prices of $1,812 and rising home values at $532,000, housing costs can take a big chunk out of the family budget in Stamford.

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#39. Murfreesboro, Tennessee

- Population: 136,366
- Median home value: $238,000 (52% own)
- Median rent: $1,052 (48% rent)
- Median household income: $62,003

Ripe with American Civil War history, Murfreesboro is home to the Stones River National Battlefield and Oaklands Mansion, where families can explore the area’s evolution over the centuries. The community ranks as the #5 most diverse suburb in the state.

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#38. Charlotte, North Carolina

- Population: 857,425
- Median home value: $220,300 (53% own)
- Median rent: $1,135 (47% rent)
- Median household income: $62,817

Charlotte, North Carolina, provides families with diverse interactive opportunities like hands-on science displays at Discovery Place, the Levine Museum of the New South, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Its many top schools include Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy, listed as the state's best public elementary school. The city of more than 800,000 gets an A+ for its ethnic and economic diversity.

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#37. Minneapolis, Minnesota

- Population: 420,324
- Median home value: $251,600 (47% own)
- Median rent: $1,027 (53% rent)
- Median household income: $62,583

Minneapolis, twin city to the Minnesota capital of St. Paul, is bisected by the Mississippi River. Minneapolis is home to many parks and lakes, the Walker Art Center, and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Its crime rate is well above the national average in many categories. Its vibrant communities and good job prospects earn it the #8 spot out of 228 cities for young professionals.

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#36. Scottsdale, Arizona

- Population: 250,602
- Median home value: $475,300 (66% own)
- Median rent: $1,365 (34% rent)
- Median household income: $88,213

East of Arizona's capital, Scottsdale is a desert city home to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, with 180 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, among its recreational offerings. With median home values far exceeding the national average, 66% of the city's 250,000 residents own their homes. It offers three of the top 20 high schools in the state, including BASIS Scottsdale, the best public high school in the state and the top charter high school in the nation.

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#35. Lexington, Kentucky

- Population: 320,601
- Median home value: $189,800 (54% own)
- Median rent: $896 (46% rent)
- Median household income: $57,291

Lexington, Kentucky, is ranked #13 of the best cities to buy a house in America. The city sees median home values and rent below the national average, with crime rates slightly above the national average in several categories. Dubbed "The Horse Capital of the World," this is the place for folks enamored with thoroughbred racing and other equine sports.

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#34. Fort Collins, Colorado

- Population: 165,609
- Median home value: $367,900 (53% own)
- Median rent: $1,346 (47% rent)
- Median household income: $65,866

Northern Colorado's Fort Collins offers a historic downtown, and its namesake Museum of Discovery, with interactive science, history, and nature exhibits. Its schools rank #24 of 228 in America, with Fossil Ridge High School ranked #25 out of 430 in the state. Although more than half of Fort Collins’ residents own their homes, median home values here are $150,000 above the national average.

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#33. Austin, Texas

- Population: 950,807
- Median home value: $337,400 (45% own)
- Median rent: $1,280 (55% rent)
- Median household income: $71,576

The state capital of Texas, Austin is home to the University of Texas and is famous for its live music scene. It also earns high marks for its public school system, with its Liberal Arts and Science Academy graded as the best publich high school and college prep public high school in Texas. It boasts a 99% average graduation rate. Austin also gets top ranking for its racial diversity.

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#32. Huntsville, Alabama

- Population: 196,219
- Median home value: $182,900 (57% own)
- Median rent: $827 (43% rent)
- Median household income: $55,305

Huntsville, Alabama, is home to the interactive U.S. Space and Rocket Center and the Huntsville Botanical Garden with its many family oriented exhibits and events. Its New Century Technology High School was ranked #2 for best magnet high schools in Alabama. The city's crime rate is significantly higher than the national average, but Huntsville still ranks as the 9th-best in the country for buying a house.

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#31. Lincoln, Nebraska

- Population: 283,839
- Median home value: $169,800 (57% own)
- Median rent: $852 (43% rent)
- Median household income: $57,746

The capital city of Nebraska, Lincoln, is ranked #10 of the best places to buy a house in America. Families can share a day with their youngsters at the Lincoln Children's Zoo, or visit Pioneers Park Nature Center, which offers hiking trails, a wildlife sanctuary, and environmental education center. Lincoln East High School comes in as the #3 high school in Nebraska, with a graduation rate of 93%. 

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#30. Virginia Beach, Virginia

- Population: 450,201
- Median home value: $280,800 (64% own)
- Median rent: $1,367 (36% rent)
- Median household income: $76,610

The Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia Beach, home of the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center featuring coastal habitats from around the world. The city’s public schools are ranked the #32 in the nation, and crime here is well below the national average.

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#29. Thousand Oaks, California

- Population: 127,873
- Median home value: $726,100 (70% own)
- Median rent: $2,101 (30% rent)
- Median household income: $109,378

The Southern California City of Thousand Oaks is listed as the nation's #9 city with the best public schools. Although a 2018 mass shooting knocked Thousand Oaks from the #3 spot on the safest cities in America list, the city sports a crime rate well below the national average, but its housing costs are well above it: Home values here come in at $726,100, and the average median rent is more than $2,000. Families can hike, ride horseback, camp and more at Wildwood Park, and marvel at the beauty of the Gardens of the World, with its waterfalls and koi pond.

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#28. Omaha, Nebraska

- Population: 475,862
- Median home value: $159,700 (59% own)
- Median rent: $923 (41% rent)
- Median household income: $60,092

On the Missouri River near the Iowa border, Omaha, Nebraska, offers unique family experiences at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and Heartland of America Park. This city ranks #19 of the best cities to buy a house in America, with median home values set at $159,700. Omaha boasts the state's top two high schools, top five elementary schools, and three of the top five middle schools in Nebraska.

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#27. Sandy Springs, Georgia

- Population: 107,072
- Median home value: $471,800 (48% own)
- Median rent: $1,327 (52% rent)
- Median household income: $78,613

Home to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Sandy Springs, Georgia, is part of the Atlanta metropolitan area. The city of 107,000 comes in at #12 of the 228 healthiest places to live in America. Real estate can be pricey here, with median home values topping $470,000 and rents exceeding $1,300. Sandy Springs earns top marks for diversity, and more than 80% of its residents have at least some college experience.

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#26. San Francisco, California

- Population: 874,961
- Median home value: $1,097,800 (38% own)
- Median rent: $1,895 (62% rent)
- Median household income: $112,449

San Francisco ranks #3 for healthiest cities in America. With iconic attractions, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, and Alcatraz Island, the city has something for virtually anyone in any family. But there's one major drawback: It's the third-most expensive city in the nation, after New York City and Honolulu. 

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#25. College Station, Texas

- Population: 113,686
- Median home value: $241,600 (38% own)
- Median rent: $983 (62% rent)
- Median household income: $45,820

Texas A&M University's main campus is set in College Station, where more than 80% of residents have at least some college experience. The George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Center offers educational and research opportunities. The city ranks #12 for best public schools in America.

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#24. Rochester, Minnesota

- Population: 115,557
- Median home value: $200,100 (68% own)
- Median rent: $974 (32% rent)
- Median household income: $73,106

Prospective homeowners thinking of moving their families to Rochester, Minnesota, will be pleased to hear it ranks as the third-best city to buy a house in America. With a median home value of $200,100, home ownership is preferred by nearly 70% of the city's residents. Century Senior High School is a top school in the area, and #26 for best college prep public high schools in the state, out of 377. The Mayo Clinic is one of the area’s biggest employers.

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#23. Columbia, Missouri

- Population: 121,230
- Median home value: $191,800 (47% own)
- Median rent: $887 (53% rent)
- Median household income: $51,276

Median home values in Missouri’s fourth largest-city are below the national average, while renting is considerably lower than average, prompting 53% to rent. Rock Bridge Senior High School, which serves nearly 2,000 students, is the #9 public high school in the state. Columbia’s crime rate is lower than the national average in most categories.

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#22. Alexandria, Virginia

- Population: 157,613
- Median home value: $572,900 (43% own)
- Median rent: $1,747 (57% rent)
- Median household income: $100,939

American history buffs probably couldn't ask for more than what historic Alexandria, Virginia, offers. Just eight miles south of the nation's capital, the city is home to Gadsby's Tavern Museum, the restored 1700s gathering place for the nation's founding fathers including Washington, Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, and others. Nearby Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is the top high school in the U.S. About 80% of residents have some level of college education, and its ethnic and economic diversity earns it an A+ grade. Its crime rate comes in below the national average, with violent crimes about one-third the average.

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#21. Santa Clara, California

- Population: 127,721
- Median home value: $1,034,000 (43% own)
- Median rent: $2,396 (57% rent)
- Median household income: $126,006

Near San Jose in California's Silicon Valley, Santa Clara is home to many technology companies including Intel, home of the Intel Museum, a wealth of information about decades of innovation. Family fun abounds at California's Great America park, as well. Nearby Cupertino High School is ranked the #22 best college prep high school in California out of 1,394. Be prepared to shell out big money to live here: The median home value currently sits at a whopping $1 million, and the median rent is nearly $2,400.

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#20. Torrance, California

- Population: 145,492
- Median home value: $762,700 (56% own)
- Median rent: $1,736 (44% rent)
- Median household income: $93,492

Multiple high schools serving Torrance, California, get top grades, pushing the city to #11 in the national rankings for best public schools. High Tech Los Angeles ranks as the #9 best charter high school in the state. Families can take in the beauty of the South Coast Botanic Garden and practice their favorite sports at Charles H. Wilson Park. Torrance also ranks #4 for the healthiest places to live in America.

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#19. Seattle, Washington

- Population: 724,305
- Median home value: $663,100 (46% own)
- Median rent: $1,614 (54% rent)
- Median household income: $92,263

With its iconic Space Needle and Puget Sound setting of water, forests and thousands of acres of parks, Seattle ranks #1 nationally for best outdoor activities and #5 among the country’s healthiest cities. Families can find virtually any activity along the Sound, from kayaking to birding, bicycling to diving, whale watching to touring, and more. Seattle is home to several of the top 20 high schools in the state. Washington's largest city is home to Microsoft and Amazon.

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#18. Round Rock, Texas

- Population: 124,434
- Median home value: $244,300 (60% own)
- Median rent: $1,316 (40% rent)
- Median household income: $82,676

Crime in Round Rock, Texas, is well below the national average, helping make it the #14 best city in America to buy a house. Families can enjoy Old Settlers Park, with recreational activities and six complexes for sports, and Play for All Park, which is designed to accommodate special-needs kids. The community is served by Round Rock High School, which boasts a 99% graduation rate among its 3,200 students. About 60% of the city's residents own their homes, which have a median value of $244,300.

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#17. Carlsbad, California

- Population: 114,253
- Median home value: $814,700 (65% own)
- Median rent: $2,025 (35% rent)
- Median household income: $110,478

The coastal community of Carlsbad, near San Diego, features several family friendly attractions, from Legoland and its Sea Life Aquarium to South Carlsbad State Beach. The Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park is home to free-roaming peacocks. The schools serving the community earned it the #4 spot on the list of best public schools in America, and its Canyon Crest Academy is considered #1 best public high school in California. The city's crime rate comes in well below the national average.

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#16. Boulder, Colorado

- Population: 106,392
- Median home value: $700,000 (48% own)
- Median rent: $1,554 (52% rent)
- Median household income: $69,520

At the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder features many outdoor activities to make the most of its natural gifts. Eldorado Canyon State Park offers hiking among towering sandstone cliffs and scenic South Boulder Creek. Rated the #14 city with the best public schools in the nation, the Boulder area is served by 16 schools with at least an A grade. The city's median income tops $69,000, and about 90% of its residents have at least some level of college education.

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#15. Madison, Wisconsin

- Population: 254,977
- Median home value: $246,300 (47% own)
- Median rent: $1,118 (53% rent)
- Median household income: $65,332

The capital city of Wisconsin, Madison's Middleton High School is rated the best public high school in the state and the second best for science, technology, engineering, and math in the state. The University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum offers walking paths and jogging tracks for all, with numerous educational opportunities in its garden settings. Families will also enjoy Henry Vilas Zoo and the Wisconsin Historical Museum.

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#14. Sunnyvale, California

- Population: 152,770
- Median home value: $1,223,600 (45% own)
- Median rent: $2,508 (55% rent)
- Median household income: $140,631

A major Silicon Valley community in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sunnyvale comes in at #16 for best cities to live, #16 for public schools, and #17 in the nation for healthiest cities. But Sunnyvale's cost of living is much higher than the national average, with median home costs at a prohibitive $1.2 million and rent at $2,500, which is more than $1,000 higher than the national average. Baylands Park, on San Francisco Bay, features biking, hiking and nature trails, with access to the San Francisco Bay Trail, connecting 500 miles of shoreline trails.

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#13. Richardson, Texas

- Population: 116,432
- Median home value: $274,200 (59% own)
- Median rent: $1,403 (41% rent)
- Median household income: $85,678

Residents of Richardson, Texas, enjoy a blend of racial diversity. The city is a suburb of Dallas, with median household incomes exceeding $85,000. It ranks #7 among best cities to buy a house #19 among cities with the country’s best schools. For a family day of outdoor activities Prairie Creek Park offers creeks, waterfalls, trails, and picnic sites.

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#12. Raleigh, North Carolina

- Population: 464,485
- Median home value: $248,300 (52% own)
- Median rent: $1,121 (48% rent)
- Median household income: $67,266

Raleigh, the capital city of North Carolina, is part of the “Research Triangle,” along with Chapel Hill and Durham, named for the number of technology and scholarly institutions in the area. The family friendly North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences features living collections among its extensive exhibits. This city of about 464,000 ranks #17 on the list of best cities to buy a home. It's also home to several of the top 10 public high schools in the state, with Raleigh Charter High School at the top.

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#11. Berkeley, California

- Population: 121,485
- Median home value: $1,004,900 (43% own)
- Median rent: $1,722 (57% rent)
- Median household income: $85,530

Berkeley is home to the University of California, Berkeley campus. Homes here come dear, with median values just above $1 million and the median rent at $1,700. Visit the 34-acre UC Botanical Garden, one of the most diverse landscapes in the world. Median household incomes here top $85,000, with 90% of residents having some level of college and 40% of them holding a master's degrees or higher. Niche ranks Berkeley as both the healthiest city in the entire U.S. and the healthiest place to live in America, period.

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#10. Cambridge, Massachusetts

- Population: 116,632
- Median home value: $768,300 (35% own)
- Median rent: $2,221 (65% rent)
- Median household income: $103,154

Home to some of the best schools in the world, Cambridge, Massachusetts, ranks as the #9 best city for outdoor activities in the country, and wins the #1 spot for young professionals. The Charles River offers bike paths, numerous parks and recreational opportunities. About 88% of the city's residents have some college experience, with 50% holding a master's degree or higher. Cambridge Rindge and Latin School ranks #7 of the most diverse public high schools in the state.

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#9. Irvine, California

- Population: 273,157
- Median home value: $838,000 (47% own)
- Median rent: $2,361 (53% rent)
- Median household income: $105,126

The Orange County city of Irvine is the second-healthiest place to live in the country and boasts the nation’s fifth-best public schools. Such lofty rankings have a lofty price, however, with median home values here topping $800,000. Among its best schools, the Orange County School of the Arts is the best charter high school in the state. Families can enjoy a day of fun at Orange County Great Park, or visit Pretend City Children's Museum.

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#8. Plano, Texas

- Population: 287,064
- Median home value: $320,100 (59% own)
- Median rent: $1,418 (41% rent)
- Median household income: $95,602

Less than a half-hour drive from the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, Plano is rated as the fourth-best spot in the nation to buy a house. Ranking at #8 nationally among cities with the best public schools in the U.S., Frisco’s Liberty High School ranks #14 out of Texas’ 1,729 public high schools, boasting a 97% graduation rate. About 59% of residents here own their homes, which have a median value of $320,100. Families will enjoy the Heritage Farmstead Museum, a living history site.

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#7. Ann Arbor, Michigan

- Population: 120,735
- Median home value: $323,400 (45% own)
- Median rent: $1,237 (55% rent)
- Median household income: $65,745

Ranked the #6 best city to live in America by Niche's calculations, Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan and its Museum of Natural History. Families visiting the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum can immerse themselves in discovery with a scientific bent. Ann Arbor also takes the #2 spot for cities with the best public schools in the nation. Median home values are just over $323,000, with a median household income registering at $65,745.

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City of Overland Park // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Overland Park, Kansas

- Population: 191,011
- Median home value: $276,100 (63% own)
- Median rent: $1,164 (37% rent)
- Median household income: $86,487

A suburb of Kansas City, Missouri, Overland Park in Kansas is the #33 best city to buy a house in America, with 53% of residents opting to own. Blue Valley North High School is rated the best public high school in the state, with the community featuring the top four high schools in Kansas. Families can check out Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, with its trails, 13 gardens, wildlife, and educational activities.

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#5. Columbia, Maryland

- Population: 103,991
- Median home value: $378,300 (65% own)
- Median rent: $1,722 (35% rent)
- Median household income: $108,352

Columbia, Maryland, is centrally located less than 40 miles from Baltimore, Annapolis, and Washington D.C. Columbia contains the top four middle schools in the state. About 65%of the residents own their homes thanks to a median household income nearly twice the national average.

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#4. Bellevue, Washington

- Population: 144,403
- Median home value: $809,200 (54% own)
- Median rent: $1,947 (46% rent)
- Median household income: $120,456

Across Lake Washington from Seattle, Bellevue is the third-best city for public schools in the country, led by Interlake Senior High School, ranked #3 best public high school in the state. It's one of 14 schools serving the Bellevue area to receive an A+ grade. The lake is a popular fishing area for enthusiasts of all levels. Airplane and spacecraft buffs will enjoy a family visit to The Museum of Flight.

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#3. Arlington, Virginia

- Population: 233,464
- Median home value: $705,400 (43% own)
- Median rent: $1,970 (57% rent)
- Median household income: $120,071

Located just across the Potomac River from Washington D.C., Arlington, Virginia, was rated the #2 city to live in America by Niche's metrics, thanks to high marks for schools and overall health. The city is host to several historic sites, including Arlington National Cemetery, which is home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and President John F. Kennedy’s grave. Median home values are more than three times the national average, prompting 57% of the city’s 229,534 residents to rent. Median rent is also above the national average, coming in at $1,970.

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#2. The Woodlands, Texas

- Population: 113,819
- Median home value: $374,200 (71% own)
- Median rent: $1,566 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $122,634

Besides taking second place in this compilation, The Woodlands, Texas ranks #2 of the best cities to buy a house and #6 of the cities with the best public schools in America. The George Mitchell Preserve is a large, forested nature preserve with hiking, bike trails and a lake, and The Woodlands Children's Museum features interactive exhibits and play designed for the little ones. Considered one of the top master-planned communities in the nation, the median home value here is $374,200.

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#1. Naperville, Illinois

- Population: 147,501
- Median home value: $416,700 (76% own)
- Median rent: $1,516 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $125,926

Topping the list of best cities to raise a family in America, Naperville, Illinois, is also at the top of the list of cities with the best public schools in America. Crime here is far below the national average in every measured category. Neuqua Valley High School ranks #15 of 700 public high schools in the state, with an average graduation rate of 98%. This western suburb of Chicago has a median household income of more than $125,000. Nearby Naper Settlement offers families a host of programs, from camps to geocaching, kids' programs, and more. Naperville Riverwalk, a recreation area along the DuPage River, features fountains, covered bridges, and an amphitheater.

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