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Best Cities for Families in California

By: Sania Tran
April 26, 2019

Great weather, beautiful landscapes, nice people and amazing food from all over the world make California a dream place to live. However, cities in the Golden State have their own unique characteristics.. Some places that are great for singles might not be as good for families. If you are about to embark on the exciting journey of parenthood, it will be useful to know which California cities are best for families. Sounds like a tough task? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In our recent study, we identified the most family-friendly cities in California.

We identified the following four factors as the most important to families, and ranked cities by weighing them:

Safety: We used FBI data on the number of violent crimes and property crimes per 100,000 to rank cities for safety.

Housing Cost: When it comes to housing affordability, we used Census data on median gross rent as a percentage of household income to rank cities.

School Quality: To compare cities in terms of quality of schools, we used data on high school graduation rates provided by the Department of Education.

Child Friendliness: We identified the percentage of children under the age of 19 as a factor determining the child-friendliness of its community.

Read on, and you will find out which 5 California cities are best for families.

1. San Ramon - A+

Located on the outskirts of the San Francisco Bay Area, San Ramon was ranked the #3 most family-friendly city in the nation. In fact, it’s the only city in California that made it to the top 10 among all US cities we analyzed. While it ranked well for all categories, it ranked first out of the top California cities for child-friendliness, safety, and high school graduation rates.

2. Folsom - A

Located in Sacramento County, Folsom is the most affordable out of the top 5 California cities. Additionally, it ranked well for safety. However, the high school graduation rate in Folsom is the lowest out of the top cities in the state.

3. Pleasanton - A-

A suburban town, located close to Silicon Valley, is great for raising a family. It boasts a great high school graduation rate and offers affordable rent prices to its residents. However, it ranked the worst out of the top California cities for the percentage of population under 19.

4. Irvine - A-

Irvine is a college town and its residents can feel safe there, as it ranked very high for safety. Its high school graduation rates make it great for raising children. However, do keep in mind that it costs a lot to live there. It ranked the lowest out of the Top 5 for affordability.  

5. Palo Alto - A-

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Palo Alto ranked high for high school graduation rate. Some might be surprised, but it also ranked well for affordability, which could be explained by high salary rates in the area. The city is home to many Facebook employees. However, the city ranked comparatively low for safety and child-friendliness.

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Sania is a content manager and contributing author at Apartment List. Sania previously worked in marketing at Habitat for Humanity and Samsung Electronics. Read More
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