At Apartment List, our goal is to help you find a home. That’s why we dug into the data last month to identify the 100 Best Cities for Families nationwide, and that’s why we’re following it up now with a look at the top five cities in Colorado.
We used the same methodology as the national list. Our analysis centered on four factors that our research has identified as the most important to families:
Safety (35%): We ranked cities by the number of violent crimes and property crimes per 100,000 residents. Source: FBI statistics.
Housing Cost (30%): To rank cities on housing cost, we calculated the percentage of the average income required to rent the average 2 bedroom apartment. Sources: Apartment List, American Community Survey
School Quality (25%): Cities were ranked on high school graduation rate for public school districts based in that city. Comparing schools across different states can be challenging, but high school graduation rate gives a good estimate of overall school quality. Source: Department of Education data.
Child Friendliness (10%): Communities with a greater percentage of children tend to be more child friendly, so we scored cities based on the percentage of the population that’s under 18. Source: American Community Survey
One city in the Rocky Mountain State will be familiar, since it finished in the top five on our national ranking of family-friendly cities. Here’s a closer look at Colorado’s best cities for families:
- Castle Rock: This picturesque town high in the Rocky Mountains, south of Denver, ranked No. 1 in Colorado and No. 4 on our national list of family-friendly cities. Nearly a third of the town’s 53,063 residents are under 18., and nearly all of them go on to graduate from high school, as actress Amy Adams did when she was raised here. Crime rates remain very low. While rent is a bit pricey, with a 2 bedroom averaging 29% above the national going rate. Household incomes are also high here, though, with many Castle Rock residents commuting to work in the Denver Tech Center.
- Loveland: Colorado’s No. 2 city for families is much claimed the No. 90 spot on our national list. This northern Colorado city earned points for affordability, with rents averaging less than $100 a month over national prices. There are a smaller percentage of children here, while school quality and safety remain solid. Loveland also boasts a large community of artists, and people from all over the world send their Valentines here to have them stamped with a custom verse and the city’s romantic name.
- Longmont: Named for its views of nearby Longs Peak, this mountain city tied Loveland for affordability. And Longmont actually scored higher for safety and kid friendliness, with a slightly lower crime rate and slightly higher percentage of children than its neighbor to the north. The city of nearly 90,000 fell a bit short when it came to school quality, however, with a lower percentage of students graduating from high school here.
- Fort Collins: The fourth largest city in Colorado, Fort Collins also ranks as the 4th best city for families. This city in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains is considered part of the same metropolitan area as Loveland, and has similar rankings across most categories. However, it’s also a college town, home to Colorado State University, and has a correspondingly lower percentage of children. Crime rates are also a bit higher crime rate. Even so, its Old Town area has an unusual claim to fame as it helped inspire Main Street in the Disneyland theme parks.
- Thornton: This Denver suburb beat Fort Collins when it came to safety, affordability and kid friendliness. Rent for a 2 bedroom averages $1,210 here, or about 22% of the area’s median income, and 30% of the fast-growing city’s 127,359 residents are under 18. However, Thornton’s lower high school graduation rates pushed it to 5th place on the Colorado list.
The full list for Colorado can be found below. Be sure to subscribe to Rentonomics to get future updates!
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