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Best Cities Methodology

To determine the best cities for families, we culled statistics from the below sources, inputted the nearly 4,000 pieces of data for 100 cities into a database, ranked the cities on categories such as Education, Health, Community and Parenting Magazine's Culture & Charm Index, and then calculated our winners.

Education sources:

Blue Ribbon School per 100,000 people from the US Department of Education

Child/Staff Ratio for Daycare from the National Child Care Information and Technical Assistance Center

Cost of full-time care for an infant in a center, as percent of median income for married-couple families with children under 18 from the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies

Accredited day care centers per 100,000 people from the National Association for the Education of Young People

Freshman Graduation Rate from the National Center for Education Statistics

Proficiency in math and reading for grade 8 from the National Assessment of Educational Progress

Per Pupil Expenditures from the National Center for Education Statistics

Pupil/Teacher Ratio from the National Center for Education Statistics

Playgrounds per 10,000 people from the Trust for Public Land

Kaboom! Playful City USA playgrounds

Colleges per 100,000 people from the National Center for Education StatisticsHealth sources:

Children's hospitals per 100,000 people from the National Association of Children's Hospitals

Percentage who list health status as poor from the Census

Percentage who list health status as excellent from the Census

Percentage of bicycle fatalities that are under age 16 from the Alliance for Biking and Walking

Air Quality: Particle Pollution Annual Design Values from the American Lung Association

Air Quality: High Ozone Days average weight from the American Lung Association

Pediatricians per 100,000 people from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Pedestrian Danger Index from Transportation for America

Parkland acres per 1,000 people from the Trust for Public LandSafety sources:

Sex Offenders per 100,000 from Family Watchdog

Violent Crime Rate per 100,000 from the FBI

Economy sources:

Percent of labor force unemployed from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Property taxes as percent of home value from the Tax Foundation

Best Performing Cities Job Index from the Milken Institute

5-Year Home Value Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency

Median Home Sale Price from the National Association of Realtors

Travel time to work, in minutes from the Census

Children under 18 as percent of population from the CensusCulture sources:

Farmer's Markets per 100,000 people from the USDA National Farmer Market Directory

Co-op per 100,000 people from Local Harvest

Libraries per 100,000 people from the American Library Directory

Museums per 100,000 people from the American Association of Museums

Zoos & Aquariums per 100,000 people from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums

fDI American Cities of the Future Index

America's Promise Alliance Best Communities for Young People

 

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