Best Cities 2010: Ann Arbor, MI

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Best Cities 2010: Ann Arbor, MI

Home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor also has extremely low crime rates and very few sex offenders.

City: Ann Arbor 

State: Michigan

Best Cities Overall Rank: 4

About Ann Arbor: This smallish yet sophisticated city is home to the venerable University of Michigan, but it excels at educating children, too. Ann Arbor spends a whopping $17,140 per student on education (about $9,000 is average), which no doubt contributes to the 94 percent high school graduation rate. More than 64 percent of the residents of this brainy city also have four or more years of college under their belts. Other surveys have named Ann Arbor one of America’s greenest cities and one of the top walking cities.

What moms say: Kathy Owens, mom of 2-year-old Malakai, champions the sense of community and the fact that her family can live in the heart of the downtown and not have to worry about crime. “I also love the mix of college town and regular city,” Owens says.

What’s great for families: At the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, 250 interactive exhibits cover subjects like nature, health, and even math. And a special gallery for kids ages 4 and under lets little ones play at water tables and on the child-size fire engine.

County: Washtenaw

Population: 114,000

Official website for city visitors’ bureau: Visitor’s bureau website

Newspaper with the largest circulation: Ann Arbor News

Ann Arbor blogs:

Ann Arbor News: Parenting

Mother’s Kitchen

Ann Arbor Mom

Ann Arbor‘s Twitter page: Follow Ann Arbor on Twitter


Education rank: 56

High School graduation rate 2008: 94%

Blue Ribbon Schools, 2003-2009: 0

Blue Ribbon Schools per 100,000 people: 0

NEAYC-accredited preschools: 21

NAEYC schools per 100,000 people: 18.36

NAEP State proficiency reading, grade 8: 262

Pupil/Teacher Ratio: 17

Total Expenditures Per Student: $17,140


Health rank: 6

Quality children’s hospitals: 1

Hospitals per 100,000 people: 0.87

Quality Pediatricians: 0

Quality Pediatricians per 100,000: 0

Average number of Unhealthy Air Quality days between 2006-2008, by county: 0


Safety rank: 4

Violent Crimes, 2008: 295

Violent Crime Rate per 100,000: 257.9

Sex Offenders: 86

Sex Offenders per 100,000: 75.18


Economy rank: 65

Travel time to work, 2006-2008, in minutes: 18.4        

Percent of labor force unemployed, January 2010: 9.3      

Best Performing Cities Job Index: 1,573.94

Median Home Sale Price: $305,000                   

5-Year Home Value Index: 4.91%                        

Percent of homes sold for a loss: 45.45%      


Recreation Rank:  31

Parkland acreage, 2008 (includes pools and playgrounds): 2,095.05    

Parkland per 100,000: 1,831.56