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Best U.S. Cities for Children: Where Does Your City Rank?

The Short of It

If you're looking for a family-friendly place to raise your children, head (Mid)west. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, rated tops on a new ranking by

The Lowdown reviewed cities across the country, and chose 13 different factors that made a city family friendly—everything from graduation rates and scores on standardized tests to air quality and child poverty rates. Not surprisingly, seven of the top 10 were in the ultra-friendly Midwest. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, won by a large margin, thanks to its excellent schools and the fact that it had the fourth-lowest poverty rate in the country; Sioux Falls, South Dakota has a very low cost of living that helped it pull ahead of its competition. Only three Eastern cities in the mix. And as for big-wig states like California, Texas, and New York? None of those states' cities made the top 25.

Here's the top 10:

1. Cedar Rapids, Iowa

2. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

3. Des Moines, Iowa

4. Lincoln, Nebraska

5. Rochester, Minnesota

6. Norwich, Connecticut

7. Bridgeport, Connecticut

8. Fargo, North Dakota

9. Appleton, Wisconsin

10. York, Pennsylvania

The Upshot

While these rankings definitely give the towns at the top plenty of bragging rights, there's so much more that goes into the decision of where you'll live and what makes a city work for your family—great jobs, proximity to loved ones, climate, and cultural opportunities, to name a few. And since the nitty-gritty child-raising years are short compared to your whole adult life, other factors—like retiree friendliness—may be just as important to you. But I have to admit, I'm definitely intrigued by the fact that my husband's hometown made the top 10 (Go, York!)

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