CHARLOTTE, NC — Charlotte ranks 11th in America for best places to raise a family, apparently behind cities like Lubbock and Austin in Texas. The apartment-finding service Zumper ranked America’s largest cities earlier this month based on 10 key factors, including price per additional room, median household income, commute and even dropout rate.
North Carolina performed very well in the ranks, with Raleigh, Charlotte, Durham and Greensboro all cracking the top 20. Raleigh performed particularly well in monthly housing costs, high school dropout rate and median household income, while Charlotte excelled in its current unemployment rate.
Here’s a complete breakdown of North Carolina
Overall rank: 6 Price per additional room: 6.2 Percent of income spent on rent: 2.4 Monthly housing costs: 9.8 Median household income: 8.7 Current unemployment: 6.6 Child care costs: 5.6 Percent of population under 45: 8.6 High school dropout rate: 8.7 Average commute time: 6 Violent crime rate: 8.5 Score: 86.5
Overall rank: 11 Price per additional room: 8.5 Percent of income spent on rent: 1.7 Monthly housing costs: 7.8 Median household income: 8 Current unemployment: 8.9 Child care costs: 5.6 Percent of population under 45: 7.8 High school dropout rate: 7.9 Average commute time: 3.8 Violent crime rate: 5.1 Score: 79.2
Overall rank: 16 Price per additional room: 6.9 Percent of income spent on rent: 2.9 Monthly housing costs: 9.2 Median household income: 6.9 Current unemployment: 6.3 Child care costs: 5.6 Percent of population under 45: 7.8 High school dropout rate: 8.2 Average commute time: 6 Violent crime rate: 4 Score: 77.6
Overall rank: 18 Price per additional room: 9.2 Percent of income spent on rent: 4.3 Monthly housing costs: 6.2 Median household income: 3.3 Current unemployment: 8.4 Child care costs: 5.6 Percent of population under 45: 3.9 High school dropout rate: 7.3 Average commute time: 8.5 Violent crime rate: 6.1 Score: 76.4
Overall rank: 36 Price per additional room: 10 Percent of income spent on rent: 6.1 Monthly housing costs: 7.3 Median household income: 2.7 Current unemployment: 4.6 Child care costs: 5.6 Percent of population under 45: 3.1 High school dropout rate: 2.8 Average commute time: 8.5 Violent crime rate: 5.9 Score: 68.9
The study’s findings paint a better picture of the Tar Heel State than those in a recent WalletHub study that found that when it came to the best states for raising a baby, North Carolina was low on the list.
Perhaps the most surprising find in the Zumper study was that not one city in the Northeast even approached the top of the rankings. Syracuse, New York, ranked the highest of large cities in that region at 25. The authors noted that many cities in the Northeast have large populations of young people and were dragged down by higher spending on mortgages, long commutes, and high infant care costs.
The best place to raise a family is apparently Madison, Wisconsin, the state’s capital and home of the University of Wisconsin. The city has a lot to offer families, the study found, including the lowest dropout rate of any city in the rankings. Residents often have low commute times, about 19 minutes — take that, New Yorkers! — and about 69 percent of the population is under 45 years old. The unemployment rate currently sits at just over 2 percent.
"Thanks to a large population of younger adults, a strong local economy, and low crime high school dropout rates, Madison scored well above the other cities in our rankings," the authors wrote.
Here are the top 10 cities for raising a family:
Madison, WI Lincoln, NE Lexington, KY Boise, ID Tallahassee, FL Raleigh, NC Omaha, NE Des Moines, IA Austin, TX Lubbock, TX
Zumper, based in San Francisco, created the rankings by looking at the 100 cities in its monthly rent reports. That list was then narrowed down to 95 cities becasuse several either had incomplete data or overlapped with one another in the census data. The key factors in the rankings were each equally weighted and then normalized to determine a final score.
Click here to see the full rankings and methodology.
Patch Editor Daniel Hampton contributed to this report.
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