The Arizona cities of Gilbert and Scottsdale are among the top ten places to raise a family. That's according to the latest report by financial website Wallethub.
Other Arizona cities that placed were Chandler in the 17th spot; Peoria at 27th; Tempe was 82nd; and Mesa at 92nd. In total, 182 cities ranked.
"Both Gilbert and Scottsdale are some of the best places to raise a family, as they have quality school systems and very low violent crime rates," WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez said. "They are also some of the most affordable cities to live in.”
WalletHub analysts used 47 input points covering “...essential family dynamics, the cost of housing, the quality of local school and health-care systems, and the opportunities for fun and recreation.”
Scottsdale tied for first in the nation for the city with the highest median family salary. One of the cities it tied with was Chandler. Gilbert finished second among all cities with the lowest violent crime rate per capita.
Interestingly, Scottsdale and Gilbert were on opposite sides of the spectrum when it came to the make-up of respective families. Gilbert was among the cities with the highest percentage of families with young kids while Scottsdale was among the lowest in that same category.
Even though it fared well in other categories, Gilbert’s rating was dinged for being among the cities with the fewest number of playgrounds per capitia.
Nicholas P. Dempsey, associate professor of Sociology at Eckerd College, said that when it comes to attracting families, there is one primary area that a city official should focus on.
“Schools are generally the No 1 consideration for parents with or expecting to have school-age children," Dempsey said. "Everything else is a sort of distant second, but officials can also consider child-friendly amenities like playgrounds and parks, amenities for teens like skate parks or movie theaters, and attracting businesses that appeal to families with children.”
Marni Alyson Brown, associate professor of Sociology at Georgia Gwinnett College, saidthere are five indicators of a good family city: the school system, public resources, opportunities for activities (art, parks, sports, food), and the traffic pattern (“...bike paths and public transportation can make a big difference”).
She said diversity also is important.
“It is important to be around a variety of different kinds of people, with various cultures and backgrounds," Brown said. "This can normalize difference and build empathy across lines of difference.
When it comes to Arizona’s top ten rankings, Gonzalez noted “...both cities (Gilbert and Scottsdale) have some of the largest shares of two parent families, over 80 percent, and some of the lowest percentages of families receiving food stamps, about 5 percent in Gilbert and less than 4 percent in Scottsdale."