The 25 Best Places to Live for Families in the U.S. in 2022-2023

What are the best metro areas for families?

Moving to a new part of the country can be a daunting task, especially if you’re moving your entire family. To help you find the right metro area for raising your kids, we started with the Best Places to Live in the U.S. rankings for 2022-2023, then weighted affordability, quality of life and job market equally. These scores combine to make the Best Places to Live for Families, taking into consideration not only the cost of living and average annual salary, but also the quality of high school education, average commute time, crime rate, the area’s overall well-being and access to top-notch health care.

25. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Best Places 2022-2023: 35
Metro Population: 574,691
Metro Size: 1,621.8 square miles
Median Home Price: $298,830
Average Annual Salary: $52,700

The capital of Pennsylvania is much smaller than major Keystone State metro areas like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but its affordability and quality of life help to make it one of the 25 Best Places to Live for Families in the U.S. Harrisburg area residents spend just 22.01% of the local median household income on housing costs, including mortgage payments, rent, property taxes and utilities.

Learn more about Harrisburg.

24. Fort Wayne, Indiana

Best Places 2022-2023: 48
Metro Population: 409,419
Metro Size: 992.9 square miles
Median Home Price: $155,300
Average Annual Salary: $48,060

Fort Wayne ranks 12th out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. for its proximity to quality health care, based on data from the U.S. News Best Hospitals ranking. It also has the 23rd-shortest commute of the metro areas on the Best Places to Live list, with an average morning commute of just 21.8 minutes.

Learn more about Fort Wayne.

23. Syracuse, New York

Best Places 2022-2023: 38
Metro Population: 650,211
Metro Size: 2,384.9 square miles
Median Home Price: $194,758
Average Annual Salary: $54,890

Families looking to put down roots in upstate New York have a couple options on this list. Syracuse residents spend 21.82% of the median household income to cover housing costs, which makes the metro area one of the more affordable options in the Northeast. With an average morning commute of just 21.3 minutes, working parents also get to spend a bit more time at home than those in many other parts of the country.

Learn more about Syracuse.

22. Pittsburgh

Best Places 2022-2023: 26
Metro Population: 2,324,447
Metro Size: 5,282.9 square miles
Median Home Price: $222,479
Average Annual Salary: $54,300

At No. 26 on the overall Best Places to Live list, Pittsburgh is another metro area that is particularly attractive for families because of the low cost of living — residents need just 20.4% of the median household income for housing. Additionally, Pittsburgh’s rates of property crime, violent crime and murder are low — ranking No. 30 out of the 150 places on the list in that category.

Learn more about Pittsburgh.

21. Davenport-Bettendorf, Iowa, and Moline-Rock Island, Illinois (Quad Cities)

Best Places 2022-2023: 53
Metro Population: 380,274
Metro Size: 2,269.9 square miles
Median Home Value*: $155,551
Average Annual Salary: $50,160

This metro area straddling the state line between Iowa and Illinois — with the Mississippi River in between — offers affordability, access to quality health care and a short average commute. The Quad Cities metro area ranks 26th for its proximity to ranked health care facilities in Best Hospitals and second for its average morning commute of just 20 minutes.

Learn more about the Quad Cities.

(*The median home price was unavailable, so median home value is provided.)

20. Boulder, Colorado

Best Places 2022-2023: 4
Metro Population: 324,682
Metro Size: 726.4 square miles
Median Home Price: $528,833
Average Annual Salary: $70,450

Taking the No. 4 spot in the overall Best Places to Live ranking, Boulder is the 20th-best place to live for families in 2022-2023. Many residents of the Boulder area are employed in the aerospace and bioscience fields, contributing to a high average salary of $70,450. Boulder ranks second for college readiness among high school students, based on data from the U.S. News Best High Schools ranking. Boulder ranks ninth out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. on the Sharecare Community Well-Being Index.

Learn more about Boulder.

19. Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky

Best Places 2022-2023: 34
Metro Population: 514,273
Metro Size: 1,469.9 square miles
Median Home Value*: $257,454
Average Annual Salary: $48,150

Requiring just 21.98% of the area’s median household income to cover the cost of living, Lexington-Fayette is the 34th-most affordable place to live out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. High school students also benefit from being within the top 50 metro areas on the Best Places to Live list for college readiness.

Learn more about Lexington-Fayette.

(*The median home price was unavailable, so median home value is provided.)

18. Salt Lake City

Best Places 2022-2023: 23
Metro Population: 2,522,032
Metro Size: 7,684 square miles
Median Home Price: $552,793
Average Annual Salary: $52,094

Salt Lake City is known as a family-friendly metro area, and the median age of just 30.7 years shows how large of a role children and young people play in the makeup of the area. Additionally, Salt Lake City residents benefit from an average commute of just 22.8 minutes, much shorter than the national average of 26.9 minutes.

Learn more about Salt Lake City.

17. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina

Best Places 2022-2023: 6
Metro Population: 1,999,253
Metro Size: 4,660.9 square miles
Median Home Price: $436,760
Average Annual Salary: $59,174

Families living in the Raleigh and Durham metro area benefit from a high average annual salary of $59,174. The average morning commute time in the Raleigh and Durham area is 26.2 minutes. Residents can expect to spend 23.14% of the area’s median annual household income on housing expenses — higher than some metro areas on this list but still much less than other parts of the country.

Learn more about Raleigh and Durham.

16. Portland, Maine

Best Places 2022-2023: 8
Metro Population: 536,314
Metro Size: 2,081.4 square miles
Median Home Price: $310,300
Average Annual Salary: $55,790

In the Sharecare Community Well-Being Index, which surveys residents in metro areas across the U.S. about their sense of security, overall happiness and community pride, Portland ranked 27th out of the 150 metro areas on the Best Places to Live list. Portland also has consistently low rates of property crime, violent crime and murder, according to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Additionally, Portland’s average annual salary is just shy of the national average at $55,790.

Learn more about Portland.

15. Peoria, Illinois

Best Places 2022-2023: 50
Metro Population: 403,747
Metro Size: 3,333.3 square miles
Median Home Price: $126,000
Average Annual Salary: $54,330

Located in the center of the state along the Illinois River, Peoria may be on your radar more if you’re looking for a small Midwestern metro area to work in health care, agricultural tech or manufacturing. A big plus to living in Peoria is the low cost of living: Peoria is the ninth-most affordable place to live out of the 150 metro areas on the Best Places to Live list.

Learn more about Peoria.

14. Cincinnati

Best Places 2022-2023: 41
Metro Population: 2,214,265
Metro Size: 4,546.4 square miles
Median Home Price: $345,739
Average Annual Salary: $53,650

The cost of living in Cincinnati requires just 21.61% of the median annual household income, which helps families and individuals keep more money for basic needs and discretionary spending. Looking at quality of life data, Cincinnati scores best for its low rates of property crime, violent crime and murder, according to FBI data. In fact, Cincinnati ranks above 104 other metro areas on the Best Places to Live list in this category.

Learn more about Cincinnati.

13. Albany, New York

Best Places 2022-2023: 21
Metro Population: 880,766
Metro Size: 2,811.7 square miles
Median Home Price: $287,608
Average Annual Salary: $58,880

Albany’s average annual salary, at $58,880, is more than $2,000 above the national average. Albany also scores well for low rates of property crime, violent crime and murder, according to FBI data, and air quality. Albany’s score in the Air Quality Index from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency measures the amount of pollutants in the air that could cause harm to the general population. Albany ranks No. 24 out of the 150 places on the list for air quality.

Learn more about Albany.

12. Washington, D.C.

Best Places 2022-2023: 19
Metro Population: 6,250,309
Metro Size: 6,567.7 square miles
Median Home Price: $535,038
Average Annual Salary: $77,210

As the largest metro area on this list, the District of Columbia offers high-quality high school options — the metro areas ranks No. 15 in college readiness based on Best High Schools data. Plus, the plethora of federal government and government contractor jobs, in addition to a growing tech industry in the area, lead to a high average annual salary of $77,210. Naturally, the trade-off comes in the form of a long commute, as residents should expect to spend, on average, 34.8 minutes traveling between home and work.

Learn more about Washington, D.C.

11. Grand Rapids, Michigan

Best Places 2022-2023: 16
Metro Population: 1,069,696
Metro Size: 2,689.1 square miles
Median Home Price: $366,979
Average Annual Salary: $49,700

Grand Rapids residents spend just 20.71% of the area’s median annual household income on housing. Additionally, Grand Rapids ranks 18th for quality of life on the overall Best Places to Live list — in part for its low crime, college readiness score among high school students and average morning commute of just 21.8 minutes.

Learn more about Grand Rapids.

10. Minneapolis-St. Paul

Best Places 2022-2023: 27
Metro Population: 3,605,450
Metro Size: 7,047.7 square miles
Median Home Price: $237,367
Average Annual Salary: $62,560

Families considering a move to the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area can expect to find many quality high school options and a low cost of living. Residents spend 22.77% of the median annual household income on housing costs. Additionally, the average annual salary is high at $62,560. Minneapolis-St. Paul high school students rank 33rd among those in the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. for college readiness.

Learn more about Minneapolis-St. Paul.

9. Omaha, Nebraska

Best Places 2022-2023: 29
Metro Population: 940,163
Metro Size: 4,346.3 square miles
Median Home Price: $330,044
Average Annual Salary: $53,050

With a short average commute of 20.7 minutes and a cost of living requiring just 21.78% of the area’s median annual household income, Omaha parents spend little time getting to work and keep more of the money they earn for their family. The average annual salary, at $53,050, is below the national average of $56,310, however.

Learn more about Omaha.

8. Lincoln, Nebraska

Best Places 2022-2023: 28
Metro Population: 333,193
Metro Size: 1,409 square miles
Median Home Price: $192,000
Average Annual Salary: $50,240

The capital of Nebraska takes the No. 8 spot with a cost of living that requires just 21.84% of the area’s median annual household income. Lincoln also ranks 38th out of the 150 metro areas on the list in the Sharecare Community Well-Being Index for overall happiness among residents. One contributing factor to that happiness may be the fact that the average morning commute is the shortest on the list at just 19.4 minutes.

Learn more about Lincoln.

7. Madison, Wisconsin

Best Places 2022-2023: 17
Metro Population: 660,212
Metro Size: 3,308.8 square miles
Median Home Price: $390,950
Average Annual Salary: $57,680

Madison residents spend a bit more on housing than other metro areas on the list, but the benefits may outweigh the cost. Low crime rates compared to the national average, high scores among high school students showing college readiness and an average morning commute of just 22 minutes make many families happy to call Madison home. Plus, the average annual salary is slightly above the national average at $57,680.

Learn more about Madison.

6. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Best Places 2022-2023: 11
Metro Population: 368,385
Metro Size: 706 square miles
Median Home Price: $270,567
Average Annual Salary: $59,200

Ann Arbor takes the No. 5 spot out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. for proximity to quality health care. College readiness among Ann Arbor’s high school students is fifth out of the 150 metro areas on the list as well. Ann Arbor is also a spot to consider for those whose kids have left the nest, as it ranks No. 9 on the Best Places to Retire list.

Learn more about Ann Arbor.

5. Des Moines, Iowa

Best Places 2022-2023: 14
Metro Population: 690,585
Metro Size: 3,612.4 square miles
Median Home Price: $314,711
Average Annual Salary: $55,660

Ranking No. 14 on the overall Best Places to Live list, Des Moines is the fifth-best place to live for families in 2022-2023. The low cost of living in this Midwestern metro area ensures just 21.03% of the median household income is required for housing needs. While college readiness is a weak spot for the metro area, ranking 112th out of 150 in that category, a relatively strong job market and a short average commute lead to Des Moines taking the fifth spot.

Learn more about Des Moines.

4. Fayetteville, Arkansas

Best Places 2022-2023: 7
Metro Population: 526,101
Metro Size: 2,623.4 square miles
Median Home Price: $203,150
Average Annual Salary: $50,470

A low cost of living is easy to find in this northwest Arkansas metro area. With residents spending just 20.56% of the area’s median household income on housing, Fayetteville is the eighth-most affordable place to live out of the 150 metro areas in the Best Places to Live ranking. Another bonus: More spare time can be spent at home before and after work, as the average commute is just 20.6 minutes.

Learn more about Fayetteville.

3. Green Bay, Wisconsin

Best Places 2022-2023: 3
Metro Population: 320,827
Metro Size: 1,870 square miles
Median Home Price: $181,700
Average Annual Salary: $50,020

In Green Bay, families are able to save more money for other needs, as the cost of living requires just 20.03% of the area’s median household income. The Wisconsin metro area also ranks No. 18 out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. for its low rates of property crime, violent crime and murder. On top of that, the average morning commute is just 20.1 minutes.

Learn more about Green Bay.

2. San Jose, California

Best Places 2022-2023: 5
Metro Population: 1,985,926
Metro Size: 2,679.7 square miles
Median Home Price: $1,455,741
Average Annual Salary: $93,450

If quality education is a priority, you can’t go wrong living in the San Jose metro area, which ranks No. 1 out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. for college readiness among high school students. However, the good schools come at a cost, with residents spending a larger share of the median annual household income on the cost of living. Plus, the median home price is nearly $1.5 million.

Learn more about San Jose.

1. Huntsville, Alabama

Best Places 2022-2023: 1
Metro Population: 464,607
Metro Size: 1,361.6 square miles
Median Home Price: $192,667
Average Annual Salary: $58,730

Not only is Huntsville’s median annual salary, at $58,730, above the national average of $56,310, but residents spend just 20.12% of the median annual household income on the cost of living — making it the third-most affordable metro area out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. Huntsville also ranks No. 16 out of the 150 metro areas on the list for air quality, meaning residents are less likely to endure days where pollutants in the air make for unsafe conditions.

Learn more about Huntsville.

The Best Places to Live in the U.S. for Families:

— Huntsville, Alabama.

— San Jose, California.

— Green Bay, Wisconsin.

— Fayetteville, Arkansas.

— Des Moines, Iowa.

— Ann Arbor, Michigan.

— Madison, Wisconsin.

— Lincoln, Nebraska.

— Omaha, Nebraska.

— Minneapolis-St. Paul.

— Grand Rapids, Michigan.

— Washington, D.C.

— Albany, New York.

— Cincinnati.

— Peoria, Illinois.

— Portland, Maine.

— Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina.

— Salt Lake City.

— Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky.

— Boulder, Colorado.

— Davenport-Bettendorf, Iowa, and Moline-Rock Island, Illinois (Quad Cities).

— Pittsburgh.

— Syracuse, New York.

— Fort Wayne, Indiana.

— Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

More from U.S. News

The 25 Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2022-2023

The 25 Best Places to Live in the U.S. for Allergy Sufferers

The 25 Best Affordable Places to Live in the U.S. in 2022-2023

The 25 Best Places to Live for Families in the U.S. in 2022-2023 originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 05/19/22: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

Related Categories:

Latest News

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up