WASHINGTON — Much like choosing a lifelong partner, choosing where to plant your family’s roots is a decision that should be approached carefully and tactically. Of course, aspects like weather and aesthetics of a place come to mind, but what factors are important in the long haul?
Getting to know a place requires substantial research. What are the schools like? Does the community share the same values as you do? Are there lots of children in the area? These factors and more can determine the kind of life you will build for years to come.
To help determine which places best suit family life, our data experts at FindTheHome crunched the numbers and came up with a Family Score (out of 100) for District neighborhoods plus each county in Virginia and Maryland. A high Family Score is based on a mixture of a number of factors:
A high average public school rating (based on standardized exams performance)
Few vice establishments in the area (strip clubs, liquor stores, etc.)
A high percentage of homeowners
A low percentage of unemployed residents
A high percentage of children and teenagers
A well-educated community, measured by the percent attainment of a college degree
“We set out to determine the statistically best place for parents to raise a family, and when we talked to parents, the three things that repeatedly came up were education quality, a wholesome environment, and a community they’d fit into,” said FindTheHome product manager Jamie Kent. “We evaluated 6 separate indicators to create a single index that helps identify the best places for raising a family.”
In Washington, D.C., the most family-friendly neighborhood is Foxhall — Palisades, with a Family Score of 81.4. In second place is Chevy Chase-DC, with a Family Score of 78.5.
In the Old Dominion, Loudoun County scored the highest thanks to good schools, a higher percentage of bachelor’s degrees and a large population of children. Other Northern Virginia communities that fared well include Fairfax County, Fairfax City and Stafford County.
Several Central Maryland and Southern Maryland counties scored high. Howard, Carroll, St. Mary’s and Calvert counties all scored higher than Montgomery County because of good public schools and large populations of children. However Montgomery County boasts a lower vice score, meaning it has fewer strip clubs and liquor stores, for a higher percentage of bachelor’s degrees.
WTOP staff contributed to this report.