Not much has changed when it comes to what families see as essential to raising children: safe communities, good education, affordable housing and a thriving community. What has changed is the relationship between families and places. Freed from the tight-knit relationship between jobs and the location, many families have found that working from home has allowed them to view the two separately, widening the pool of choices in terms of places to live. Heading into 2023, what are the best cities for families?

To determine which cities offer the best conditions to raise a family, StorageCafe took it upon itself to create a ranking of cities where families are most likely to thrive. They considered metrics such as public school ratings, cost of living (real estate & more), income and cultural and outdoor recreation. Self storage was also included as it’s a service frequently used by families when moving and keeping tabs on their home organization.

Based on the study’s results, Plano, TX, Virginia Beach, VA and Lincoln, NE take up the podium. Moreover, the South has the most representation in the top 20, with Texas claiming five spots. Arizona is also well-represented on the list, with two cities featured in the top 20, including Scottdale and Chandler.

Scottsdale and Chandler offer excellent living standards for raising a family

Scottsdale and Chandler are Arizona’s top performers for their offerings to families with children, and they cluster around the Phoenix metro area. The area was already established retiree magnet that started attracting young families with children thanks to the area’s booming economy and development.

Clocking in at No. 13, Scottsdale is the highest-placed Arizonan city to make it on the list of best cities for families. It’s no surprise Scottsdale ranks so high on this list, given the high standard of living offered here and the many features present that are conducive to a well-rounded family life. Education is held in high regard here, with Scottdale coming in third for its school rankings. What’s more, the local adult population also mirrors excellence in education, with almost 60% of adults having earned a B.A. or a higher degree.

As is the case with many desirable places, the cost of living isn’t low here: Homes average $861K and childcare costs above the average of the cities in this top, but the local high incomes can more than make up for it. Families with children in Scottsdale bring home around $140K/year, 67% more than the national average for this income category. Even more, whether as part of the moving process or simply used as a service to manage home space, self storage can also be added to the local cost of living. Renting a storage unit in Scottsdale, AZ costs $178/month.

Scottsdale enjoys a low crime rate, making it an ideal place to raise children. What’s more, the area benefits from access to various reputable healthcare centers in the area, including the Mayo Clinic Phoenix and the Banner University Medical Center and St Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. With a distribution of six health care facilities/1,000 locals, Scottsdale is best in terms of access to medical care.

The area isn’t short of additional amenities that cater to the entire family. A very active city both indoors and out, Scottsdale enjoys the presence of numerous fitness centers, swimming pools and volleyball courts (2.5 net/1,000 locals). Country clubs, bowling centers, railroad exhibits and carnival rides are part of the local fun picture, landing Scottsdale in the first position for its recreational opportunities, providing about 0.6 entertainment venues/1,000 locals.

Scottsdale’s neighbor, Chandler, is the next city to earn a high spot among the best cities for families, thanks to a diverse real estate market, a strong job market and a plethora of community offerings in demand.

With a large number of transplants from other states, the real estate market has become more competitive, and now home prices stand at $542K, on average. However, the median household familial income hovers at around $106K/year, about 26% more than what the typical American family with children brings home in a year.

Parents can rest assured their children can receive a top-notch education here, with Chandler offering one of the best public school systems in the state, thanks to its outstanding educational programs and the excellent reported test scores. The adult population also fares well in terms of education, with close to half of them boasting a college education.

Chandler is an exceptionally safe community thanks to the low crime rate (1.9%) – providing an excellent environment to raise children. It also helps that over a third of households have children, making it ideal for families looking to socialize their kids. Commuting here takes about 22.5 minutes, slightly less than the national average of 25.6 minutes, which means parents can spend more quality time with their children instead of spending it in traffic.

Families moving here will find that the “Valley of the Sun” provides ample opportunities to play in the sun and more. Soaking up the sun while swimming has never been easier than here in Chandler, especially since there are two pools/1,000 residents. That makes Chandler the best city for pool lovers. This amenity is present in 99% of apartment complexes and 60% of single-family homes and condos.

Arts and shopping districts dot the downtown area, alongside fine restaurants and sports stadiums throughout town. For those looking to enjoy outdoor sports, such as volleyball, the city offers 2.5 nets/20,000 residents. Moreover, Chandler is not short of options for outdoor enthusiasts – parks, trails and dog parks and more cater to this need as well, with Tumbleweed Park, Shawnee Park and Desert Breeze Park as some of the popular haunts for the entire family.