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2017’s best places to raise a family list will make you reconsider flyover states

Every parent wants the best start for their kids, and setting up the nursery in a family-friendly city can certainly make things easier on young families. If you’re game for relocating or just want to feel better about where you already put down roots, WalletHub recently released its rankings of the best places to raise a family in the United States. The people at the personal finance site determined the rankings by analyzing the 150 most-populated centers for five factors: family fun, health and safety, education and child care, affordability and socio-economics.

The top spot went to—drumroll, please!—Overland Park, Kansas.

According to WalletHub, Overland Park has the second highest median family salary of the cities analyzed, was ranked third for most affordable housing and has the lowest percentage of families living below the poverty line.

Although it’s part of the Kansas City metro area, Overland Park is home to fewer than 200,000 people, which gives it a bit of a small town feel. Home to Sprint’s world headquarters, the city enjoys low unemployment, a low cost of living and tons of activities and amenities that make it attractive to young families. (Editor’s note from a former Kansas resident: I can vouch that the 70+ parks are amazing and the farmer’s market is one of the best around. ?)

Rounding out the top 10 are most family-friendly cities in the United States are:

  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Plano, Texas
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Fremont, California
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Irvine, California
  • Lincoln, Nebraska

When you just look at the cost of housing, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Des Moines, Iowa and Buffalo, New York, surround Overland Park to form an affordable top five.

As experts consulted in WalletHub's research noted, families on the move are usually doing so for a particular reason.

“Employment opportunities are usually the first priority for families. Being close to extended family is also an important consideration,” says Tom Sutton, Director of the Community Research Institute at Baldwin Wallace. “The cost of living of a city relative to the employment options for a family often determine whether families are attracted to a particular city. Quality of life factors, such as commuting time, housing costs, school quality and recreational opportunities are important factors to consider when choosing where to settle.”

Although “ideal weather” was a factor in measuring each city’s “family fun” score, several of the cities in the overall top 10 are known for chilly winters—so parka potential clearly doesn’t keep a city from being being a good place to grow up. Perhaps snowball fights actually bring families together! ⛄️

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