10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Arkansas For 2018

We used science and data to determine which cities in Arkansas have the best set up for children: a lot to do, good schools, and no crime.

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If you’re like the rest of us, you’re looking for the perfect place for your family. But you have a strict criteria; the city has to be safe, affordable, and stimulating. Basically, the place you move – or even visit – has to be outright perfect.

Is that attainable? Perhaps not, but we’ll get you as close as we can.


According to the United States Census, the number of American families who move is trending downwards Why is that? Perhaps it has to do with the ‘safety net’ factor: We get comfortable where we live, and we’re afraid to try a new move. What if the schools are bad? What if it’s dangerous?

Well, we can pretty much guarantee that if you choose the cities we’re mentioning below, you won’t lose any sleep whatsoever.

So, where are the best cities for families in Arkansas? We’ve got the answers here.

These are the best cities to raise a family in the Natural State:

  1. Bentonville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Siloam Springs (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Malvern (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Magnolia (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Van Buren (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Paragould (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Arkadelphia (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Batesville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Mountain Home (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Harrison (Photos | Homes For Sale)

If you’re thinking of making a move to Arkansas, and want a family-friendly place, we’ve got you covered. And if you already have kids, we’re surprised you made it this far into the article and hope your little ones give you a couple of more minutes of free time.

Keep on reading for a detailed methodology.

Or, check out some more reading about Arkansas and the best places for families in the country:

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How do you determine which place is best for families in Arkansas anyways?

To give you the places in Arkansas which are best for families, we have to look at a handful of metrics. Of course, we want to measure the type of people who live in each city, and make some assumptions about what’s family-friendly and what isn’t.

So we researched the internet for a database that contains all that information.

How we crunched the family friendly numbers for the Natural State

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using U.S. Census data produced for the state of Arkansas, we looked at every single city in the state. We paid particular attention to:

  • Crime (Both violent and property)
  • Quality of local schools
  • Distance to a major city without necessarily being in it
  • % of households with children
  • Family-friendly amenities nearby (museums, libraries and colleges)

We then gave each city a Family Score.

The higher the score, the better the city is for families. We also limited our results to cities with populations over 10,000 people. For Arkansas, that meant a total of 34 cities.

Read on to see why Bentonville is where all the families are headed, while El Dorado is probably a place made for singles.

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Bentonville, AR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 42,499
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 56
Closest Major City: Tulsa
Households with kids: 43.1%
More on Bentonville: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Bentonville is the ninth-largest city in Arkansas and the county seat of Benton County. The city is centrally located in the county with Rogers adjacent to the east. The city is the headquarters of Walmart, which is the world’s largest retailer. Originally named Osage after the Osage Indians who hunted in the area when white settlers first moved to the area in 1837, the community was renamed to Bentonville in 1906 in honor of New York inventor Linn Boyd Benton, after being first incorporated on April 3, 1873. It is one of the four main cities in the four-county Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is ranked 109th in terms of population in the United States with 463,204 in 2010 according to the United States Census Bureau. The city itself had a population of 35,301 at the 2010 Census, with an estimated population of 47,093 in 2016.

Siloam Springs, AR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 16,095
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 42
Closest Major City: Tulsa
Households with kids: 43.3%
More on Siloam Springs: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Siloam Springs is a city in Benton County, Arkansas, United States. The city shares a border on the Arkansas-Oklahoma state line with the city of West Siloam Springs, Oklahoma, which is within the Cherokee Nation territory. The town was founded in 1882 and was characterized by the purported healing powers of the spring water feeding Sager Creek and trading with nearby Native American tribes. John Brown University was founded in 1919 as a private, interdenominational, Christian liberal arts college in the city. Today, Siloam Springs is known for its efforts to preserve and revitalize the city’s historic downtown and as a promoter of the arts via Sager Creek Arts Center and the JBU art gallery. The community is located on the western edge of the growing Northwest Arkansas metropolitan area and has had a population increase of 47% to 15,039 between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.

Malvern, AR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,937
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 63
Closest Major City: Memphis
Households with kids: 29.3%
More on Malvern: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Malvern is a city in and the county seat of Hot Spring County, Arkansas, United States. Founded as a railroad stop at the eastern edge of the Ouachita Mountains, the community’s history and economy have been tied to available agricultural and mineral resources. The production of bricks from locally available clay has earned the city the nickname, “The Brick Capital of the World”. The city had a population of 10,318 at the time of the 2010 census, and in 2015 the estimated population was 10,928.

Magnolia, AR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,651
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 63
Closest Major City: Garland
Households with kids: 34.9%
More on Magnolia: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Magnolia is a city in Columbia County, Arkansas, United States. As of the 2010 census the population was 11,577. The city is the county seat of Columbia County.

Van Buren, AR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 23,155
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 50
Closest Major City: Tulsa
Households with kids: 41.1%
More on Van Buren: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Van Buren is the second largest city in the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area and the county seat of Crawford County, Arkansas, United States. The city is located directly northeast of Fort Smith at the Interstate 40-Interstate 540 junction. The city was incorporated in 1845 and as of the 2010 census had a population of 22,791, ranking it as the state’s 22nd largest city, behind Searcy.

Paragould, AR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 27,521
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 66
Closest Major City: Memphis
Households with kids: 33.9%
More on Paragould: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Paragould is the county seat of Greene County, and the 19th-largest city in Arkansas, in the United States. The city is located in northeastern Arkansas on the eastern edge of Crowley’s Ridge, a geologic anomaly contained within the Arkansas delta.

Arkadelphia, AR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,728
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 65
Closest Major City: Memphis
Households with kids: 28.7%
More on Arkadelphia: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Arkadelphia is a city in Clark County, Arkansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 10,714. The city is the county seat of Clark County. It is situated at the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains. Two universities, Henderson State University and Ouachita Baptist University, are located there. Arkadelphia was incorporated in 1857.

Batesville, AR

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,579
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 50
Closest Major City: Memphis
Households with kids: 32.3%
More on Batesville: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Batesville is the county seat and largest city of Independence County, Arkansas, United States, 80 miles northeast of Little Rock, the state capital. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the city was 10,248. The city serves as a regional manufacturing and distribution hub for the Ozark Mountain region and northeast Arkansas.

Mountain Home, AR

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,312
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 54
Closest Major City: Memphis
Households with kids: 19.7%
More on Mountain Home: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Mountain Home is a small city and the county seat of Baxter County, Arkansas, United States, in the southern Ozark Mountains near the northern state border with Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 12,448. A total of 41,307 persons lived within the city and micropolitan combined, which encompasses the majority of Baxter County.

Harrison, AR

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,168
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 44
Closest Major City: Tulsa
Households with kids: 30.3%
More on Harrison: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Harrison is a city in Boone County, Arkansas, United States. It is the county seat. It named after General Marcus LaRue Harrison, a surveyor that laid out the city along Crooked Creek at Stifler Springs. According to 2012 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city was 13,163, up from 12,943 at the 2010 census.

There You Have It – The Best Places To Grow Up In Arkansas

If you’re looking for a breakdown of cities in Arkansas ranked by criteria that most would agree make a place a great spot for families, this is an accurate list.

Here’s a look at the best cities for singles Arkansas according to the data:

  1. El Dorado
  2. Jacksonville
  3. Texarkana

For more Arkansas reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places For Families In Arkansas

Rank City Population Amenities Score
1 Bentonville 42,499 55
2 Siloam Springs 16,095 44
3 Malvern 10,937 68
4 Magnolia 11,651 48
5 Van Buren 23,155 48
6 Paragould 27,521 52
7 Arkadelphia 10,728 44
8 Batesville 10,579 61
9 Mountain Home 12,312 58
10 Harrison 13,168 43
11 Camden 11,515 65
12 Centerton 11,403 41
13 Rogers 61,979 61
14 Blytheville 14,849 52
15 Jonesboro 72,638 68
16 Cabot 25,407 41
17 Conway 64,184 54
18 Fayetteville 80,552 57
19 Russellville 29,136 62
20 Benton 33,613 61
21 Marion 12,323 49
22 West Memphis 25,411 46
23 Fort Smith 87,712 67
24 Maumelle 17,795 46
25 Pine Bluff 45,404 54
26 Helena-West Helena 11,325 52
27 Bryant 19,529 55
28 North Little Rock 66,042 39
29 Little Rock 197,640 100
30 Sherwood 30,251 46
31 Hot Springs 36,711 51
32 Texarkana 30,155 43
33 Jacksonville 28,661 46
34 El Dorado 18,393 33

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