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 California? We’ve got the answers here.
These are the best cities to raise a family in the Golden State:
- Imperial (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Moorpark (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Palo Alto (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Calabasas (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Santa Paula (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Santa Clara (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Mission Viejo (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Camarillo (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Torrance (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Folsom (Photos | Homes For Sale)
If you’re thinking of making a move to California, 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.
How do you determine which place is best for families in California anyways?
To give you the places in California 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 Golden 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 California, 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 California, that meant a total of 349 cities.
Read on to see why Imperial is where all the families are headed, while Grass Valley is probably a place made for singles.
Imperial is a city in Imperial County, California. Imperial is located 4 miles (6.4 km) north of El Centro. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 14,758. It is part of the El Centro metropolitan area. Nearby recreation facilities transform the desert into a popular Valley tourist destination due to availability of activities. Three year-round golf courses are within minutes of Imperial. The sand dunes provide a place for campers and dune buggy enthusiasts. This region is well known for its abundance of bird species such as dove, quail, ducks, pheasant and geese.
Moorpark is a city in Ventura County in Southern California. Moorpark was founded in 1900 when the application for the Moorpark Post Office was approved and Inocencio C. Villegas was named Moorpark’s first postmaster on August 8 of that year. The townsite of Moorpark was owned and surveyed by Robert W. Poindexter and his wife, Madeline. The town has experienced a great amount of growth since the late 1970s. The population was 34,421 at the 2010 census, up from 31,415 at the 2000 census.
3. Palo Alto
Palo Alto (/pælo ælto/ PAL-oh AL-toh; Spanish: [palo alto]; from palo, literally ‘stick’, colloquially ‘tree’, and alto ‘tall’; meaning: ‘tall tree’) is a charter city located in the northwest corner of Santa Clara County, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area of the United States.
Calabasas is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, located in the hills west of the San Fernando Valley and in the northwest Santa Monica Mountains between Woodland Hills, Agoura Hills, West Hills, Hidden Hills, and Malibu, California. As of the 2010 census, the city’s population was 23,058, up from 20,033 at the 2000 census. The city was formally incorporated in 1991.
5. Santa Paula
Santa Paula is a city in Ventura County, California, United States. Situated amidst the orchards of the fertile Santa Clara River Valley, the city advertises itself to tourists as the ‘Citrus Capital of the World.’ Santa Paula was one of the early centers of California’s petroleum industry. The Union Oil Company Building, the founding headquarters of the Union Oil Company of California in 1890, now houses the California Oil Museum. The population was 29,321 at the 2010 census, up from 28,598 at the 2000 census.
6. Santa Clara
Santa Clara (/sæntklær/) is a city in Santa Clara County, California. The city’s population was 116,468 at the 2010 United States Census, making it the ninth-most populous city in the San Francisco Bay Area. Located 45 miles (72 km) southeast of San Francisco, the city was founded in 1777 with the establishment of Mission Santa Clara de Asís, the eighth of 21 California missions. The city was later incorporated in 1852. The mission, the city, and the county are all named for Saint Clare of Assisi.
Mission Viejo /mn vieho/ is a city in Orange County, California, United States in the Saddleback Valley. Mission Viejo is considered one of the largest master-planned communities ever built under a single project in the United States, and is rivaled only by Highlands Ranch, Colorado, in its size. Its population as of 2014 was estimated at 96,346.
Camarillo (/kæmrio/ KAM–REE-oh) is a city in Ventura County in the U.S. state of California. The population was 65,201 at the 2010 census, up from 57,084 at the 2000 census. The Ventura Freeway (U.S. Route 101) is the city’s primary thoroughfare. Camarillo is named for Adolfo and Juan Camarillo, two of the few Californios (pre-1848 California natives of Hispanic ancestry) to preserve the city’s heritage after the arrival of Anglo settlers. The railroad coast route came through in 1898 and built a station here. Adolfo Camarillo eventually employed 700 workers growing mainly lima beans. Walnuts and citrus were also grown on the ranch. Adolfo bred Camarillo White Horses in the 1920s through the 1960s and was well known for riding them, dressed in colorful Spanish attire, in parades such as the Fiesta of Santa Barbara.
Torrance is a U.S. city in the South Bay (southwestern) region of Los Angeles County, California. Torrance has 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of beaches on the Pacific Ocean. Torrance has a moderate year-round climate with warm temperatures, sea breezes, low humidity and an average rainfall of 12.55 inches per year.
Folsom is a city in Sacramento County, California, United States. It is commonly known for Folsom Prison and Folsom Lake. The population was 72,203 at the 2010 census.
There You Have It – The Best Places To Raise A Family In California
If you’re looking for a breakdown of cities in California 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 California according to the data:
- Grass Valley
For more California reading, check out:
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In California
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In California
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In California
Detailed List Of The Best Places For Families In California
|29||Rancho Santa Margarita||49,038|
|32||Rancho Palos Verdes||42,412|
|75||Palos Verdes Estates||13,582|
|85||Santa Fe Springs||17,436|
|87||South San Francisco||66,587|