Editor’s Note: We updated this article for . This is our second time ranking the best cities for families in California.
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When you think of your childhood, what comes to mind? Was it showing off your rollerblading skills at JellyBeans? What about playing soccer with your friends or going to the local Y summer camps?
Did you love your elementary schools and were you able to walk to school alone when you got older?
You likely had some very fond memories of childhood that you want to pass on to your children. You also likely have things you would change if you could. So what are some important factors to think about when you do start thinking about where to raise your children?
Crime levels, the quality of schools, and proximity to other children for your kids to make close friendships with are probably some of the key aspects to think about when deciding where to raise your family.
The first decision to make is what state to raise your family in. Well, that is an easy one: California.
California is one of America’s most famous states and for a good reason. Who wouldn’t want to grow up under the palm trees, walking up and down the streets of San Francisco, and hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail?
California has something for everyone. You can be a surfer, a climber, a city-dweller, or even just a cafe-hopper.
But within California, what are the best cities for families? Which cities are both affordable and packed with family-friendliness? HomeSnacks has figured out the answer to those questions for you.
These are the best cities to raise a family in California for 2019:
We analyzed 349 cities in California to determine which one was the best for families. This ranking was made by seeing which cities were the most “family-friendly,” or which states had the least crime, the best schools, and the most fun activities.
Want to guess which city made first? If you haven’t heard of Imperial, California, then keep reading, because this is the best city for families in California for 2019.
Imperial is located near Chula Vista and San Diego and is packed with everything families need and love. You can even travel to Mexico for an international dining experience if you want.
Want to see how your favorite city or hometown in California stacked up? Read on to learn more about our methodology and to see what makes each of our top 10 cities for families so great.
Or, check out some more reading about California and the best places for families in the country:
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 Clearlake is probably a place made for singles.
The 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In California For 2019
Population: 16,931 Family Friendly Amenities Score: 63 Closest Major City: Chula Vista Households with kids: 52.4% More on Imperial:Photos | Homes For Sale | Data
With the economy doing so well, people are moving now more than ever. Might we suggest California’s fifth most affordable city for 2019: Imperial?
This city in Imperial County on the US/Mexico border scored an 8.5 on our snackability scale: the highest for any city in the top ten. According to our data, they should be California’s poster city for affordability, housing, and safety.
This El Centro-burb knows how to make their ‘dolla holla’ with year-round golf, dune buggying, and camping.
And you know what else Imperial’s residents know? Apparently a good deal when they see it because they are the second most affordable city for home price to income ratio.
I live in Palo Alto, and I never doubted that we ranked high on snobbery. After all, not only do we have a community theater company and a community orchestra, but we have a community opera company as well.||I don’t know where Palo Alto stands with this metric or how much it is weighted, but I take objection to your inclusion of private school density as a criterion.
Firstly, the number of private schools in a city relative to that city’s population is not necessarily the best measure of how many eligible students in a city attend private school, as private schools may vary in size and often do not restrict enrollment to the residents of their host city.
Secondly, while private school enrollment is an understandable measure to be associated with snobbery, given that in most parts of the country elites seek out private schools for the usually superior quality of education they provide, Palo Alto may be an exception that proves the rule.
In Palo Alto, the quality of our public schools rivals that of many nearby private schools. Therefore, many Palo Alto parents proudly send their children to public school, deeming private school unnecessarily expensive for its relative value. Does this fact make us more or less s****y-
Lived in Los Gatos for 15 years, and yes it’s a desired community but because of the exceptional school system level, the photo is the high school which is the most beautiful one I’ve ever seen and I’ve lived all over the states, with the best teaching staff in the country, and its facilities are like a university…
I grew up in Ann Arbor, Mi. Which is a university town and gorgeous. I now live and have for 28 years on Catalina island, in Avalon which is the most mellow in the state, and beautiful… Location, location.