10 Best Places To Raise A Family In California For 2019

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

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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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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 for 2019:

  1. Imperial (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Moorpark (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Palo Alto (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Los Gatos (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Folsom (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Mission Viejo (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Camarillo (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Torrance (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. San Marino (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Moraga (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.

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.

Imperial, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 16,931
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 60
Closest Major City: Chula Vista
Households with kids: 52.4%
More on Imperial: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Imperial is a city in Imperial County, California. Imperial is located 4 miles 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, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 36,060
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 53
Closest Major City: Oxnard
Households with kids: 35.7%
More on Moorpark: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

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.

Palo Alto, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 67,082
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 66
Closest Major City: Fremont
Households with kids: 34.3%
More on Palo Alto: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Palo Alto is a charter city located in the northwest corner of Santa Clara County, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area of the United States.

Los Gatos, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 30,709
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 46
Closest Major City: San Jose
Households with kids: 31.7%
More on Los Gatos: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Los Gatos is an incorporated U.S. town in Santa Clara County, California. The population is 30,391 according to the 2013 United States Census Bureau. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Los Gatos is ranked the 33rd wealthiest city in the United States. It is located in the San Francisco Bay Area at the southwest corner of San Jose in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Los Gatos is part of Silicon Valley, with several high technology companies maintaining a presence there. Most notably, streaming and content creator, Netflix is headquartered in Los Gatos and has developed a large presence in the area.

Folsom, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 75,897
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 57
Closest Major City: Sacramento
Households with kids: 36.7%
More on Folsom: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

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.

Mission Viejo, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 96,535
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 43
Closest Major City: Irvine
Households with kids: 29.5%
More on Mission Viejo: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Mission Viejo 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, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 67,116
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 63
Closest Major City: Oxnard
Households with kids: 27.0%
More on Camarillo: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Camarillo 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 is the city’s primary thoroughfare. Camarillo is named for Adolfo and Juan Camarillo, two of the few Californios 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, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 147,190
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 68
Closest Major City: Long Beach
Households with kids: 29.5%
More on Torrance: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Torrance is a U.S. city in the South Bay region of Los Angeles County, California. Torrance has 1.5 miles 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 12.55inches per year.

San Marino, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,331
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 47
Closest Major City: Los Angeles
Households with kids: 38.9%
More on San Marino: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

San Marino is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Incorporated on April 12, 1913, the city was designed by its founders to be uniquely residential, with expansive properties surrounded by beautiful gardens, wide streets, and well maintained parkways. The city is located in the San Rafael Hills. The population was 13,147 at the 2010 census.

Moraga, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 17,231
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 57
Closest Major City: Oakland
Households with kids: 34.9%
More on Moraga: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Moraga is a suburban incorporated town located in Contra Costa County, California, United States, in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is named in honor of Joaquin Moraga, whose grandfather was Jos Joaquin Moraga, second in command to Juan Bautista de Anza. As of 2010, Moraga had a total population of 16,016people.

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:

  1. Clearlake
  2. Grass Valley
  3. Anderson

For more California reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places For Families In California

Rank City Population Amenities Score
1 Imperial, CA 16,931 50
2 Moorpark, CA 36,060 42
3 Palo Alto, CA 67,082 50
4 Los Gatos, CA 30,709 40
5 Folsom, CA 75,897 43
6 Mission Viejo, CA 96,535 35
7 Camarillo, CA 67,116 64
8 Torrance, CA 147,190 66
9 San Marino, CA 13,331 48
10 Moraga, CA 17,231 35
11 Pleasanton, CA 79,341 56
12 Calabasas, CA 24,169 58
13 Saratoga, CA 31,013 42
14 Aliso Viejo, CA 50,691 59
15 Santa Paula, CA 30,344 62
16 Cupertino, CA 60,687 54
17 Mill Valley, CA 14,392 52
18 Santa Clara, CA 124,635 43
19 Coronado, CA 24,053 49
20 Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 49,078 44
21 Yorba Linda, CA 67,740 52
22 Fremont, CA 230,964 66
23 Corona, CA 163,585 42
24 Santa Clarita, CA 209,489 44
25 Sunnyvale, CA 151,565 61
26 Glendale, CA 199,750 58
27 Orange, CA 140,289 62
28 Fullerton, CA 139,976 50
29 Lafayette, CA 25,792 47
30 Sierra Madre, CA 11,061 55
31 Thousand Oaks, CA 128,909 59
32 Placentia, CA 52,294 56
33 Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 42,463 35
34 Los Altos, CA 30,527 51
35 Santa Ana, CA 334,493 85
36 Chula Vista, CA 264,101 64
37 Menlo Park, CA 33,661 49
38 Simi Valley, CA 126,546 44
39 San Mateo, CA 103,500 64
40 Cypress, CA 49,108 31
41 San Ramon, CA 75,048 48
42 Redlands, CA 70,765 41
43 Pleasant Hill, CA 34,662 59
44 Cudahy, CA 24,146 49
45 Eastvale, CA 59,733 49
46 Downey, CA 113,358 34
47 Rancho Cucamonga, CA 174,573 58
48 Hollister, CA 37,182 45
49 Danville, CA 44,205 55
50 Rocklin, CA 61,697 39
51 Whittier, CA 86,852 42
52 Azusa, CA 49,029 49
53 Napa, CA 79,722 46
54 Soledad, CA 25,603 57
55 Yucaipa, CA 53,151 55
56 Walnut, CA 30,062 59
57 Poway, CA 49,874 47
58 Irvine, CA 256,877 41
59 Bell Gardens, CA 42,845 50
60 Pasadena, CA 141,231 77
61 Orinda, CA 19,248 54
62 Los Alamitos, CA 11,639 41
63 Benicia, CA 28,011 37
64 Hillsborough, CA 11,436 37
65 Ripon, CA 15,173 39
66 Santa Maria, CA 104,791 66
67 Beaumont, CA 43,641 36
68 Hayward, CA 156,917 64
69 Murrieta, CA 110,043 40
70 Alhambra, CA 85,168 50
71 Santee, CA 57,376 38
72 Escondido, CA 150,783 36
73 Palos Verdes Estates, CA 13,591 50
74 Lincoln, CA 46,404 44
75 Carlsbad, CA 113,147 65
76 Livermore, CA 88,232 46
77 South Pasadena, CA 25,974 42
78 Newport Beach, CA 86,793 53
79 El Segundo, CA 16,929 37
80 San Marcos, CA 93,493 43
81 Belmont, CA 27,110 34
82 La Puente, CA 40,451 37
83 Dixon, CA 19,488 38
84 La Mirada, CA 49,162 33
85 San Rafael, CA 59,180 61
86 Monterey Park, CA 61,056 40
87 Laguna Niguel, CA 65,429 60
88 Elk Grove, CA 166,228 59
89 Jurupa Valley, CA 102,202 84
90 Chino Hills, CA 78,025 36
91 Woodland, CA 58,324 37
92 Lodi, CA 64,403 38
93 Coalinga, CA 16,612 38
94 Oxnard, CA 206,732 41
95 Porterville, CA 58,782 46
96 Diamond Bar, CA 56,600 44
97 Ukiah, CA 15,917 68
98 Roseville, CA 130,705 62
99 Colton, CA 54,200 42
100 Santa Fe Springs, CA 17,669 39

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