10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Minnesota For 2018

We used science and data to determine which cities in Minnesota 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 Minnesota? We’ve got the answers here.

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

  1. Northfield (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. North Mankato (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Eagan (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Chaska (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Marshall (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Minnetonka (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Woodbury (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Rosemount (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Lino Lakes (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Cottage Grove (Photos | Homes For Sale)

If you’re thinking of making a move to Minnesota, 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 the best places to live in Minnesota and, for those of you on a budget, the cheapest places to live in Minnesota.

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

To give you the places in Minnesota 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 North Star 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 Minnesota, 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 Minnesota, that meant a total of 80 cities.

Read on to see why Northfield is where all the families are headed, while St. Cloud is probably a place made for singles.

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1. Northfield

Northfield, MN

Population: 20,405
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 54
Closest Major City: St. Paul
Households with kids: 31.5%
More on Northfield: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Northfield is a city in Dakota and Rice counties in the State of Minnesota. The city is mostly in Rice County, with a small portion in Dakota County. The population was 20,007 during the 2010 census.

2. North Mankato

North Mankato, MN

Population: 13,451
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 47
Closest Major City: Minneapolis
Households with kids: 33.0%
More on North Mankato: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

3. Eagan

Eagan, MN

Population: 65,874
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 64
Closest Major City: St. Paul
Households with kids: 33.9%
More on Eagan: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Eagan is a city in Dakota County, Minnesota, United States. The city is south of Saint Paul and lies on the south bank of the Minnesota River, upstream from the confluence with the Mississippi River. Eagan and nearby suburbs form the southern portion of Minneapolis-St. Paul. The population of Eagan was 64,206 at the 2010 census and currently ranks as Minnesota’s 11th largest city. Currently the eleventh largest Minnesota city and the sixth largest suburb in the metro area, Eagan is predominantly a commuter town of both Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

4. Chaska

Chaska, MN

Population: 25,078
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 54
Closest Major City: Minneapolis
Households with kids: 38.6%
More on Chaska: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Chaska is a city in Carver County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 23,770 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Carver County, which is part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area.

5. Marshall

Marshall, MN

Population: 13,616
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 62
Closest Major City: Minneapolis
Households with kids: 30.9%
More on Marshall: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Marshall is a city in Lyon County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 13,680 at the 2010 census. Marshall is a regional center in southwest Minnesota, and the county seat of Lyon County. Marshall is the headquarters of the Schwan Food Company and the home of Southwest Minnesota State University. Marshall is also the site of Exelon Wind’s Marshall Wind Project.

6. Minnetonka

Minnetonka, MN

Source: Public domain

Population: 51,651
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 100
Closest Major City: Minneapolis
Households with kids: 25.8%
More on Minnetonka: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Minnetonka is a suburban city in Hennepin County, Minnesota, United States, eight miles west of Minneapolis. The population was 49,734 at the 2010 census. The name comes from the Dakota Indian mni tanka, meaning “great water”. The city is the home of Cargill, the country’s largest privately owned company, and United Healthcare, the state’s largest publicly owned company.

7. Woodbury

Woodbury, MN

Source: Public domain

Population: 66,699
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 38
Closest Major City: St. Paul
Households with kids: 42.7%
More on Woodbury: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Woodbury is a suburb of St. Paul and the largest city in Washington County, Minnesota. It is part of the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area. Woodbury is situated east of Saint Paul along Interstate 94. The 2016 population for Woodbury was 68,349, making it the 8th most populous city in Minnesota.

8. Rosemount

Rosemount, MN

Population: 23,099
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 53
Closest Major City: St. Paul
Households with kids: 43.1%
More on Rosemount: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

9. Lino Lakes

Lino Lakes, MN

Source: Public domain

Population: 20,758
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 34
Closest Major City: St. Paul
Households with kids: 42.9%
More on Lino Lakes: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Lino Lakes is a city in Anoka County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 20,216 at the 2010 census. Interstates 35W and 35E are two of the main routes in the community. It is an outer suburb north of the Twin Cities.

10. Cottage Grove

Cottage Grove, MN

Population: 35,632
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 55
Closest Major City: St. Paul
Households with kids: 43.8%
More on Cottage Grove: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Cottage Grove is a city located 10 miles south of Saint Paul in Washington County in the State of Minnesota. The city lies on the north bank of the Mississippi River, north of the confluence with the Saint Croix River. Cottage Grove and nearby suburbs form the southeast portion of Minneapolis-Saint Paul, the sixteenth largest metropolitan area in the United States, with about 3.52 million residents. The population of Cottage Grove was 34,589 at the 2010 census.

There You Have It – The Best Places To Raise A Family In Minnesota

If you’re looking for a breakdown of cities in Minnesota 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 Minnesota according to the data:

  1. St. Cloud
  2. Bemidji
  3. Minneapolis

For more Minnesota reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places For Families In Minnesota

Rank City Population Amenities Score
1 Northfield 20,405 71
2 North Mankato 13,451 49
3 Eagan 65,874 49
4 Chaska 25,078 56
5 Marshall 13,616 54
6 Minnetonka 51,651 97
7 Woodbury 66,699 46
8 Rosemount 23,099 32
9 Lino Lakes 20,758 43
10 Cottage Grove 35,632 33
11 Shakopee 39,656 54
12 Hibbing 16,230 64
13 Farmington 22,226 43
14 Stillwater 19,142 47
15 Grand Rapids 11,053 37
16 Eden Prairie 63,206 32
17 Willmar 19,641 72
18 Blaine 61,210 42
19 Plymouth 75,105 38
20 Lakeville 59,786 41
21 Worthington 13,036 57
22 Maple Grove 66,969 55
23 Champlin 23,929 45
24 Moorhead 41,321 60
25 Ramsey 25,329 56
26 Faribault 23,530 42
27 Rogers 12,284 47
28 Edina 49,976 49
29 New Brighton 22,233 46
30 Sartell 16,442 55
31 Rochester 111,396 52
32 Owatonna 25,580 51
33 White Bear Lake 24,992 41
34 Fairmont 10,311 44
35 Austin 24,841 50
36 Elk River 23,743 55
37 North Branch 10,157 36
38 Cloquet 12,047 47
39 Red Wing 16,484 38
40 Alexandria 13,185 56
41 Albert Lea 17,775 45
42 Brooklyn Park 78,823 35
43 Winona 27,372 51
44 Buffalo 15,927 45
45 New Hope 20,819 40
46 St. Peter 11,567 52
47 Apple Valley 50,602 54
48 Inver Grove Heights 34,757 49
49 Hutchinson 13,891 45
50 Coon Rapids 62,159 37
51 Mounds View 12,708 32
52 Sauk Rapids 13,334 59
53 Mendota Heights 11,231 44
54 Columbia Heights 19,689 52
55 Mankato 40,900 70
56 Crystal 22,777 31
57 Golden Valley 21,040 59
58 North St. Paul 12,102 44
59 Richfield 35,912 55
60 Oakdale 27,956 46
61 Bloomington 85,080 33
62 Fergus Falls 13,310 39
63 Brooklyn Center 30,785 41
64 Burnsville 61,158 38
65 Hopkins 18,077 37
66 Anoka 17,325 31
67 Duluth 86,164 84
68 Hastings 22,501 45
69 Forest Lake 19,208 53
70 Fridley 27,447 58
71 South St. Paul 20,281 39
72 St. Louis Park 47,486 50
73 Brainerd 13,440 40
74 Maplewood 39,678 31
75 St. Paul 297,160 41
76 Roseville 35,254 45
77 West St. Paul 19,779 35
78 Minneapolis 404,670 48
79 Bemidji 14,664 34
80 St. Cloud 66,770 52

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