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 some more reading about Minnesota and the best places for families in the country:

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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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Northfield, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 20,405
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 69
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.

North Mankato, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,451
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 63
Closest Major City: Minneapolis
Households with kids: 33.0%
More on North Mankato: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Eagan, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 65,874
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 53
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.

Chaska, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 25,078
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 57
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.

Marshall, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,616
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 52
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.

Minnetonka, MN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 51,651
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 78
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.

Woodbury, MN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 66,699
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 56
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.

Rosemount, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 23,099
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 42
Closest Major City: St. Paul
Households with kids: 43.1%
More on Rosemount: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Lino Lakes, MN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 20,758
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 37
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.

Cottage Grove, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 35,632
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 41
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 Grow Up 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 53
2 North Mankato 13,451 34
3 Eagan 65,874 48
4 Chaska 25,078 46
5 Marshall 13,616 45
6 Minnetonka 51,651 85
7 Woodbury 66,699 65
8 Rosemount 23,099 60
9 Lino Lakes 20,758 49
10 Cottage Grove 35,632 42
11 Shakopee 39,656 53
12 Hibbing 16,230 50
13 Farmington 22,226 45
14 Stillwater 19,142 40
15 Grand Rapids 11,053 40
16 Eden Prairie 63,206 51
17 Willmar 19,641 94
18 Blaine 61,210 45
19 Plymouth 75,105 47
20 Lakeville 59,786 40
21 Worthington 13,036 43
22 Maple Grove 66,969 38
23 Champlin 23,929 37
24 Moorhead 41,321 71
25 Ramsey 25,329 50
26 Faribault 23,530 38
27 Rogers 12,284 52
28 Edina 49,976 44
29 New Brighton 22,233 33
30 Sartell 16,442 30
31 Rochester 111,396 60
32 Owatonna 25,580 54
33 White Bear Lake 24,992 35
34 Fairmont 10,311 41
35 Austin 24,841 44
36 Elk River 23,743 48
37 North Branch 10,157 58
38 Cloquet 12,047 34
39 Red Wing 16,484 46
40 Alexandria 13,185 37
41 Albert Lea 17,775 53
42 Brooklyn Park 78,823 57
43 Winona 27,372 68
44 Buffalo 15,927 34
45 New Hope 20,819 38
46 St. Peter 11,567 47
47 Apple Valley 50,602 35
48 Inver Grove Heights 34,757 41
49 Hutchinson 13,891 48
50 Coon Rapids 62,159 35
51 Mounds View 12,708 41
52 Sauk Rapids 13,334 59
53 Mendota Heights 11,231 34
54 Columbia Heights 19,689 43
55 Mankato 40,900 65
56 Crystal 22,777 46
57 Golden Valley 21,040 58
58 North St. Paul 12,102 32
59 Richfield 35,912 38
60 Oakdale 27,956 43
61 Bloomington 85,080 57
62 Fergus Falls 13,310 49
63 Brooklyn Center 30,785 38
64 Burnsville 61,158 44
65 Hopkins 18,077 52
66 Anoka 17,325 41
67 Duluth 86,164 80
68 Hastings 22,501 60
69 Forest Lake 19,208 57
70 Fridley 27,447 55
71 South St. Paul 20,281 43
72 St. Louis Park 47,486 45
73 Brainerd 13,440 53
74 Maplewood 39,678 52
75 St. Paul 297,160 48
76 Roseville 35,254 57
77 West St. Paul 19,779 59
78 Minneapolis 404,670 39
79 Bemidji 14,664 48
80 St. Cloud 66,770 36

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