These Are The 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)
  2. North Mankato (Photos)
  3. Eagan (Photos)
  4. Chaska (Photos)
  5. Marshall (Photos)
  6. Minnetonka (Photos)
  7. Woodbury (Photos)
  8. Rosemount (Photos)
  9. Lino Lakes (Photos)
  10. Cottage Grove

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: 60
Closest Major City: St. Paul
Households with kids: 31.5%
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: 56
Closest Major City: Minneapolis
Households with kids: 33.0%

3. Eagan

Eagan, Mn

Population: 65,874
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 54
Closest Major City: St. Paul
Households with kids: 33.9%
Eagan /in/ 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: 41
Closest Major City: Minneapolis
Households with kids: 38.6%
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: 53
Closest Major City: Minneapolis
Households with kids: 30.9%
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: 80
Closest Major City: Minneapolis
Households with kids: 25.8%
Minnetonka (/mntk/ MIN-i-TONG-k) is a suburban city in Hennepin County, Minnesota, United States, eight miles (13 km) 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: 45
Closest Major City: St. Paul
Households with kids: 42.7%
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: 49
Closest Major City: St. Paul
Households with kids: 43.1%

9. Lino Lakes

Lino Lakes, Mn

Source: Public domain

Population: 20,758
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 41
Closest Major City: St. Paul
Households with kids: 42.9%
Lino Lakes (/lano leks/ LY-noh LAYKS) 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

Population: 35,632
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 51
Closest Major City: St. Paul
Households with kids: 43.8%
Cottage Grove /ktd rov/ is a city located 10 miles (16 km) 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

City Rank Population Amenities Score
Northfield 1 20,405 44
North Mankato 2 13,451 35
Eagan 3 65,874 59
Chaska 4 25,078 67
Marshall 5 13,616 54
Minnetonka 6 51,651 93
Woodbury 7 66,699 53
Rosemount 8 23,099 61
Lino Lakes 9 20,758 34
Cottage Grove 10 35,632 54
Shakopee 11 39,656 70
Hibbing 12 16,230 36
Farmington 13 22,226 38
Stillwater 14 19,142 62
Grand Rapids 15 11,053 53
Eden Prairie 16 63,206 36
Willmar 17 19,641 76
Blaine 18 61,210 43
Plymouth 19 75,105 44
Lakeville 20 59,786 38
Worthington 21 13,036 36
Maple Grove 22 66,969 32
Champlin 23 23,929 35
Moorhead 24 41,321 80
Ramsey 25 25,329 54
Faribault 26 23,530 38
Rogers 27 12,284 46
Edina 28 49,976 40
New Brighton 29 22,233 39
Sartell 30 16,442 50
Rochester 31 111,396 68
Owatonna 32 25,580 44
White Bear Lake 33 24,992 60
Fairmont 34 10,311 52
Austin 35 24,841 46
Elk River 36 23,743 52
North Branch 37 10,157 57
Cloquet 38 12,047 61
Red Wing 39 16,484 57
Alexandria 40 13,185 62
Albert Lea 41 17,775 45
Brooklyn Park 42 78,823 43
Winona 43 27,372 54
Buffalo 44 15,927 44
New Hope 45 20,819 60
St. Peter 46 11,567 47
Apple Valley 47 50,602 54
Inver Grove Heights 48 34,757 44
Hutchinson 49 13,891 57
Coon Rapids 50 62,159 40
Mounds View 51 12,708 56
Sauk Rapids 52 13,334 41
Mendota Heights 53 11,231 40
Columbia Heights 54 19,689 46
Mankato 55 40,900 46
Crystal 56 22,777 45
Golden Valley 57 21,040 44
North St. Paul 58 12,102 45
Richfield 59 35,912 39
Oakdale 60 27,956 54
Bloomington 61 85,080 50
Fergus Falls 62 13,310 60
Brooklyn Center 63 30,785 41
Burnsville 64 61,158 35
Hopkins 65 18,077 57
Anoka 66 17,325 40
Duluth 67 86,164 80
Hastings 68 22,501 60
Forest Lake 69 19,208 41
Fridley 70 27,447 57
South St. Paul 71 20,281 42
St. Louis Park 72 47,486 41
Brainerd 73 13,440 55
Maplewood 74 39,678 35
St. Paul 75 297,160 47
Roseville 76 35,254 54
West St. Paul 77 19,779 36
Minneapolis 78 404,670 51
Bemidji 79 14,664 50
St. Cloud 80 66,770 40

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