10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Pennsylvania For 2018

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

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

  1. Easton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Greensburg (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Emmaus (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Meadville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Lansdale (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Carlisle (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Ephrata (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Columbia (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Bethlehem (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Franklin Park (Photos | Homes For Sale)

If you’re thinking of making a move to Pennsylvania, 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 Pennsylvania and the best places for families in the country:

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

To give you the places in Pennsylvania 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 Keystone 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 Pennsylvania, 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 Pennsylvania, that meant a total of 49 cities.

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

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Easton, PA

Source: Public domain
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Population: 27,014
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 65
Closest Major City: Philadelphia
Households with kids: 32.7%
More on Easton: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Easton is a city in and the seat of Northampton County, Pennsylvania, United States. The city’s population was 26,800 as of the 2010 census. Easton is located at the confluence of the Delaware River and the Lehigh River, roughly 55 miles north of Philadelphia and 70 miles west of New York City.

Greensburg, PA

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Population: 14,572
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 63
Closest Major City: Pittsburgh
Households with kids: 22.2%
More on Greensburg: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Greensburg is a city in and the county seat of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, United States, and a part of the Pittsburgh Metro Area. The city lies within the Laurel Highlands and the ecoregion of the Western Allegheny Plateau. The city is named after Nathanael Greene, a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. The population was 14,892 at the 2010 census.

Emmaus, PA

Source: Public domain
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Population: 11,363
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 38
Closest Major City: Philadelphia
Households with kids: 28.1%
More on Emmaus: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Emmaus is a borough in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. It is located 5 miles southwest of Allentown, Pennsylvania, in the Lehigh Valley region of the state. It also lies 50 miles north of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s largest city, and 20 miles west of the Delaware River. Emmaus is located in the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the New York City-Newark, New Jersey, NY-NJ-CT-PA Combined Statistical Area.

Meadville, PA

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Population: 13,134
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 47
Closest Major City: Cleveland
Households with kids: 24.5%
More on Meadville: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Meadville is a city in and the county seat of Crawford County, Pennsylvania, United States. The city is within 40 miles of Erie, Pennsylvania and within 90 miles of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was the first permanent settlement in northwest Pennsylvania. The population was 13,388 at the 2010 census. The city of Meadville is the principal city of the Meadville, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area. As well as one of two cities, the other being Erie, that make up the larger Erie-Meadville, PA Combined Statistical Area.

Lansdale, PA

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Population: 16,454
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 38
Closest Major City: Philadelphia
Households with kids: 31.3%
More on Lansdale: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Lansdale is a borough in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 28 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Early in the 20th century, its industries included agricultural implement works, a canning factory, foundries, brickyards, a silk mill, and manufacturers of cigars, stoves, shirts, rope, iron drain pipe, and glue. In 1900, 2,754 people lived here; in 1910, 3,551; and in 1940, 9,316 people were inhabitants of Lansdale. The population was 16,269 at the time of the 2010 census.

Carlisle, PA

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Population: 19,014
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 50
Closest Major City: Baltimore
Households with kids: 28.7%
More on Carlisle: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Carlisle is a borough and the county seat of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, United States. The name is locally pronounced as in British English with emphasis on the second syllable. Carlisle is located within the Cumberland Valley, a highly productive agricultural region. As of the 2010 census, the borough population was 18,682; the estimated population as of 2014 was 18,916. Including suburbs in the neighboring townships, 37,695 live in the Carlisle urban cluster. Carlisle is an exurb of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to the east.

Ephrata, PA

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Population: 13,714
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 59
Closest Major City: Philadelphia
Households with kids: 32.5%
More on Ephrata: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Ephrata is a borough in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States, 38 miles south east of Harrisburg and about 57 miles west by north of Philadelphia. It is named after Ephrath, a biblical town in what is now Israel. Ephrata’s sister city is Eberbach, Germany, the city where its founders originated. In its early history, Ephrata was a pleasure resort and an agricultural community.

Columbia, PA

Source: Public domain
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Population: 10,382
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 40
Closest Major City: Baltimore
Households with kids: 31.9%
More on Columbia: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Columbia, formerly Wright’s Ferry, is a borough in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 28 miles southeast of Harrisburg on the east bank of the Susquehanna River, across from Wrightsville and York County and just south of U.S. Route 30. The settlement was founded in 1726 by Colonial English Quakers from Chester County led by entrepreneur and evangelist John Wright. Establishment of the eponymous Wright’s Ferry, the first commercial Susquehanna crossing in the region, inflamed territorial conflict with neighboring Maryland but brought growth and prosperity to the small town, which was just a few votes shy of becoming the new United States’ capital. Though besieged for a short while by Civil War destruction, Columbia remained a lively center of transport and industry throughout the 19th century, once serving as a terminus of the Pennsylvania Canal. Later, however, the Great Depression and 20th-century changes in economy and technology sent the borough into decline. It is notable today as the site of one of the world’s few museums devoted entirely to horology.

Bethlehem, PA

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Population: 75,110
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 53
Closest Major City: Philadelphia
Households with kids: 28.8%
More on Bethlehem: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Bethlehem is a city in Lehigh and Northampton counties in the Lehigh Valley region of the eastern portion of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 74,982, making it the seventh largest city in Pennsylvania, after Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Allentown, Erie, Reading, and Scranton. Of this, 55,639 were in Northampton County, and 19,343 were in Lehigh County.

Franklin Park, PA

Source: Public domain
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Population: 14,228
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 52
Closest Major City: Pittsburgh
Households with kids: 42.8%
More on Franklin Park: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Franklin Park is a borough in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 13,470 at the 2010 census.

There You Have It – The Best Places To Grow Up In Pennsylvania

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

  1. Hermitage
  2. Wilkinsburg
  3. Philadelphia

For more Pennsylvania reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places For Families In Pennsylvania

Rank City Population Amenities Score
1 Easton 27,014 70
2 Greensburg 14,572 71
3 Emmaus 11,363 63
4 Meadville 13,134 40
5 Lansdale 16,454 44
6 Carlisle 19,014 46
7 Ephrata 13,714 42
8 Columbia 10,382 51
9 Bethlehem 75,110 51
10 Franklin Park 14,228 52
11 Phoenixville 16,638 60
12 Nanticoke 10,302 35
13 Lansdowne 10,621 33
14 Whitehall 13,873 33
15 Uniontown 10,094 46
16 Harrisburg 49,160 75
17 Waynesboro 10,764 52
18 West Chester 19,434 56
19 Hazleton 24,954 64
20 York 43,848 71
21 Coatesville 13,132 60
22 Reading 87,899 81
23 West Mifflin 20,153 54
24 Lebanon 25,654 52
25 Berwick 10,276 46
26 Lancaster 59,341 77
27 Yeadon 11,506 38
28 Johnstown 20,169 44
29 Chambersburg 20,576 55
30 Pottsville 13,955 55
31 Scranton 76,380 76
32 Hanover 15,429 54
33 Lower Burrell 11,527 32
34 Sharon 13,659 56
35 Williamsport 29,180 54
36 Erie 100,157 67
37 Darby 10,677 55
38 New Castle 22,500 48
39 Allentown 119,624 54
40 Wyomissing 10,442 44
41 Altoona 45,209 45
42 Chester 34,056 52
43 Kingston 12,996 44
44 State College 42,074 38
45 Pittsburgh 305,305 100
46 Dunmore 13,627 60
47 Philadelphia 1,559,938 100
48 Wilkinsburg 15,797 54
49 Hermitage 16,077 54

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