10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Pennsylvania For 2019


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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Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our second time ranking the best cities for families in Pennsylvania.

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What do you remember most from your childhood? Was it watching Disney Channel Original Movies on weekends? Was it ice skating with your friends at birthday parties or playing capture the flag in parks?

Or perhaps you spent afternoons wandering through local trails and taking hikes with your family’s dog. If your family liked the city-scene better, did you spend weekend nights in the larger cities and seeing shows?

If you grew up in Pennsylvania, you probably had a childhood that reflected these experiences. Do you remember seeing the Liberty Bell for the first time or asking why you don’t have handwriting like the Founding Fathers?

If history wasn’t your favorite subject, perhaps food was (and probably still is, because who doesn’t appreciate some delicious food). Do you remember your first Philly Cheesesteak? Or walking through the city eating massive soft pretzels?

Whenever you think about where to raise your own family, you inevitably think about your own childhood. You probably want to take all the best parts of your childhood and make that the foundation for your future family.

And when we think of childhood, we often think of one thing in particular: where we lived.

While we may not be able to advise you on the best food in Pennsylvania, we can tell you which cities are the best in the state for raising your family. That way, you don’t have to stress about the big ideas and can focus on the details: like where the Slip & Slide will fit in your backyard.

Wondering which cities made the cut?

We analyzed 53 cities in Pennsylvania and determined which cities are the best of the best for families based on our “family-friendliness factors. What makes a city family-friendly, you might ask? Easy: low crime, good schools, and fun things to do.

So which city reigned supreme? Emmaus, Pennsylvania. Located just outside Allentown and near enough to Philadelphia and New York City for weekend trips, this town is a winner for families.

Interested to see what makes each city so great families? Read on to learn more about our methodology and a detailed look at our top 10.

Or, check out some more reading about Pennsylvania and the best places for families in the country:

The 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Pennsylvania For 2019

Emmaus, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 11,360
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 56
Closest Major City: Philadelphia
Households with kids: 27.3%
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.

Greensburg, PA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 14,476
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 70
Closest Major City: Pittsburgh
Households with kids: 22.1%
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.

Meadville, PA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 13,105
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 48
Closest Major City: Cleveland
Households with kids: 22.9%
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.

Easton, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 27,045
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 53
Closest Major City: Philadelphia
Households with kids: 26.4%
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.

Lansdale, PA

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 16,506
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 34
Closest Major City: Philadelphia
Households with kids: 31.1%
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

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 19,113
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 54
Closest Major City: Baltimore
Households with kids: 26.9%
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.

Phoenixville, PA

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 16,743
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 60
Closest Major City: Philadelphia
Households with kids: 23.0%
More on Phoenixville: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Phoenixville is a borough in Chester County, Pennsylvania, United States, 28 miles northwest of Philadelphia, at the junction of French Creek with the Schuylkill River. It is located in the Philadelphia Metro Area. The population is 16,440 as of the 2010 Census.

Franklin Park, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 14,301
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 47
Closest Major City: Pittsburgh
Households with kids: 41.5%
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.

Columbia, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 10,430
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 56
Closest Major City: Baltimore
Households with kids: 25.3%
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.

Review Of Columbia by HomeSnacks User

The crimes are not bad like other places. The are not to good but really cool teachers.

My favorite place was downtown. It is beautiful. Things to watch for high schoolers fighting in the streets, but not to many.

Ephrata, PA

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 13,785
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 38
Closest Major City: Philadelphia
Households with kids: 28.4%
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.

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 53 cities.

There You Have It – The Best Places To Raise A Family 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. Mckeesport
  3. Philadelphia

For more Pennsylvania reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places For Families In Pennsylvania?

Rank City Population Amenities Score
1 Emmaus, PA 11,360 59
2 Greensburg, PA 14,476 60
3 Meadville, PA 13,105 43
4 Easton, PA 27,045 52
5 Lansdale, PA 16,506 61
6 Carlisle, PA 19,113 60
7 Phoenixville, PA 16,743 37
8 Franklin Park, PA 14,301 57
9 Columbia, PA 10,430 40
10 Ephrata, PA 13,785 43

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