The Best Places to Live for Young Families in New York
When you’re just starting a family, there are many lifestyle changes you’ll need to consider. Among them may be picking a new spot to call home — and this could involve getting a mortgage. As you plan to put down roots in a new neighborhood, you’ll be considering factors such as housing prices, the quality of the school system and available job opportunities. Ideally, you’ll find a place that offers the best mix of all of these factors. To help you in your quest, LendingTree researchers compiled a list of the best places to live for families in New York. Here’s what they found.
- Endwell is the best place to raise a family in New York, with a final score of 68.
- Eggertsville and Brighton take the second and third spots with final scores of 67.4 and 66.1, respectively.
- On the other end of the list, we found Gloversville to be the most challenging place for young families in New York, with a final score of 41.2
- Poughkeepsie and New York City finished out the bottom three towns on our list, with final scores of 42.6 and 42.8, respectively.
The top 10 cities to live in New York
Endwell is a suburb of Binghamton. Approximately three in four residents with children here own their home. It also has the lowest median monthly housing cost ($752) of all of the cities on this list. Residents enjoy an average commute that’s shorter than 20 minutes, and fewer than 2% of 25- to 44-year olds are unemployed. And, according to the stats, every 16- to 19-year-old who lives in Endwell is either enrolled in or graduated from high school. That all adds up to a solid choice, especially if you’re looking for a city that puts education at the top of its list of priorities.
Eggertsville is a northern city, located close to Buffalo and Lake Ontario. There are some areas where Eggertsville has No. 1-choice Endwell beat — namely, a slightly shorter average commute (17 minutes to Endwell’s 18) and a larger percentage of families with children (30.5% to 24.3%). And it matches that impressive statistic for 16- to 19-year olds enrolled in or graduated from high school. The city does, however, have a slightly lower median income for households with children ($81,250 to $84,732). And the average housing costs, while still extremely favorable to young families, at $965, are slightly higher per month. That, combined with its single-percentage-point higher average unemployment rate for residents ages 25 to 44 helps Eggertsville slip into the No. 2 spot on the list.
With a final score of 66.1, Brighton — a landlocked city just south of Rochester — ties with Colonie for the No. 3 spot. Residents with children enjoy a fairly high median annual income topping $100,000 (that’s almost $20,000 more than Eggertsville). Plus, the housing costs aren’t out of proportion with that increase in income. For context, they are only about $150 more per month than you might see in Eggertsville. Brighton also has a comparable average commute time and unemployment rate. But it’s a city that’s less popular among those with kids (about 23% of households have children), and within that population, there’s also a slightly lower homeownership rate, which drops it to the No. 3 slot.
In comparison to Brighton, Colonie, which is located northwest of Albany, close to the New Hampshire and Massachusetts borders, has a slightly higher median income for households with children, higher housing costs and a longer average commute time (which only amounts to a 1.4-minute difference). Homeownership, however, is more prevalent here, as about 80% of families with kids own instead of renting. So that’s a good sign if you plan on getting a mortgage. On the flipside, however, Colonie also has a slightly higher unemployment rate among 25- to 44-year olds, which is 3.2%.
Landing smack in the middle of the list with a final score of 65.3 is Kenmore, a city that sits between Buffalo and Niagara Falls. The median monthly housing cost is just $890 — that’s more than $200 cheaper than Colonie (tied for #3). And when you look at annual earnings, with a median for households with kids at $70,000, that makes for a favorable combination. The city does leave something to be desired if you’re looking for an area with a large, established community of young, growing families (just 22% of households have kids). However, that is only two percentage points lower than No. 1-city Endwell.
Rye is located northeast of New York City, along the northern edge of Long Island Sound. Most residents with children own their home (82.6%), and almost 42% of households have children. And according to the data, it’s also something of an outlier compared to our other top 10 cities. For example, the median household income for households with kids, topping $250,000, is the highest by far. More of that money may go to housing costs, however, which average out to $2,817 per month — also the highest on our list. Rye also has the longest commute time, at 37.7 minutes.
Compared to the other cities, Scotia — a city along the Mohawk River, just north of Schenectady — has the lowest median household income for families with children, coming in at just over $64,000 annually. However, the housing costs, which average a little more than $1,000 a month, are still pretty low. And while only one in four households has kids, about 83% of those who do also own their home. That said, the unemployment rate for those between 25 and 44 is on the high side, at 2.5%. Ultimately, its final score is 64.9, which is just 0.3 less than Rye (#6).
#8 Setauket-East Setauket
Setauket-East Setauket is located east of New York City, alongside Long Island Sound. Over a third of residents have kids. And an impressive 93.9% of those families own their home. But the commute is a bit long, topping the 30-minute mark. And although the annual median income for families with kids comes in at a relatively high $174,459, the monthly housing costs ($2,345) are a bit steep when compared to the other cities on this list. The city comes in with a final score of 64.7.
#9 West Glens Falls
West Glens Falls is north of Albany, close to the Virginia border as well as Green Mountain National Forest. Compared to some of the other top-10 cities, the average annual income for households with kids, at $70,882, is relatively modest. Though it’s worth noting that Kenmore (#5) has an annual income figure that’s a few hundred dollars less than this, West Glens Falls doesn’t deliver on the expectation of proportionately lower median housing costs as Kenmore does, instead requiring a little more than $1,000 a month for residents. About seventy-three percent of families with kids own the home in which they live.
With a final score of 64.3 — that’s less than four points total than the No. 1 city on this list — Hamburg makes the cutoff for the 10 best cities in New York for young families. This city is located just south of Buffalo, alongside Lake Erie. Although the annual earnings for those with children doesn’t quite crack the $100,000 mark, it does provide residents with reasonable housing costs (just over $1,000 a month) as well as the opportunity to own their home, as more than 75% of those with kids do. The main drawback, however, is the 3% unemployment rate for 25- to 44-year olds, which can be a negative for those who might be early in their career or don’t have the luxury of a certain amount of stability from their job.
Understanding the rankings
We chose six indicators to rank cities and towns with above 5,000 people in each state for how good they are for young families, which were then scored to create an overall ranking of the best places for young families. The six indicators we used are:
- Median family income: Money isn’t everything, but a place with high family incomes suggests a place with good job opportunities and a community with more resources.
- Median monthly housing costs for all households: For families already dealing with new childcare expenses, reasonably affordable housing is important.
- Homeownership rate of families with children: This indicates homeownership is both more common and, perhaps important for a family looking to buy, more practical.
- Unemployment rate of 25- to 44-year-olds: This indicates where the job market is healthy and suggests a higher quality of life, locally. We focused on 25- to 44-year-olds in particular to capture the most common ages for parents of young families.
- Percentage of 16- to 19-year-olds not enrolled or graduated from high school: To estimate high school graduation rates and therefore school quality, we calculated the percentage of older teenagers who were not in high school yet had no high school degree. This number is not the actual high school dropout rate, but is well-correlated.
- Average commute time: Shorter commutes mean less-stressed workers who have more time to spend with their families.
Analysts used data from the 2017 5-Year American Community Survey by the U.S. Census. Each of the six metrics was given a value according to their relative location between the highest and lowest values. The values were then summed and divided by six for an equal weighting. The analysis was limited to Census-designated places with populations of at least 5,000.