The Best Places to Live for Young Families in Ohio
Raising young kids can certainly be a challenge, but new parents can make their lives a bit easier by choosing to settle in a family-friendly community. By living in a neighborhood that has several advantages for families, you may even put yourself in a better position to qualify for a mortgage. There are many family-friendly communities in Ohio, but which are the best? Researchers at LendingTree considered several factors — including housing costs, school systems and median incomes — when compiling this list of the top communities for families in Ohio. Here’s what they found.
- New Albany is the best place to raise a family in Ohio, with a final score of 74.6.
- Bexley and Madeira take the second and third spots, with final scores of 72.9 and 72.5, respectively.
- On the other end of the list, we found East Cleveland to be the most challenging place for young families in Ohio, with a final score of 31.8.
- Trotwood and East Liverpool finished out the bottom three towns on our list, with final scores of 37.8 and 38.1, respectively.
The top 10 cities to live in Ohio
#1 New Albany
New Albany is a prosperous area well-suited to skilled workers who can command high wages. The median household income here for families with children is a hefty $242,950 per year. Housing costs are equally high at $2,800 per month. Furthermore, a majority of households (57.4%, to be exact) in this Columbus suburb have children, too, so your tots will probably not be hurting for play-date options. The only downside is, compared to all the other cities on our list, New Albany has a relatively high percentage of older teens who aren’t currently in school or who haven’t graduated: 3.4%. This is one indicator that the school system may not be up to par for this pricey area.
Bexley is another Columbus suburb that’s just a short hop outside of the capital city. It’s an eight-minute drive from Bexley to the city center, although most people living here have an average commute time of 18 minutes, which is still very reasonable. Bexley isn’t quite as well-heeled as New Albany; the median household income for families here is $130,732 per year — more than $100,000 less than in New Albany. The good news is it’s cheaper to live here; the median housing cost is $1,549 per month. Unemployment does tick up just a bit, too, to 2.3% among residents of prime family-rearing age.
The Madeira neighborhood in northeast Cincinnati has a smaller proportion of families with children than some on this list, at just less than 36%. The community is also home to the Kenwood Country Club, which takes up a large portion of the land here. Even so, the median monthly housing cost for families is a relatively reasonable $1,504 per month. Most families here — 91.2% — own their own home, allowing them to build equity. One of the highlights of living in this community is the average commute time is just 20 minutes; Cincinnati is an approximately 15-minute drive away.
Don’t let Oakwood fool you — living here is essentially the same thing as residing in Dayton itself. In fact, the University of Dayton is located just north of the boundaries of this neighborhood. If you need a respite from city life, Oakwood is also surrounded by country clubs, golf courses and parks. Living in Oakwood is relatively affordable for families, and the median monthly housing cost for homes with children is $1,422. The median household income for families in the area is $139,509. You’ll have plenty of time to spend with your family, too, as the average commute time is just short of 20 minutes.
Montgomery is about an 18-minute drive from Cincinnati, a bit shorter than the average commute time of about 23 minutes. This is another community that supports homeownership, as nearly 95% of families in the area own their own homes. The median income here for households with children is $169,773, and monthly median housing costs are $1,657. As is the case with many Ohio communities on our top 10 list, there are no older teens who aren’t attending school or who haven’t yet graduated from school, which points to a strong educational system.
Wyoming is yet another northern Cincinnati suburb that ranks as a top place to raise children. After all, nearly 42% of households in the area have kids. There are plenty of things for children to do here, as the community is located a short drive from the Cincinnati Zoo to the south and large expanses of wildflower and woodland preserves to the north. The median family income is a comfortable $144,818, and median monthly housing costs are $1,513. A large percentage of families — nearly 85% — own their homes.
Rossford sits on the banks of the beautiful Maumee River, just outside of Toledo. It’s another place with a good school system (all older teens have either graduated or are still in school), and it’s also located right next to Owens Community College. Rossford is by far the most affordable community on our top 10 list, as the median housing cost is $931 per month. On the flipside, the median household income for families is lower, too, at $88,571, but that still provides plenty for raising a family comfortably in this area.
#8 Grandview Heights
As far as Columbus suburbs on our list go, Grandview Heights may be thought of as the Goldilocks community. Residents with families earn a median household income of $163,875, which is between that of Bexley and New Albany, the two other Columbus suburbs on our list so far. Grandview Heights is also the closest community to downtown Columbus, which helps with commute times. In fact, the average resident spends just about 17 minutes per day commuting to and from work, the shortest commute time for all the Ohio cities on our top 10 list. Even though residents of Grandview Heights earn more than their Bexley counterparts, housing costs are even lower here, at a median of $1,452 per month.
Springboro can trace its roots back to the 1800s, when it was a peaceful Quaker community. Now, Springboro has matured into an area offering a quaint country-like setting with easy access to jobs in nearby Dayton. In the evening, parents can retreat back to the community via a relatively short 23-minute average commute. Families earn a median amount of $125,294 annually and pay median monthly housing costs of $1,366. Unemployment for 25- to 44-year-old residents is just a bit higher here than for some of the other Ohio cities on our list, at 2.3%, but that’s still well below the average for Ohio in general.
Although Powell is yet another Columbus suburb, there’s a lot more to offer here to keep kids active and engaged. The community sits wedged between the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the large Highbanks Metro Park and the nearby Scioto River and its associated riverside parks. Families here earn a good income (the median is $163,161), but housing costs are relatively high at $2,132 per month. Still, even with this high price tag, nearly 98% of families with kids own their own homes. A rather large number of community households (about 51%) also have kids, so there will be plenty of potential pals for your own children.
Understanding the rankings
We chose seven indicators to rank cities and towns with above 5,000 people in the 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 seven indicators we used are:
- Median family income: Money isn’t everything, but a place with high family incomes suggests 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: A high rate indicates homeownership is more common and, perhaps more importantly for a family looking to buy, more practical.
- Unemployment rate of 25-44 year olds: A low rate indicates the job market is healthy and suggests a higher quality of life, locally. We focused on 25-44 year olds in particular to capture the most common ages for parents of young families.
- Percentage of 16-19 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 it is well-correlated.
- Average commute time: Shorter commutes mean less-stressed workers who have more time to spend with their families.
- Percentage of households that have children: A community with more children means other families have already decided it’s attractive. It also usually means more educational and recreational activities suitable for children and their parents and residents who are concerned about policies that benefit families with kids.
Analysts used data from the 2017 5-Year American Community Survey by the U.S. Census. Each of the seven metrics was given a value according to its relative location between the highest and lowest values. The values were then summed and divided by seven for an equal weighting. The analysis was limited to Census-designated places with populations of at least 5,000.