Washington tops list of best U.S. cities for families

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 15, 2011 4:13 PM
Washington tops list of best U.S. cities for families

By James B. Kelleher

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Washington D.C. took the No. 1 spot in Parenting Magazine's latest list of the Top U.S. Cities for Families, the publication said on Wednesday.

The U.S. capital replaced nearby Arlington, Virginia, which tumbled to No. 70 as a result of changes in the way cities were judged this year.

Austin, Texas, took the No. 2 spot and Boston claimed No. 3 on the magazine's list, which considers a variety of factors -- including school quality, housing availability, employment rates, and the number of registered sex offenders -- when ranking municipalities.

St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota; Des Moines, Iowa; Madison, Wisconsin; Honolulu, Hawaii; Omaha, Nebraska; Seattle, Washington; and Louisville, Kentucky, rounded out the Top 10 list, which also weighs health- and child- care availability, commuting times and air quality.

A number of cities that ranked high last year slipped this year because the magazine added a "charm and culture index" to its considerations, which editors said in a statement "skewed the rankings higher for cities with more museums, kid-friendly restaurants, performing arts venues."

The biggest loser as a result of the change was Scottsdale, Arizona, which went from No. 8 last year to No. 91 this year.

The city ranking last on the list was Anaheim, Calif., home -- ironically -- to the iconic Disneyland family theme park.

Five other California cities -- Riverside, Bakersfield, Long Beach, Fresno and Los Angeles -- joined Anaheim in the bottom 10 of the list, along with Las Vegas, Nevada; Mesa, Arizona; Arlington, Texas; and Scottsdale.

Recession-battered Detroit, Michigan, ranked No. 90.

The article, and a complete ranking of the cities, is available online at http://www.parenting.com/gallery/2011-best-cities-to-live.

(Reporting by James B. Kelleher. Editing by Peter Bohan)