The 10 Worst Cities to Raise a Family
Choosing when, or whether, to have children is one of the most challenging decisions many couples face. In trying to figure out if they're ready to start a family, they'll need to weigh several important questions: Do we have enough money to provide for our children's needs? Can one of us take time off from work to care for a child? Are we emotionally prepared for parenthood?
And if you live in one of the 10 cities listed below--ranked the worst for raising a family--you'll have a few additional questions to confront: How can we raise our children in such a challenging environment? Should we consider moving? The rankings are based on graduation rates (according to the EPE Research Center), number of playgrounds (according to the Center for City Park Excellence), overall crime rates (according to Sperling's Best Places), and cost of living (according to the ACCRA Cost of Living Index).
- Detroit, Michigan. The city of Detroit has by far the lowest graduation rate, with only a dismal 21.7 percent of students finishing high school. With such poor educational performance coupled with its high crime rate, it's no wonder Detroit topped our list. Even its relatively high number of playgrounds (nearly four per 10,000 residents) didn't make it child-friendly.
- Miami, Florida. Miami's bar scene may be a tropical playground for adults, but it doesn't have many playgrounds for children (only 1.4 per 10,000 residents). In addition, it has one of the worst crime rates and a shoddy graduation rate of 45 percent.
- Baltimore, Maryland. To fans of HBO's The Wire, it's probably not a surprise to see Baltimore on this list. With merely 38.5 percent of its students completing high school, Baltimore's graduation rate is second only to Detroit's. Its high crime rates make it an even less desirable place to raise children.
- Memphis, Tennessee. Like all the cities on this list, Memphis graduates less than half its students (48.5 percent). Despite having the lowest cost of living, it ranks as one of the worst cities for kids by having the highest crime rate.
- Dallas, Texas. Dallas is the first of three Texas cities to make the list, proving that the Lone Star State isn't a shining example of a place to raise your family. Few playgrounds, a 46 percent graduation rate, and high crime allow Dallas to round out the top five.
- New York City. It may come as a surprise to some, but New York City is actually the safest place on our list. However, its exorbitant cost of living and meager graduation rate (less than 40 percent) still make it a bad place to raise children.
- Fort Worth, Texas. Not surprisingly, Fort Worth has a lot of the same problems that Dallas has: low graduation rates and high crime. One area where it does do better is in the number of playgrounds.
- Houston, Texas. Not everything is bigger in Texas. Sure, the dropout rate in Houston is bigger and the crime rate is bigger, but the number of park playgrounds is certainly smaller.
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Milwaukee graduates only 43 percent of its students and can't boast that it has many playgrounds for its children.
- Los Angeles, California. With the second highest cost of living, only one playground per 10,000 residents, and a meager graduation rate, it's no surprise that the City of Angels completes the top 10 worst cities for children.
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