Happy Families

North Dallas suburb feels the love for its family-friendliness

North Dallas suburb feels the love for its family-friendliness

Two little girls in a bluebonnet field
Families sure do love Plano. Photo by Jeff R. Clow, Getty Images

For the third year in a row, Plano has nabbed itself a spot among the top 5 most family-friendly cities in America. WalletHub's annual list regularly includes the Dallas suburb, and this year it climbed up one to land at No. 3.

To compile this list, the personal finance website compared 41 key metrics — everything from housing affordability to school-system quality to the number of families with young kids — for the country's 150 most populated cities.

All that data was then grouped into five categories: family fun, health and safety, education and child care, affordability, and socio-economics.

Plano coasts to the top in three of them, earning a No. 2 ranking for health and safety, affordability, and socio-economics. That last one especially makes sense when you learn that Plano has the overall third-highest median family salary (which is adjusted for cost of living) and the fourth-lowest number of families living below the poverty level. It's also called out as one of the five cities with the lowest divorce rate.

Where Plano doesn't fare so well is the family fun category, which measures such wide-ranging things as the city's number of ice rinks, playgrounds, parks, and other attractions (zoos, theaters, museums) to the ideal weather and commute time. There, we rank a miserable 123 out of 150.

Education and child care is middle of the road at No. 76, with school-system quality and day-care services per capita carrying the most weight.

Austin is the next Texas city on the list at No. 33, followed by Amarillo (No. 43) and Grand Prairie (No. 47). Fort Worth shows up at No. 71, while San Antonio pops up at No. 89. Houston and Dallas are the Lone Star State's least family-friendly cities, falling all the way down to Nos. 107 and 110.

But at least they're doing better than Birmingham, Alabama, which comes in dead last with a particularly dismal score for health and safety. While Overland Park, Kansas, has a suspiciously low family fun rank, its stellar health and safety, affordability, and socio-economic scores help boost it to an overall first-place finish.