Applause for Plano
Kid-friendly Dallas neighbor named No. 1 U.S. city for families in new report
Here's good news for the 33 percent of Plano families who are raising children: A recent report names the Dallas suburb the No. 1 most family-friendly city in the United States.
In StorageCafe.com's recent analysis of 100 large and mid-size cities to raise a family, Plano places highest.
“Plano, TX, Virginia Beach, VA and Lincoln, NE get to the front of the pack of the most family-friendly cities, with a great mix of family-oriented amenities, a reasonable cost of living, and good schools," the report says.
StorageCafe, an online platform that provides storage unit listings across the nation, evaluated 29 factors including public school rankings, childcare cost, neighborhood safety, and community amenities to determine the best cities to live in for families with children. When all factors were considered, Plano ranked number one.
On its way to the top spot, Plano earned outstanding grades in the area of education. Of the cities considered, Plano’s public schools were rated the highest, and the city claims a 96 percent graduation rate.
“Additionally,” the study says, “close to 60 percent of Plano residents aged 25 and over hold a bachelor’s degree, one of the highest shares of college graduates among the adult population in our ranking.”
City amenities also contributed to Plano’s high score. The city came in third nationally for luxury apartment construction over the past decade and offers 4.7 playgrounds per 10,000 people, well above the average from the study (2.9/10K). The report also mentions year-round pleasant weather, a significant number of swimming pools, and family-friendly local events like the Plano Balloon Festival.
Another factor that raised Plano’s profile is affordability. While home prices are above average in Plano ($533,000), the median income ($116,000/year) is higher, as well. Healthcare availability was another factor, with Plano boasting the second highest number of healthcare establishments per capita.
“Plano has long been recognized as one of the country’s most family-friendly cities. We’re proud to offer all the amenities families seek in a place to live – a top-tier education system, a reasonable cost of living, a fantastic parks system, all in a safe and clean environment," says Mark Thompson, executive director of Visit Plano.
Mid-size cities like Plano dominated the list, and Texas cities snagged five of the top 20 spots.
Austin and Lubbock edged into the top 10 at ninth and 10th place, respectively.
No. 9-Austin ranked second for public school ratings, and touted a mid-range affordability factor, with child-care costs rated as “moderate.”
"As one of the favorite moving destinations in the U.S., Austin’s real estate scene is by no means cheap, but compared to other buzzing urban hubs, it still provides access to comfortable living," the report says. "Zooming in specifically on the cost of homes, prices are in fact above average, hovering at about $642,000. However, family incomes are some of the most generous on our list ($121,000/year), thanks, in part, to Austin’s status as the tech and innovation hub."
Lubbock ranked 25th in public school ratings and among the lowest prices for groceries, childcare, homes, and apartment rent.
El Paso and Laredo, with overall rankings of 12th and 15th, also offer low cost of living, although it’s offset by lower median income. Public education in both cities was rated in the top third. Laredo scored above average on the number of parks per 10,000 people (3.4) and seventh out of 100 cities for the number of basketball hoops (9.5) per person.
Judging by this report, it looks like bigger cities aren’t necessarily better for families with children. San Antonio (55), Fort Worth (56), Dallas (63), and Houston (69) ranked in the bottom half of the 100 cities considered, while Irving (24), Garland (48), and Arlington (49) were in the top half.