Frisco was named the best city for raising a family, closely followed by Allen, and Southlake as part of a new 2018 “best Texas cities” list, ranking the best and worst Texas cities for families. Wallethub, a D.C.-based personal finance site, compiled the new June 2018 report that ranked the 117 largest cities in Texas based on family life, fun, education, health and safety, affordability and socioeconomic environment.
What makes a city good for raising a family? Plenty of attractions such as museums and theaters, a quality school system, high graduation rates, number of playgrounds per 100,000 residents and a whole lot of pediatricians were all factors that Wallethub took into account when it named the best Texas cities for families.
While the weighted scores and rankings provide a holistic view of cities, a look at the raw data we requested provides some interesting headlines as well. Missing from the list is Highland Park, which did not rank among the largest cities in Wallethub’s data.
Eagles vs. Dragons
Turning to education, Allen had the number one highest graduation rate in Texas – 96.6 percent, according to Wallethub’s data. Frisco, the overall number one, has a 91.8 percent graduation rate, and Southlake, overall number three on the list, had a 87.3 percent graduation rate, according to Wallethub.
But before we get an angry call from Southlake’s Carroll ISD, we must note these rates are slightly different than the Texas Education Agency’s measure of ninth graders who graduate in four years because Wallethub’s data was adjusted or weighted for class size. By the TEA’s measure, Southlake has a 99 percent graduation rate; Frisco has 98.2 percent and Allen has 97.8 percent.
Wallethub also recognized Southlake as having the highest school quality ranking among cities ranked on this list, measured by the 2017 Schooldigger City Score.
Southlake Is For Lovers, Allen Not So Much
Divorce attorneys aren’t making any money off Southlake couples, as the city boasts the lowest divorce rate in Texas – 8.19 percent. Of the top three cities ranked overall, Frisco ranked 10th lowest in the state at 12.12 percent and in Allen, 14 percent of the population is divorcing, which places them 13th in the state. (Still pretty good, we’re just messing with you Allen.) On Wallethub’s ranking, the state’s lowest divorce rates coincide with the wealthiest cities, with Southlake, Colleyville, and Sugar Land in the top three lowest splits. Big Spring, Texas City and Galveston had the top three highest divorce rates.
Suburbanites, Your Commute Still Sucks
Though Frisco, Allen and Southlake ranked win, place, and show in this report for family living, mom and dad have some of the worst commute times in the state. Frisco ranked 95th worst one-way commute time with 29.7 minutes on average. Southlake and Allen ranked 89th and 79th worst respectively with similar commute times of just a few minutes less. The national average is 25.4 minutes, which is the longest its been since the Census Bureau started tracking U.S. commute times.
Top 12 North Texas Cities
Did your suburb make the list? See the top 12 north Texas cities and scroll down to see the complete list of 117 largest cities in Texas.
Home to The Star, the Roughriders and FC Dallas, Frisco outshone the rest with high rankings in several categories, including the number of attractions. It also had the third highest median family income adjusted for cost of living, $117,784 according to Wallethub.
And here’s something we already knew by the sheer volume of suburbans on Preston Road: there’s a lot of kids in Frisco. Families with children under 18 make up 64 percent of the population, which is the second in the state, behind University Park at number one.
Closely following Frisco on the list of best cities for families, Allen ranked well overall for home affordability and family life and fun, according to Wallethub rankings. But interestingly, the raw data we requested reveals Allen had the highest graduation rate in the state from its one high school, Allen High School, with a whopping 96.6 percent. Frisco, the overall number one, has a 91.8 percent graduation rate, and Southlake, overall number three on the list, had a 87.3 percent graduation rate. The state average is 89.1 percent.
Lesley Knope might be running the Allen Parks Department because this city ranks among the top Texas cities in parks per capita. The Parks Department, which has won awards nationally for its excellence, maintains 1,200 acres of parks and 65 miles in scenic nature trails. Sadly no tributes to L’il Sebastian.
Allen was also ranked the third most affordable housing in the state.
The city of #DragonPride nabbed like half a dozen superlatives on Wallethub’s annual ranking – some of them surprising and most of them not. Southlake residents had the highest median family income (adjusted for cost of living) in all of Texas, a whopping $136,291 according to Wallethub, though this Tarrant County city often ranks among the highest average incomes in the state and nation.
Southlake schools are rated the best in Texas, according to the Schooldigger City Score, though Wallethub’s data for graduation rates appeared lower than TEA scores because they were weighted for class size.
Surprising in Southlake’s low divorce rate – the lowest in the state – 8.19 percent. Frisco’s divorce rate is 12.12 percent and in Allen, 14 percent of the population is divorcing.
Plus, Wallethub’s data shows that Southlake is FULL of pediatricians. The report ranked the number of pediatricians per 100,000 residents. While Frisco reports 19.2 and Allen 8.4 kid doctors per capita, Southlake has 65.3 pediatricians per 100k residents.
You can thank a Colleyville Police Officer for their outstanding work because the city had the lowest violent crime rate per 1,000 residents in the entire state.
Other superlatives include the second lowest percentage of families below poverty line and second highest median family income. Also, Colleyville was among the fewest families with kids and second lowest divorce rate. I’m just going to let you draw your conclusions for yourself here.
5. Flower Mound
Life in the Mound is pretty safe, according to Wallethub’s data. Flower Mound ranked number three on the list of lowest violent crime rates per 1,000 residents.
In Murphy, where the motto is life lived at your pace, this Collin County suburb has the number one lowest percentage of families below the federal poverty line, which is $33,587 for a family of two adults and two children. That’s good news statewide, as the Texas poverty rate is at a 10-year low (15.6 percent).
Low violent crime rates and low divorce rates also make Murphy a great place for families.
Keller had the fifth highest median family income in the state of Texas, right behind University Park. Coppell, McKinney, Keller, Plano, and Rockwall all scored within tenths of a point from each other on Wallethub’s total score.
Last year Plano was ranked number three on Wallethub’s national best cities list, citing its excellent health and safety and affordability for families. Plano ranked number eight on this Texas list.
In 2015, Money Magazine named Coppell 8th in the best small cities to live in the United States. Money’s Best Places also named Coppell as the number three spot for Best Places to Be A Kid, citing recreational opportunities, special events and great schools as a few of the considerations.
From Stonebridge Ranch to historic downtown McKinney, the Collin County seat rounded out the top 10 best Texas cities for families. In 2014, Money named McKinney the number one mid-sized city (population 50,000 to 300,000) to live in.
Real estate valued in the top five percent versus the bottom five percent of the city vary more than night and day, but Rockwall has the second most affordable housing in the state.
14. University Park
More kids under age 18 live in University Park than any other city in Texas, and their parents seem to stay together as the city ranks fourth in the lowest divorce rates, according to Wallethub’s data. As to be expected, University Park has the least affordable housing in the state, the fourth highest median family income, behind Southlake, Colleyville, and Frisco, and the fifth lowest percentage of families below poverty line.
Also on the List
21. Little Elm
28. The Colony
37. North Richland Hills
62. Fort Worth
Specifically, the 21 detailed metrics that speak to the best Texas cities suitability for families, including:
Family Life and Fun
- Number of playgrounds per 100,000 residents
- Number of attractions
- Share of families with children under 18
- Weather ranking
- Average commute time
Education, Health and Safety
- Quality of school system
- High school graduation rate
- Air quality
- Share of uninsured children
- Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents
- Property crime rate per 1,000 residents
- Housing affordability, which is median annual family income divided by housing costs
- General affordability, which is median annual family income divided by cost of living index
- Separation and divorce rate
- Share of two-parent families
- Share of families below poverty line
- Share of households receiving food stamps
- Unemployment rate
- Wealth gap
- Foreclosure rate