Tulsa ranks No. 60 in ‘best place to raise a family’ report

A report that compared 41 statistics has rated Tulsa as No. 60 overall in terms of the best place to raise a family.

WalletHub.com’s report on “2017’s Best & Worst Places to Raise a Family” ranges from housing affordability to school-system quality to share of families with young kids.

In a study of 150 cities, Tulsa is No. 60 overall and Oklahoma City is No. 32. Tulsa is No. 41 in “family fun” and No. 143 in “health and safety.” Tulsa ranks as No. 41 in “education and child care” while Tulsa is No. 34 in “affordability.” Tulsa ranks as No. in 92 “socioeconomics.”

According to WalletHub, the average American can expect to move an estimated 11.4 times during his or her lifetime. Moving can be a sign of opportunity — perhaps a new job or long-term wealth accumulation — or of instability such as foreclosure or job loss. The key in either case is to choose an area conducive to economic prosperity and the overall pursuit of happiness.

Cities have great impact on a child’s upbringing.

“The city that a family lives in can influence the family in a variety of ways,” said Naomi V. Ekas, associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Texas Christian University. “One example is how safe the city is (e.g., amount of violent crime, presence of gangs). Parents who live in unsafe cities often report higher levels of stress and psychological problems. This can affect their parenting quality. Children growing up in unsafe cities can also experience psychological problems.

“Another example is the size of the city. Children growing up in smaller towns often have better connections to adults other than their parents, which is also important for their development. Finally, the types of social services and access to quality medical care are important for children’s development.”

How can local officials make their cities more attractive to young families?

Stacy D. Thompson, associate professor in the Education Department at Southern Illinois University, said, city officials can make cities more attractive to families with young children by having:

  • Parks and green spaces — children need to have safe places to grow up. They need to be active to be healthy and have good development.
  • Quality childcare and education programs for young children.
  • Providing good medical facilities and good, affordable health insurance.
  • Economic well-being, including employment opportunities — families in cities with good economic well-being are more likely to maintain their economic level, which provides stability for their children’s development.
  • Resources — parents need support, and children benefit when the community provides supports to help engage families. Resources can be in the form of financial subsidies for food or childcare, but also includes emotional and developmental supports. Parenting groups are a good example of places with developmental information, but also a place for parents to meet other parents.

Best vs. Worst

  • New York has the most playgrounds (per square root of the population), 0.5749, which is 17.4 times more than in Hialeah, Florida, the city with the fewest at 0.0330.
  • Irvine, California, has the fewest violent crimes (per 1,000 residents), 0.56, which is 32.4 times fewer than in St. Louis, the city with the most at 18.17.
  • Scottsdale, Arizona, has the highest median family annual income (adjusted for cost of living), $101,588, which is 3.4 times higher than in New York, the city with the lowest at $29,510.
  • Fremont, California, has the lowest divorce rate, 11.82 percent, which is 3.5 times lower than in Cleveland, the city with the highest at 41.51 percent.
  • Irvine, California, has the lowest share of families receiving food stamps, 2.93 percent, which is 16.9 times lower than in Detroit, the city with the highest at 49.57 percent.
  • Overland Park, Kansas, has the lowest share of families living below the poverty line, 3.4 percent, which is 10.4 times lower than in Detroit, the city with the highest at 35.5 percent.

Best Cities for Families                    Worst Cities for Families

  1. Overland Park, Kansas 141. Memphis, Tennessee
  2. Madison, Wisconsin 142. Newark, New Jersey
  3. Plano, Texas 143. Augusta, Georgia
  4. Seattle, Washington 144. Jackson, Mississippi
  5. Fremont, California 145. Miami, Florida
  6. Minneapolis, Minnesota 146. Hialeah, Florida
  7. Virginia Beach, Virginia 147. Shreveport, Louisiana
  8. Sioux Falls, South Dakota 148. San Bernardino, Calif.
  9. Irvine, California 149. Detroit, Michigan
  10. Lincoln, Nebraska 150. Birmingham, Alabama

Worst Cities for Families

  1. Memphis, Tennessee
  2. Newark, New Jersey
  3. Augusta, Georgia
  4. Jackson, Mississippi
  5. Miami, Florida
  6. Hialeah, Florida
  7. Shreveport, Louisiana
  8. San Bernardino, Calif.
  9. Detroit, Michigan
  10. Birmingham, Alabama