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Best places to raise a family in the Southwest

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thierry dehove // Shutterstock

Best places to raise a family in the Southwest

The American Southwest has some of the most beautiful landscapes this nation has to offer and a rich human history stretching back through thousands of years of Native American culture, 19th-century gold mining, and industrial booms that turned desert into metropolises. Today, the Southwest has become a burgeoning tech and financial center. Increasing job opportunities, affordable housing prices, and top-rated public school systems have made the region a great place to settle down and raise a family.

But choosing where to live can be a daunting task—especially when you factor in considerations for families. There’s a lot to consider, from education and safety to affordability and job stability. Climate, access to activities, and (in the case of master-planned communities) even architectural standards come into play. 

To help families of all stages take a data-driven approach to finding the best communities within the Southwest, Stacker looked to Niche's 2019 Best Places to Raise a Family which evaluated dozens of important components. Public schools have the heaviest weight among the considerations included, while crime and safety, cost of living, demographics, and community resources all factor strongly (full methodology here). States that make up the Southwest are Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Only places with populations exceeding 10,000 were considered for this list, with at least five places from every state included to offer representation for all states. Keep reading to discover the most family-friendly places in the Southwest.

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Tye Redhouse // Flickr

#50. Farmington, NM

- Population: 45,857
- Median home value: $178,400 (67% of residents own)
- Median rent: $839 (33% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $55,179
- Educational attainment: 9% masters or higher, 12% bachelors, 40% some college, 40% high school or less

While USA Today ranked Farmington as the #1 worst place to raise a family in its 2018 survey, the city actually has a ton of great family activities. From the E3 Children’s Museum & Science Center, to Farmington Museum, to All Veterans Memorial Plaza, there are plenty of cultural activities to allow your family to learn together.

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IrinaK // Shutterstock

#49. Las Cruces, NM

- Population: 101,014
- Median home value: $150,000 (54% of residents own)
- Median rent: $770 (46% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $40,924
- Educational attainment: 13% masters or higher, 20% bachelors, 33% some college, 33% high school or less

Las Cruces is an affordable city with a median home value of $150,000, which allows a majority of residents to own their own homes. While the median household income remains a modest $40,924, there is a great range of public schools, outdoor activities, and amusements to keep families entertained.

[Pictured: White Sands National Monument near Las Cruces, NM.]

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turtix // Shutterstock

#48. Albuquerque, NM

- Population: 556,718
- Median home value: $188,500 (60% of residents own)
- Median rent: $833 (40% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $49,878
- Educational attainment: 15% masters or higher, 19% bachelors, 32% some college, 34% high school or less

While Albuquerque has regularly suffered from a high crime rate, New Mexico’s largest city showed the first decrease in overall crime in eight years, according to a report earlier this year. The city offers several fun cultural experiences, like the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, and Petroglyph National Monument. However, possibly the most magnificent tradition of Albuquerque is the International Balloon Fiesta every October, which draws tourists from around the world.

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AllenS // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Rio Rancho, NM

- Population: 93,317
- Median home value: $178,000 (78% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,118 (22% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $63,180
- Educational attainment: 12% masters or higher, 18% bachelors, 38% some college, 31% high school or less

The largest city in Sandoval County, Rio Rancho is a suburb of Albuquerque that offers moderately priced real estate and a good public school system. With several movie theaters, bowling alleys, museums, and world-class shopping, it has a typical suburban feel with lots to do.

[Pictured: Haynes Park in Rio Rancho, NM.]

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RaksyBH // Shutterstock

#46. Norman, OK

- Population: 119,820
- Median home value: $169,700 (54% of residents own)
- Median rent: $835 (46% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $53,733
- Educational attainment: 18% masters or higher, 24% bachelors, 31% some college, 27% high school or less

Home of the University of Oklahoma, Norman is a large suburb of Oklahoma City that is built for families. There is a big range of real estate with prices to fit almost every family’s budget. And with over 30 different public schools to choose from in the area, there are a good number of educational opportunities.

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[Pictured: Medieval Fair Grounds in Norman, OK.]

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Tim Roberts Photography // Shutterstock

#45. Tanque Verde, AZ

- Population: 16,197
- Median home value: $371,800 (92% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,688 (8% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $94,167
- Educational attainment: 26% masters or higher, 28% bachelors, 29% some college, 18% high school or less

Tanque Verde is in Pima County and is known for its rural-suburban feel. With a beautiful desert backdrop, this Tucson suburb offers plenty of outdoor activities to soak in the sights, including horseback riding, driving the Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway, or visiting Agua Caliente Park.

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Philcomanforterie // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Oro Valley, AZ

- Population: 42,889
- Median home value: $288,400 (75% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,138 (25% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $79,458
- Educational attainment: 25% masters or higher, 27% bachelors, 31% some college, 17% high school or less

Oro Valley is consistently named one of the best places to raise a family in Arizona, and is considered one of the safest places to live in Arizona. Just outside of Tucson, Oro Valley’s schools rank in the top third in the state. With relatively affordable real estate and a variety of museums, it’s a family friendly place with a lot going for it.

 

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Frank Boston // Flickr

#43. Owasso, OK

- Population: 34,634
- Median home value: $162,900 (69% of residents own)
- Median rent: $951 (31% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $67,130
- Educational attainment: 8% masters or higher, 25% bachelors, 35% some college, 33% high school or less

A suburb of Tulsa, Owasso was ranked as one of the top 10 places to raise a family in Oklahoma in 2018, as well as #7 of the 15 best places to live in Oklahoma. Nearly half the Owasso population has kids, so naturally the town is geared toward families. And being close to Tulsa, residents can enjoy all the metro area’s attractions.

[Pictured: Owasso Skatepark.]

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Chandlernews // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Chandler, AZ

- Population: 245,160
- Median home value: $268,000 (62% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,198 (38% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $77,278
- Educational attainment: 16% masters or higher, 26% bachelors, 33% some college, 26% high school or less

A suburb of Phoenix, Chandler was named one of the 10 best places to raise a family. With 330 days a year of sunshine, the city’s 60 parks and recreation centers add up to a lot of outdoor activities and family fun. The city also been named one of the most walkable cities by Prevention magazine and boasts the 6.5-mile Paseo Trail.

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Paul Frankenstein // Flickr

#41. Gilbert, AZ

- Population: 232,176
- Median home value: $286,400 (72% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,362 (28% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $87,566
- Educational attainment: 15% masters or higher, 28% bachelors, 36% some college, 21% high school or less

Within the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, Gilbert is situated in the southeast valley. The population has grown rapidly, in 1985 with a population of about 5,000 to the current population of 232,176. And the Town of Gilbert still has growth potential. Although it has seen a rapid increase in the number of residents over the years, Gilbert still retains a quiet, small-town vibe and low crime levels.

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dogsbylori // Flickr

#40. Bixby, OK

- Population: 24,939
- Median home value: $203,800 (78% of residents own)
- Median rent: $934 (22% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $80,638
- Educational attainment: 12% masters or higher, 31% bachelors, 33% some college, 25% high school or less

Another suburb of Tulsa, Bixby is a quiet city with access to good shopping and excellent schools. With a median home value of almost $204,000, Bixby offers easy access to Tulsa, while maintaining an affordable, community-oriented lifestyle.

[Pictured: Bentley Park in Bixby, OK.]

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Michael Barera // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Fate, TX

- Population: 10,339
- Median home value: $210,400 (96% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,038 (4% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $102,426
- Educational attainment: 14% masters or higher, 32% bachelors, 30% some college, 24% high school or less

In Rockwall County, Fate has a median household income of $102,426 and a median home value of $210,400, making it an affordable place to live. One of America's fastest growing cities, this Dallas suburb boasts exemplary schools and many amenities. The city also takes care to maintain its small-town feel.

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WhisperToMe // Wikimedia Commons

#38. West University Place, TX

- Population: 15,477
- Median home value: $987,400 (89% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,062 (11% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $243,226
- Educational attainment: 51% masters or higher, 36% bachelors, 10% some college, 4% high school or less

Located just outside of Houston, West University Place was named the #1 best place to live by USA Today in 2018. With quiet tree-lined streets, the atmosphere of the city is idyllic and resembles a small town. Less than 15 minutes from downtown Houston, the city offers an abundance of parks and low crime rates, which contribute to easy family living.

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Alissala // Shutterstock

#37. Rockwall, TX

- Population: 42,316
- Median home value: $225,500 (74% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,254 (26% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $92,665
- Educational attainment: 14% masters or higher, 27% bachelors, 33% some college, 26% high school or less

This suburb of Dallas offers affordability, with a median home value of $225,500. The median household income is $92,665, allowing most residents to own their homes. Apart from practical factors, Rockwall is a vibrant city with fun activities for kids, such as a trips to local farms, cruising the harbor, or sailing.

[Pictured: Lake Rockwall.]

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WhisperToMe // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Bellaire, TX

- Population: 18,479
- Median home value: $803,000 (87% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,725 (13% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $195,018
- Educational attainment: 48% masters or higher, 31% bachelors, 12% some college, 8% high school or less

This southeast Texas suburb of Houston was originally founded on a 95-acre ranch and takes pride in promoting a family atmosphere. The Houston Independent School District is excellent and offers magnet schools for foreign languages with an International baccalaureate program. There are also seven universities within 10 minutes of the heart of Bellaire, including Rice University, Houston Baptist University, Baylor College of Medicine, University of Houston, and the Houston Community College system.

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Janice Waltzer // Flickr

#35. Jenks, OK

- Population: 20,836
- Median home value: $197,100 (79% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,172 (21% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $90,039
- Educational attainment: 15% masters or higher, 29% bachelors, 32% some college, 23% high school or less

This suburb of Tulsa offers small-town charm and a community-oriented atmosphere. With its parks and top-rate education system, Jenks ticks off a lot of boxes for families looking to move to the Southwest. The city makes it easy for residents to juggle access to jobs in Tulsa while having a quiet place to go home to for family time.

[Pictured: Jenks' Art on Main Festival.]

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Christopher Rose // Flickr

#34. Round Rock, TX

- Population: 116,369
- Median home value: $210,800 (62% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,134 (38% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $76,295
- Educational attainment: 12% masters or higher, 27% bachelors, 32% some college, 28% high school or less

Named the ninth-best suburb for living in the Austin area, Round Rock’s residents consist mostly of families and young professionals. The city is known for its strong education system: The graduation rate for students in the Round Rock Independent School District in 2016-2017 was 94%. With a moderately affordable cost of living, a majority of the city’s residents own their homes.

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Patrick Feller // Flickr

#33. Atascocita, TX

- Population: 75,114
- Median home value: $174,800 (81% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,336 (19% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $93,167
- Educational attainment: 11% masters or higher, 27% bachelors, 34% some college, 28% high school or less

Ranked as one of the safest places to live in Texas, Atascocita is bordered by Lake Houston and is a quick 30 minutes from downtown Houston. The area boasts plenty of outdoor activities around the lake, access to big box stores, and killer barbecue from local restaurants.

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Foursqaure

#32. Timberwood Park, TX

- Population: 26,236
- Median home value: $306,900 (81% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,608 (19% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $113,331
- Educational attainment: 20% masters or higher, 31% bachelors, 31% some college, 19% high school or less

Just outside of San Antonio, Timberwood Park has a sparse suburban feel in a custom-home development. This master-planned community offers uniformity with several amenities. This is a great place for families seeking specific architectural guidelines and strict rules to preserve the land.

[Pictured: Walker Ranch Park in North Central San Antonio, TX.]

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_cheryl // Flickr

#31. McKinney, TX

- Population: 164,760
- Median home value: $255,300 (67% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,222 (33% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $87,608
- Educational attainment: 15% masters or higher, 30% bachelors, 31% some college, 24% high school or less

With beautiful tree-lined streets, diverse neighborhoods, and excellent educational opportunities, McKinney pretty much has it all when it comes to being a good place to raise a family. Located just 30 miles north of downtown Dallas, McKinney offers a respite from urban sprawl. The charming downtown historic district adds to the city’s strong sense of community.

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[Pictured: Mardi Gras parade in McKinney, TX.]

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Grguy2011 // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Pearland, TX

- Population: 113,693
- Median home value: $208,900 (76% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,272 (24% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $102,124
- Educational attainment: 18% masters or higher, 29% bachelors, 31% some college, 22% high school or less

Pearland is a growing suburb of Houston with a great balance of small-town feel and access to big-city amenities. With a rising job market, this is a particularly appealing place to settle down with a family. The city boasts a low crime rate, along with a GreatSchools rating of eight out of 10 for the Pearland Independent School District.

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Colby Nate // Flickr

#29. Prosper, TX

- Population: 17,107
- Median home value: $408,300 (86% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,270 (14% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $133,971
- Educational attainment: 17% masters or higher, 38% bachelors, 27% some college, 18% high school or less

The Town of Prosper was formed by merging Rock Hill and Richland into one community around the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway. This small suburb of Dallas has a close-knit community feel and boasts craftsman and Tudor-style houses with large yards. With scenic walking trails, sports fields and arenas, and plenty of community programming, there are plenty of ways for residents to be involved in their town.

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Redi-Rock International // Flickr

#28. Katy, TX

- Population: 17,265
- Median home value: $164,500 (76% of residents own)
- Median rent: $979 (24% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $73,865
- Educational attainment: 11% masters or higher, 23% bachelors, 27% some college, 38% high school or less

The quality education of the Katy Independent School District and the many local amenities make living in Katy an easy choice for families who want to be in the Houston area. The city has many master-planned communities, ample parks, and a number of shopping malls that provide all the conveniences of suburban living.

[Pictured: Typhoon Texas Waterpark in Katy, TX.]

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dgrichmond // Flickr

#27. Seabrook, TX

- Population: 13,325
- Median home value: $213,900 (58% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,019 (42% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $83,448
- Educational attainment: 13% masters or higher, 31% bachelors, 39% some college, 17% high school or less

Another suburb of Houston, Seabrook offers a serene seaside atmosphere with easy access to the big city and picturesque views of Galveston Bay. Known for its stilted cliff-side houses and many boats in the driveways, this city gives off a very coastal vibe. Many residents partake in activities like biking, fishing, boating, and jogging.

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Trong Nguyen // Shutterstock

#26. Richardson, TX

- Population: 111,055
- Median home value: $226,100 (59% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,245 (41% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $76,719
- Educational attainment: 19% masters or higher, 34% bachelors, 25% some college, 21% high school or less

Also known as “The Telecom Corridor,” the largest appeal of Richardson is its growing tech space, with employers including Texas Instruments, Samsung, Metro PCS, and Fujitsu. With more tech employers setting up shop in Richardson, plentiful job opportunities have followed. The strong job market, low crime rates, and vibrant community, make Richardson a good location to raise a family.

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[Pictured 2018 Corporate Challenge event in Richardson, TX.]

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Larry D. Moore // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Cedar Park, TX

- Population: 70,010
- Median home value: $258,200 (70% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,259 (30% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $96,612
- Educational attainment: 15% masters or higher, 32% bachelors, 33% some college, 21% high school or less

One of the most attractive aspects of Cedar Park is that it offers affordability for first-time homebuyers. It also allows easy access to the lively Austin city life, but has a slower lifestyle. The city also gives residents access to multiple reputable school districts and has been named by Niche as one of the best places to raise a family in the Austin area.

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Trophy Club // Flickr

#24. Trophy Club, TX

- Population: 11,436
- Median home value: $348,100 (91% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,469 (9% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $139,156
- Educational attainment: 21% masters or higher, 43% bachelors, 24% some college, 13% high school or less

Surrounded by green hills, valleys, and parks, Trophy Club earned its name from the country club it is built around, the Trophy Club Country Club. The club takes up 17% of the town’s acreage and serves as a key presence in the community. This upscale town has many suburban amenities such as an equestrian complex, a golf course, and a quaint downtown.

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Serge Melki // Flickr

#23. Edmond, OK

- Population: 89,769
- Median home value: $216,500 (69% of residents own)
- Median rent: $973 (31% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $76,008
- Educational attainment: 21% masters or higher, 33% bachelors, 27% some college, 18% high school or less

In the heart of Oklahoma, north of Oklahoma City, Edmond has come to be known as the “Crown Jewel” of the state. With activities like golf, antiquing, and fishing, the city offers a number of ways to spend down time. Edmond is the home of the University of Central Oklahoma, a major employer in the area.

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Regan Bender // Shutterstock

#22. Lakeway, TX

- Population: 14,147
- Median home value: $430,500 (84% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,742 (16% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $124,556
- Educational attainment: 23% masters or higher, 43% bachelors, 23% some college, 11% high school or less

A small city on Lake Travis, Lakeway is a prosperous suburb of Austin. The region’s temperate climate allows for outdoor activities year-round. Families can enjoy time together in any of the city’s 12 parks and dog parks. Lakeway is a tight-knit community that emphasizes neighborly bonding through activities.

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Luis Tamayo // Flickr

#21. Highland Village, TX

- Population: 16,168
- Median home value: $327,600 (94% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,832 (6% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $141,786
- Educational attainment: 19% masters or higher, 41% bachelors, 25% some college, 14% high school or less

One of the most desired and affluent neighborhoods in the Dallas area, Highland Village is contained within 2.2 square miles and has a population of around 16,000. While small, this city provides police, fire, and parks departments, as well as a nationally renowned school system.

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[Pictured: Lake Lewisville near Highland Village, TX.]

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Tim Roberts Photography // Shutterstock

#20. Catalina Foothills, AZ

- Population: 50,202
- Median home value: $410,200 (74% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,020 (26% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $82,252
- Educational attainment: 35% masters or higher, 31% bachelors, 21% some college, 13% high school or less

From modest ranch-style homes, to large Mediterranean-inspired houses, to boxy, contemporary homes, Catalina Foothills has something for everyone. The area is a nature-lover's paradise with many challenging hikes, and access to a scenic river at Rillito River Park. Locals love to spend weekends strolling to the Rillito Park Farmers Market or visiting the Skyline Country Club.

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1958publius // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Keller, TX

- Population: 45,357
- Median home value: $334,000 (83% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,299 (17% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $126,013
- Educational attainment: 19% masters or higher, 37% bachelors, 26% some college, 17% high school or less

Located in the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, the City of Keller emphasizes the quality of life for its residents above all else. Keller balances many lifestyle amenities with maintaining its small-town charm and provides a school system with a 94% graduation rate.

[Pictured: Saturday Farmers Market in Keller, TX.]

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Patrick Feller // Flickr

#18. Friendswood, TX

- Population: 38,811
- Median home value: $256,300 (79% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,150 (21% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $98,609
- Educational attainment: 16% masters or higher, 33% bachelors, 30% some college, 21% high school or less

Situated south of Houston is the suburb of Friendswood, named for its Quaker settlers. Friendswood was deemed one of the safest cities in in the United States by Neighborhood Scout and boasts a family-friendly environment. With moderate real estate prices, 79% of residents are able to own their own homes. The percentage of educational attainment is also high, with 33% of its residents earning a bachelor's degree.

[Pictured: Stevenson Park in Friendswood, TX.]

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Iheartdfw // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Colleyville, TX

- Population: 25,557
- Median home value: $456,100 (96% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,618 (4% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $164,682
- Educational attainment: 28% masters or higher, 38% bachelors, 23% some college, 12% high school or less

Colleyville is a suburb of Dallas conveniently situated to reap the benefits of the Dallas-Fort Worth area while being able to retain a slightly removed quaintness. The city is ideal for families looking to buy sprawling ranch homes on large lots. Families can enjoy the amenities of many local parks and libraries.

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Roschetzky Photography // Shutterstock

#16. Brushy Creek, TX

- Population: 20,666
- Median home value: $262,800 (77% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,357 (23% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $103,738
- Educational attainment: 17% masters or higher, 36% bachelors, 30% some college, 17% high school or less

Brushy Creek is a reasonably priced area for first-time homebuyers who want to live close to Austin. Located just north of the city, Brushy Creek is a 30-minute commute to downtown. To top it off, Apple announced it will build a new campus in North Austin, meaning more job opportunities for the area.

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Wisanu Boonrawd // Shutterstock

#15. Plano, TX

- Population: 281,566
- Median home value: $271,300 (61% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,243 (39% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $88,578
- Educational attainment: 22% masters or higher, 35% bachelors, 25% some college, 18% high school or less

Boasting one of the highest high school graduation rates in the country, it’s easy to gather that Plano has a stellar school system. In addition to education, the city offers family amenities that keep kids busy and entertained, including the Plano Aquatic Center, the Muehlenbeck Recreation Center, and the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. The city and school system also have an extensive roster of children’s programming so kids can learn year round.

[Pictured: Plano Balloon Festival.]

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Eric Urquhart // Shutterstock

#14. Allen, TX

- Population: 96,865
- Median home value: $261,600 (76% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,374 (24% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $104,132
- Educational attainment: 20% masters or higher, 34% bachelors, 28% some college, 18% high school or less

Named Money magazine’s #2 in its 2017 ranking of best places to live in America, Allen is an affluent suburb that’s continuing to grow. The city has worked to grow economic opportunities for residents, attracting a number of tech and cybersecurity businesses to the area. In addition, there are several attractions to keep kids busy, including the Don Rodenbaugh Natatorium, and golf courses at Watters Creek to keep parents happy, too.

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Ed Schipul // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Sugar Land, TX

- Population: 86,886
- Median home value: $292,700 (81% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,635 (19% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $108,994
- Educational attainment: 24% masters or higher, 35% bachelors, 22% some college, 20% high school or less

Situated southwest of Houston, the Sugar Land suburb is enjoying economic growth and job opportunities. It is home to a new Texas Instruments facility, the corporate headquarters of Minute Maid, and the headquarters of Imperial Sugar. Sugar Land also has been named one of the top 25 safest cities in Texas.

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Tallmaple // Shutterstock

#12. Southlake, TX

- Population: 30,090
- Median home value: $627,700 (93% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,434 (7% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $207,917
- Educational attainment: 27% masters or higher, 41% bachelors, 22% some college, 10% high school or less

Southlake is a suburb of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and champions its own brand of small-town charm. There are a number of professional athletes who have called the city home, including DeMarcus Ware, Cole Hamels, Jermaine O'Neal, and Jason Witten. Aside from the city’s star power, its schools are exceptional, with the Carroll Independent School District ranked as #1 in Texas by SchoolDigger.

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Foursquare

#11. Sienna Plantation, TX

- Population: 16,310
- Median home value: $324,800 (95% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,243 (5% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $136,942
- Educational attainment: 23% masters or higher, 40% bachelors, 24% some college, 12% high school or less

Sienna Plantation is a hot spot for real estate and has recently become a leader in home building. This means there is a variety of different homes to fit a wide range of budgets and needs. Because of this, 95% of residents are able to own their homes. The master-planned community’s population is highly educated, with 40% of residents obtaining a bachelor's degree, and 23% getting a master’s degree or higher.

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[Pictured: Sienna Waterpark.]

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NicholasGeraldinePhotos // Shutterstock

#10. Murphy, TX

- Population: 20,361
- Median home value: $324,700 (85% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,137 (15% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $128,519
- Educational attainment: 17% masters or higher, 39% bachelors, 22% some college, 21% high school or less

This fast-growing city has become known as a haven for young families and was ranked #1 on NerdWallet’s 2017 ranking of Best Places for Young Families in Texas. The city has a range of housing options and many great schools. Top that off with a very low crime rate, and it’s easy to see why young families are flocking here.

[Pictured: Park in Murphy, TX.]

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Philip Shoffner // Flickr

#9. Flower Mound, TX

- Population: 71,575
- Median home value: $312,000 (87% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,683 (13% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $128,426
- Educational attainment: 21% masters or higher, 40% bachelors, 25% some college, 14% high school or less

Named #16 on Money magazine’s 2018 ranking of best places to live in Texas, Flower Mound has become known as a family-friendly suburb of Dallas-Fort Worth. The city is situated on Grapevine Lake, which provides scenic views and lots of water activities. With moderate home prices and top high school graduation rates, Flower Mound is a convenient and relatively affordable place for families to grow.

[Pictured: Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch 2011.]

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Michael Barera // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Frisco, TX

- Population: 155,363
- Median home value: $335,900 (74% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,368 (26% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $120,701
- Educational attainment: 23% masters or higher, 38% bachelors, 25% some college, 14% high school or less

Frisco took #1 on Money magazine’s 2018 rankings of best places to live in Texas, and it’s easy to see why. Jobs in Frisco are slated to grow by 15% over the next four years, largely because many businesses are moving there, including T-Mobile and Oracle. The city’s growth has created a high quality of life for residents, including the perks of high home ownership, great education, and job security.

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Joseph Sohm // Shutterstock

#7. Los Alamos, NM

- Population: 12,035
- Median home value: $291,800 (66% of residents own)
- Median rent: $989 (34% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $101,399
- Educational attainment: 42% masters or higher, 24% bachelors, 20% some college, 13% high school or less

Los Alamos is definitely the ticket for active, outdoorsy families that enjoy long hiking trails with beautiful scenery. Residents of his town can also enjoy a diverse and vibrant culinary scene, with restaurants featuring cuisines from around the world. With a thriving Creative District, a local science museum, and concert series, culture abounds for those who live here.

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Michael Barera // Wikimedia Commons

#6. University Park, TX

- Population: 24,692
- Median home value: $1,193,800 (80% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,834 (20% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $211,741
- Educational attainment: 41% masters or higher, 47% bachelors, 10% some college, 3% high school or less

Next to sister suburb Highland Park, University Park shares with it some of the best public schools in the state of Texas. However, there are more children residing in University Park than Highland Park, which can be viewed as a bonus for families considering moving to the area. The home of Southern Methodist University also takes pride in maintaining a highly manicured aesthetic, and crime rates are low.

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[Pictured: Goar Park in University Park, TX.]

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WhisperToMe // Wikimedia Commons

#5. New Territory, TX

- Population: 15,699
- Median home value: $276,800 (85% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,554 (15% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $135,444
- Educational attainment: 27% masters or higher, 32% bachelors, 20% some college, 21% high school or less

New Territory is master-planned community on 3,200 acres about 30 miles from Houston. This affluent Texas community is family friendly, and most married couples have young children. Because of the planned aspects, residents value a close-knit community. As of December 2017, New Territory became part of the City of Sugar Land.

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Trong Nguyen // Shutterstock

#4. Coppell, TX

- Population: 41,138
- Median home value: $344,300 (72% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,268 (28% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $119,936
- Educational attainment: 28% masters or higher, 39% bachelors, 21% some college, 12% high school or less

Surrounded by highways galore, the town of Coppell is nothing if not a convenient place to raise a family. With easy access to downtown Dallas, the airport, and Texas Stadium, accessibility is a key asset for Coppell. However, it’s not all about convenience. Coppell is a great city in its own right, boasting beautiful tree-lined streets, lakes, and neighborhood parks.

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Deel2 // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Cinco Ranch, TX

- Population: 18,200
- Median home value: $329,400 (83% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,365 (17% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $141,992
- Educational attainment: 25% masters or higher, 39% bachelors, 25% some college, 10% high school or less

Cinco Ranch is a master-planned community in the greater Katy area. Cinco Ranch High School has recorded some of the best student average grades in the country. Additionally, the area is home to the popular shopping center LaCenterra that offers upscale stores and restaurants, plus entertainment.

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thierry dehove // Shutterstock

#2. The Woodlands, TX

- Population: 109,608
- Median home value: $351,000 (72% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,509 (28% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $115,083
- Educational attainment: 25% masters or higher, 37% bachelors, 23% some college, 14% high school or less

The Woodlands was named the #2 place to raise a family in America in 2018 by Niche, so it’s no surprise it gets top billing in the Southwest. Just north of Houston, The Woodlands is one of Texas’s swankiest suburbs and one of the most picturesque master-planned communities in the state. With wooded greenery and glistening local lakes, the slightly higher-than-normal home prices can be seen as a great deal for families.

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cheng // Shutterstock

#1. Greatwood, TX

- Population: 12,437
- Median home value: $322,000 (93% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,000 (7% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $148,047
- Educational attainment: 24% masters or higher, 43% bachelors, 21% some college, 12% high school or less

Taking the top spot as the best place to raise a family in the Southwest is Greatwood, Texas, a master-planned community that was annexed to the City of Sugar Land in 2017. The area is experiencing a lot of new home development, which inevitably leads to a greater variety of dwellings for families to purchase, which 93% of residents do. The population of Greatwood is highly educated, with 43% of residents achieving a bachelor's degree and 24% receiving a master’s degree or higher.

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[Pictured: A park in Sugar Land, TX where the neighborhood of Greatwoods, TX is located.]

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