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Best places to raise a family in the Southeast

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Tom Wang // Shutterstock

Best places to raise a family in the Southeast

Choosing a home in which to raise a family is a complex decision for any homebuyer that depends on several factors. Fifty-three percent of house hunters with children at home count school district quality as a deciding factor in where buy, while 50% said proximity to schools plays a big role, according to 2019 research from the National Association of Realtors. The best schools have low student-to-teacher ratios, high graduation rates, robust test scores, and an array of arts, music, and extracurricular activities.

Safety is also key, putting cities and towns with low crime rates on the list. But sometimes a rural spot with little crime may have lower graduation rates or fewer quality job opportunities. Housing makes a difference, as families need affordability. Tough decisions arise when desirable communities draw rising demand, pushing prices higher and moving the cost of homes out of reach of families with children.

Transportation matters, whether it’s an easy drive to a job or public transportation that allows commuters to travel quickly at low costs. Parents might consider the social life of a town, and many of the most appealing places have high proportions of families with children under age 18.

Other communities clearly show a commitment to family life, hosting carnivals and annual festivals or funding a quality public library system.

The outdoors play no small part. Many of the best places to raise a family have parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, and trails for walking, hiking, and biking. Also significant are cultural and arts opportunities. Often the best places to raise families are located near colleges, universities, and venues that stage music, theater, and art exhibitions.

To help families of all stages take a data-driven approach to finding the best communities within the Southeast, Stacker looked to Niche's 2019 Best Places to Raise a Family report, which evaluates dozens of important components. Public schools carry the heaviest weight among the considerations included, while crime and safety, cost of living, demographics, and community resources all factor strongly (full methodology here).

The Southeast consists of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Only places with populations of more than 15,000 were considered, and at least two places from every state were included.

Read on to find out the best places to raise a family in the Southeast.

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Brandon W. Holmes // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Wheeling, WV

- Population: 27,521
- Median home value: $104,300 (63% of residents own)
- Median rent: $616 (37% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $41,171
- Educational attainment: 12% masters or higher, 18% bachelors, 26% some college, 43% high school or less

Suburban Wheeling gets top ranks for its schools. It is popular with young professionals, is just 58 miles from Pittsburgh, and offers lots of family-friendly activities. Children can enjoy the town’s many parks or family outings to Wheeling Nailers hockey games. Wheeling is also home to a symphony orchestra and a host of summer programming including arts and crafts, sports camps, swimming and tennis lessons, and day camp.

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Andre Carrotflower // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Morgantown, WV

- Population: 30,099
- Median home value: $182,500 (43% of residents own)
- Median rent: $779 (57% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $37,900
- Educational attainment: 24% masters or higher, 25% bachelors, 24% some college, 27% high school or less

Morgantown is home to West Virginia University, the state’s largest university, which offers a wide array of summer camps and programs for local youth. The town is also the region’s medical, cultural, and commercial hub. Morgantown High School also gets high marks with an above-average, 89% graduation rate.

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Jim Plylar // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Zachary, LA

- Population: 16,879
- Median home value: $214,700 (72% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,090 (28% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $79,346
- Educational attainment: 15% masters or higher, 23% bachelors, 30% some college, 31% high school or less

The suburb of Baton Rouge has been rated the top-performing district in Louisiana for several years, according to the state’s department of education. A popular attraction is the city-operated Zachary Youth Park Complex, housed on 33 acres, with programs year-round and facilities for baseball and softball, as well as a half-mile walking track and picnic areas.

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Derek Jensen // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Burlington, KY

- Population: 16,776
- Median home value: $165,000 (69% of residents own)
- Median rent: $938 (31% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $73,304
- Educational attainment: 9% masters or higher, 19% bachelors, 32% some college, 40% high school or less

Burlington is a suburb of Cincinnati with high ratings for family life. The local Boone Cliffs encompass 74 acres of old-growth forest with unpaved trails for hiking. The town is within 15 miles of dozens of attractions including Cincinnati’s Smale Riverfront Park, Great American Ball Park, and Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

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GPA Photo Archive // Flickr

#46. Fayetteville, AR

- Population: 81,889
- Median home value: $193,000 (38% of residents own)
- Median rent: $747 (62% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $41,158
- Educational attainment: 22% masters or higher, 26% bachelors, 27% some college, 25% high school or less

Fayetteville is a suburb that gets an A+ rating for its schools. The town features a premier public garden, the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, one of the nation’s last drive-ins, and the Razorback Regional Greenway, the longest system of interconnected trails in the state.

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Chillin662 // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Clinton, MS

- Population: 25,398
- Median home value: $155,600 (66% of residents own)
- Median rent: $946 (34% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $57,667
- Educational attainment: 16% masters or higher, 24% bachelors, 34% some college, 25% high school or less

Clinton, in the Jackson metropolitan area, has great schools and was rated by Niche in 2019 as the most diverse place to live in Mississippi. The town is home to a picturesque Main Street and downtown complete with an open-air market and brick streets.

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Williamhamilton3 // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Mount Pleasant, SC

- Population: 80,661
- Median home value: $413,600 (71% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,465 (29% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $90,454
- Educational attainment: 23% masters or higher, 37% bachelors, 24% some college, 15% high school or less

Mount Pleasant has stately live oaks and historic houses, and its residents are a mix of retirees, young families, and professionals. The Memorial Waterfront Park has a lush lawn perfect for family picnics and a nautical-themed playground while Mount Pleasant Pier offers fishing and Laurel Hill County Park has miles of running, walking, or biking trails through a variety of landscapes.

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Z28scrambler // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Prairieville, LA

- Population: 30,536
- Median home value: $222,000 (87% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,151 (13% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $98,130
- Educational attainment: 11% masters or higher, 26% bachelors, 29% some college, 34% high school or less

Prairieville is a Baton Rouge suburb with top-ranked schools and old-fashioned charm. It is well known for its huge open-air flea market that with some 400 booths has something for everyone. The town is also home to Southwood Park & Playground, Oak Grove Community Par, and Jump-N-Jive, a kids’ space that offers private and public events including dances, game nights, and open play.

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Paul Clark // Flickr

#42. Fish Hawk, FL

- Population: 17,698
- Median home value: $323,900 (82% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,777 (18% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $111,531
- Educational attainment: 24% masters or higher, 37% bachelors, 26% some college, 14% high school or less

Fish Hawk in the Tampa Bay area stands out for its parks and nature trails. It is considered family-oriented for its extensive after-school programs, nearby attractions and parks, and highly rated schools. The town has a high military population and a slightly longer commute time than the national average (33.4 minutes versus the national average of 25.1 minutes). The Fish Hawk Sports Complex, opened in 2008 and managed by the Fishhawk Youth Sports Association, is home to the Fishhawk Youth Baseball League, Miss Tampa Bay Softball League, Fishhawk Coyotes Lacrosse, Wolfpack Football, and Fishhawk Soccer Club.

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Tony Crescibene // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Five Forks, SC

- Population: 17,500
- Median home value: $282,400 (91% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,357 (9% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $109,781
- Educational attainment: 23% masters or higher, 39% bachelors, 26% some college, 13% high school or less

In Five Forks, more than half the population is families with kids under 18. The public schools put an emphasis on after-school activities and community volunteer work. There is a bevy of nearby child-friendly attractions like Defy Greenville—the trampoline park—and Frankie’s Fun Park.

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Jarek Tuszyński // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Gainesville, VA

- Population: 15,283
- Median home value: $460,200 (83% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,945 (17% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $135,132
- Educational attainment: 21% masters or higher, 35% bachelors, 26% some college, 18% high school or less

Gainesville has a small-town feel just 35 miles outside Washington D.C. Its school test scores are 72% higher than the national average. Area fun for the whole family includes Bounce Mania and the Tin Cannon Brewing Co.

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Selena N. B. H. // Flickr

#39. Carrboro, NC

- Population: 21,099
- Median home value: $334,500 (43% of residents own)
- Median rent: $983 (57% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $56,573
- Educational attainment: 37% masters or higher, 31% bachelors, 15% some college, 17% high school or less

Carrboro enjoys the benefits of proximity to the top-notch institutions of Duke University and the University of North Carolina. Check out the Carrboro Farmers Market or take a short drive to the Duke Lemur Center in Durham.

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EaandJSFilmCrew // Flickr

#38. Franklin, TN

- Population: 72,990
- Median home value: $362,300 (68% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,335 (32% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $92,589
- Educational attainment: 23% masters or higher, 37% bachelors, 22% some college, 18% high school or less

In the Nashville metropolitan area, Franklin students routinely achieve some of the top test scores in the state. Its Main Street is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and its music and theater scenes are a big draw.

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Elizabeth Swift // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Hoover, AL

- Population: 84,150
- Median home value: $271,600 (68% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,048 (32% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $81,038
- Educational attainment: 22% masters or higher, 34% bachelors, 26% some college, 17% high school or less

Hoover, the largest suburb around Birmingham, has low crime and its schools are consistently rated among the nation’s best. Oak Mountain is a local favorite for hiking, swimming, fishing, camping, and seeing performances at its outdoor theater.

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Excel23 // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Fruit Cove, FL

- Population: 31,873
- Median home value: $310,600 (83% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,701 (17% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $101,788
- Educational attainment: 18% masters or higher, 34% bachelors, 28% some college, 21% high school or less

This suburb of Jacksonville, 20 miles inland along the St. Johns River, has been ranked among the best neighborhoods for families in Florida. It has top public schools, low crime rates and a high number of college-educated parents who contribute to the academic success of the local schools.

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Ralph Daily // Flickr

#35. Mountain Brook, AL

- Population: 20,438
- Median home value: $578,100 (86% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,225 (14% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $132,825
- Educational attainment: 40% masters or higher, 45% bachelors, 12% some college, 3% high school or less

Mountain Brook is an affluent community comprised of highly educated professionals who support the town’s arts and culture. The median income is high, and nearly every family owns the home they live in. Families can spend a day on the river or hiking trails of the Cahaba River Walk or visit the nearby Birmingham Zoo.

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Chris Pruitt // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Homewood, AL

- Population: 25,678
- Median home value: $319,300 (59% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,025 (41% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $71,494
- Educational attainment: 31% masters or higher, 33% bachelors, 20% some college, 17% high school or less

Homewood features a highly educated, diverse population. Homewood High School is top-rated, with a student-teacher ratio of 14-to-1. Bring the whole family to Urban Air Adventure Park or take a parents-only retreat to the Red Hills Brewing Company or Art Alley.

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Mdy66 // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Centreville, VA

- Population: 74,627
- Median home value: $410,300 (70% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,796 (30% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $107,605
- Educational attainment: 23% masters or higher, 34% bachelors, 21% some college, 22% high school or less

The suburb of Washington D.C. is close to historical attractions such as Manassas National Battlefield Park and Bull Run Regional Park. Niche gives Centreville's public schools an A. 

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JERRY & ROY KLOTZ, MD // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Fair Oaks, VA

- Population: 33,789
- Median home value: $452,100 (46% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,893 (54% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $106,028
- Educational attainment: 31% masters or higher, 35% bachelors, 21% some college, 14% high school or less

A suburb of Washington D.C., Fair Oaks is in close proximity to a major metro: Niche describes Fair Oaks as having an urban-suburban feel. The community has highly rated public schools and kids can have fun—and birthday parties—at Summit Ropes, the climbing amusement park, or learn about history at the Civil War Interpretive Center at Historic Blenheim.

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Pmsyz // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Madison, MS

- Population: 25,350
- Median home value: $250,200 (92% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,423 (8% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $103,121
- Educational attainment: 27% masters or higher, 38% bachelors, 25% some college, 10% high school or less

Madison, part of the Jackson metropolitan area, has a high per capita income and nearly nonexistent crime. With its small-town charm, Madison has been recognized by Family Circle and Money magazine. The weather is “near perfect” all year, and family-owned attractions, like Pickenpaugh Pottery, provide excitement for everyone—check out their children’s classes.

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Sharon Phelan Evans // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Vestavia Hills, AL

- Population: 34,003
- Median home value: $360,800 (75% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,047 (25% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $98,653
- Educational attainment: 31% masters or higher, 37% bachelors, 20% some college, 12% high school or less

Vestavia Hills earns top rankings for its amenities, low crime, education, and employment. Average test scores in its public schools exceed the national average. Whether your family is interested in sightseeing (Alabama Sports Hall of Fame) or the arts (Birmingham Children’s Theater), family activities abound.

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Donnarg // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Reston, VA

- Population: 60,352
- Median home value: $481,500 (61% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,759 (39% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $113,708
- Educational attainment: 32% masters or higher, 35% bachelors, 18% some college, 15% high school or less

Popular with families in Reston, Va., are its Water Mine Family Swimmin' Hole and Lake Fairfax Park. More than half of families have children under age 18, and the schools are highly rated.

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Idawriter // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Merrifield, VA

- Population: 17,243
- Median home value: $483,500 (40% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,951 (60% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $113,259
- Educational attainment: 34% masters or higher, 39% bachelors, 15% some college, 12% high school or less

Along the Potomac River between southern Maryland and northern Virginia, fast-growing Merrifield was once an industrial unincorporated area. It is now a popular Washington suburb, within walking distance of a Metro station and close to major roadways. Families can enjoy the nearby Muse Paintbar or Angelika Film Center & Cafe.

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Mehul Antani // Flickr

#27. Great Falls, VA

- Population: 15,589
- Median home value: $1,130,400 (96% of residents own)
- Median rent: $3,196 (4% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $230,450
- Educational attainment: 44% masters or higher, 37% bachelors, 11% some college, 8% high school or less

Leafy Great Falls has a picturesque town center with small, friendly shops and good schools, a weekly gathering of vintage car enthusiasts and an annual Easter egg hunt with gemstones from a local jewelry store hidden in a few lucky eggs. Niche has rated Langley High School as the #5 best public high school in Virginia and the Madeira School, a neighboring private boarding school for girls, is one of the most elite prep schools in the nation, with a top equestrian program.

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Thomson200 // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Milton, GA

- Population: 37,556
- Median home value: $494,300 (73% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,283 (27% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $120,595
- Educational attainment: 26% masters or higher, 42% bachelors, 19% some college, 13% high school or less

Milton, Ga., was created recently from a large unincorporated area of North Fulton County, about 20 miles north of Atlanta. It offers a combination of public and private schools and is conveniently located near shopping, restaurants, and job centers within metro Atlanta. Milton hosts a pumpkin carving special event in October and a fire department pancake breakfast with Santa in December.

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Sonofkenny // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Chantilly, VA

- Population: 24,802
- Median home value: $475,900 (81% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,798 (19% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $119,615
- Educational attainment: 25% masters or higher, 31% bachelors, 21% some college, 24% high school or less

Chantilly, 25 miles west of Washington D.C., has spacious homes, good schools, and a top regional library. There’s easy access to outdoor activities, parks, and recreation, and the high school graduation rate is 22% higher than the state’s average.

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APRCR // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Apex, NC

- Population: 45,899
- Median home value: $289,300 (72% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,194 (28% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $100,305
- Educational attainment: 22% masters or higher, 39% bachelors, 23% some college, 15% high school or less

The town of Apex, a suburb of Raleigh, is teeming with dog parks, a skate park, agility courses, forestland, playgrounds, and sports fields, and it has trail-head access to the Beaver Creek Greenway. The local American Tobacco Trail, another greenway, is a project of the American Rails-to-Trails Conservancy that turns abandoned rail lines into trails.

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Thomson // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Suwanee, GA

- Population: 18,655
- Median home value: $273,100 (76% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,443 (24% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $85,306
- Educational attainment: 17% masters or higher, 34% bachelors, 26% some college, 23% high school or less

Suwanee is known for its public artworks and popular food trucks. It has low crime and some of the best schools in the state.

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Fredlyfish4 // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Idylwood, VA

- Population: 18,678
- Median home value: $520,300 (51% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,716 (49% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $104,038
- Educational attainment: 30% masters or higher, 31% bachelors, 16% some college, 23% high school or less

Close to Washington D.C., Idylwood has a diverse population and beautiful natural landscape. Residents rave about its great gyms and recreational facilities.

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pulaw // Flickr

#21. Farragut, TN

- Population: 21,975
- Median home value: $343,200 (87% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,164 (13% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $108,171
- Educational attainment: 29% masters or higher, 34% bachelors, 22% some college, 15% high school or less

Farragut, outside Knoxville, offers good schools and outdoor recreation. Farragut High School boasts above-average test scores and graduation rates. The southern end of town sits on Fort Loudon Lake, and is full of parks, playgrounds, a popular dog run, nature trails, and a marina.

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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#20. McNair, VA

- Population: 21,183
- Median home value: $420,700 (24% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,833 (76% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $105,990
- Educational attainment: 31% masters or higher, 36% bachelors, 14% some college, 18% high school or less

McNair has spacious homes, friendly neighborhoods, shady trees and family-friendly activities organized by residents. It is close to Dulles Airport, downtown Herndon and Reston Town Center, and an extension of Washington’s metro system is planned for 2020.

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Jeff Kubina // Flickr

#19. Fort Thomas, KY

- Population: 16,254
- Median home value: $214,000 (69% of residents own)
- Median rent: $803 (31% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $71,956
- Educational attainment: 19% masters or higher, 30% bachelors, 28% some college, 24% high school or less

Fort Thomas has well-respected public schools. The education level of Fort Thomas residents ranks among the highest in the nation. Families can visit the Fort Thomas Military and Community Center or browse the Antiques and Design Center.

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Jurban // Flickr

#18. Vienna, VA

- Population: 16,474
- Median home value: $687,000 (82% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,909 (18% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $150,383
- Educational attainment: 35% masters or higher, 31% bachelors, 17% some college, 17% high school or less

Vienna is a small Virginia town with a big community vibe that’s perfect for raising a family. It celebrates annual festivals including Viva Vienna and Oktoberfest for all ages. It is home to the Meadowlark Botanical Garden, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, and the Roer's Zoo.

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Quiddler // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Alpharetta, GA

- Population: 63,929
- Median home value: $364,900 (64% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,323 (36% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $98,489
- Educational attainment: 26% masters or higher, 38% bachelors, 22% some college, 13% high school or less

Located near Atlanta, Alpharetta is near forested mountains as well. Schools and police are well funded, and the high number of technology jobs in the area has attracted a well-educated populace. The city organizes food truck festivals, road races, concerts, and an outdoor arts festival.

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GPA Photo Archive // Flickr

#16. Bentonville, AR

- Population: 44,601
- Median home value: $203,800 (54% of residents own)
- Median rent: $883 (46% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $79,259
- Educational attainment: 17% masters or higher, 32% bachelors, 22% some college, 29% high school or less

Home to Walmart headquarters, Bentonville has affordable housing and a low crime rate. Residents enjoy 18 parks and 20 miles of trails.

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Woody21390 // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Short Pump, VA

- Population: 26,624
- Median home value: $397,800 (62% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,309 (38% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $110,317
- Educational attainment: 30% masters or higher, 43% bachelors, 16% some college, 11% high school or less

Short Pump is friendly, safe, and upbeat, residents say. Its education system is highly rated, from elementary to high school. Families can spend a day at the Short Pump Children’s Museum or bring their dogs to the pet area at Short Pump Park while the kids enjoy the playground.

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Patrickneil // Wikimedia Commons

#14. McLean, VA

- Population: 47,305
- Median home value: $990,100 (87% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,969 (13% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $193,426
- Educational attainment: 54% masters or higher, 29% bachelors, 10% some college, 7% high school or less

McLean High School is top rated, making the affluent town in Northern Virginia popular with families. The community hosts an annual fall garage sale, 5K race, arts festival, and McLean Day—an annual event with carnival rides, live music, and exhibits.

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James Willamor // Flickr

#13. Cary, NC

- Population: 159,715
- Median home value: $323,000 (69% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,133 (31% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $97,755
- Educational attainment: 28% masters or higher, 37% bachelors, 20% some college, 14% high school or less

Fast-growing Cary, N.C., is considered a great place to raise a family, near Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. The Koka Booth Amphitheater hosts outdoor concerts and family movies. 

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Shannon McGee // Flickr

#12. Madison, AL

- Population: 47,079
- Median home value: $239,400 (70% of residents own)
- Median rent: $879 (30% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $92,197
- Educational attainment: 23% masters or higher, 33% bachelors, 27% some college, 16% high school or less

Madison, in northern Alabama, in 2019 was ranked the state’s #1 suburb, the best suburb to raise a family, and the best suburb to buy a house. The town has top-rated schools and earns high grades for its low cost of living and crime rates, jobs, and diversity. Madison is the fastest-growing city in Alabama but keeps a small-town, southern charm with a quaint downtown and historic homes.

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Lincolnh // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Decatur, GA

- Population: 22,022
- Median home value: $418,700 (67% of residents own)
- Median rent: $866 (33% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $92,263
- Educational attainment: 37% masters or higher, 34% bachelors, 13% some college, 15% high school or less

Decatur is part of the Atlanta metropolitan area but has a distinct identity of its own. It is a favorite of young couples and families due to its strong schools, low crime rate, and historic homes. The downtown has concerts in a community bandstand and a yearly beach party with inflatable water slides, and the city hosts an annual BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass Festival.

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Jurban // Flickr

#10. Wolf Trap, VA

- Population: 17,086
- Median home value: $891,100 (96% of residents own)
- Median rent: $3,501 (4% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $218,750
- Educational attainment: 49% masters or higher, 35% bachelors, 10% some college, 6% high school or less

Wolf Trap, a suburban neighborhood in Vienna, is wealthier than 99.9% of the neighborhoods in the United States. But it is among the best neighborhoods for families in Virginia with top public schools and very little crime. Visit the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts or nearby Meadowlark Botanical Gardens.

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Skye Marthaler // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Brentwood, TN

- Population: 41,524
- Median home value: $582,800 (91% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,018 (9% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $151,722
- Educational attainment: 29% masters or higher, 44% bachelors, 16% some college, 11% high school or less

Brentwood is a suburb of Nashville, with greenery and rolling hills. Brentwood High School is highly ranked, and the town’s high school graduation rate is 96%. The town comprises 13 parks, including the 400-acre Smith Park.

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Thomson200 // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Johns Creek, GA

- Population: 83,397
- Median home value: $366,200 (78% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,469 (22% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $113,609
- Educational attainment: 26% masters or higher, 40% bachelors, 19% some college, 15% high school or less

Johns Creek became a city in 2006. It has great schools, with the highest average test scores in the state, as well as arts and recreational opportunities. Families can bring their pets to Newtown Park or walk the Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Center.

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sailko // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Oakton, VA

- Population: 37,166
- Median home value: $604,300 (65% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,856 (35% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $124,193
- Educational attainment: 38% masters or higher, 33% bachelors, 16% some college, 13% high school or less

Oakton is a comfortable suburb with good public and private schools and mom-and-and pop shops. Its backroads help drivers avoid the busy Northern Virginia traffic. It gets top scores for its public schools, housing, diversity, and family environment.

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James H. Dunning // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Ashburn, VA

- Population: 49,895
- Median home value: $479,900 (72% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,818 (28% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $124,399
- Educational attainment: 26% masters or higher, 36% bachelors, 24% some college, 14% high school or less

Ashburn is a suburban area in the Dulles Tech Corridor with highly ranked schools. It is close-knit and welcoming, residents say. Families can go ice skating at the Ashburn Ice House or spend an afternoon at Ashburn Park, replete with trails and playgrounds.

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CeGe // Shutterstock

#5. Morrisville, NC

- Population: 23,873
- Median home value: $304,500 (49% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,262 (51% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $95,763
- Educational attainment: 29% masters or higher, 38% bachelors, 20% some college, 13% high school or less

Morrisville, near Raleigh, and Chapel Hill, in 2019 was rated the #1 place to live in North Carolina, according to a national real estate survey company. The ranking was based on its public schools, family friendliness, health, and fitness. and other factors. Get physical at the Triangle Rock Club before treating yourselves to an array of international cuisines like Indian at Hyderabad House and Lebanese at Neomonde Mediterranean.

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Arlington County // Flickr

#4. Arlington, VA

- Population: 229,534
- Median home value: $643,300 (44% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,895 (56% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $112,138
- Educational attainment: 39% masters or higher, 35% bachelors, 12% some college, 14% high school or less

Schools that serve students in Arlington are among the best in Virginia. Average school test scores are 25% higher than the national average, and 72% of the population holds bachelor’s degrees. It’s known for having an array of pet-friendly parks. The Mount Vernon Trail has 17 miles filled with scenic views, and the Lubber Run Amphitheater offers free, family-friendly shows from magicians to violinists.

 

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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Franklin Farm, VA

- Population: 19,588
- Median home value: $610,200 (92% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,394 (8% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $169,549
- Educational attainment: 38% masters or higher, 38% bachelors, 15% some college, 10% high school or less

Franklin Farm in Fairfax County is family-friendly and picturesque, packing a lot into its 1.32 square miles. The planned community features 180 acres of open space, 13 miles of trails, sports courts, and swimming pools.

 

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BramLife // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Brambleton, VA

- Population: 19,876
- Median home value: $560,000 (85% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,364 (15% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $173,690
- Educational attainment: 31% masters or higher, 48% bachelors, 13% some college, 7% high school or less

Brambleton earns top marks for its offerings, from high-performing schools and job prospects to outdoor activities and diversity. Its Beaverdam Creek Reservoir offers an array of outdoor recreation options, and Brambleton has more than 15 miles of paved trails, pocket parks, and open spaces.

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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#1. South Riding, VA

- Population: 30,426
- Median home value: $499,300 (87% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,226 (13% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $147,371
- Educational attainment: 31% masters or higher, 39% bachelors, 17% some college, 13% high school or less

South Riding has among the highest median family incomes in the state, and is among the top five Virginia cities that have the most families with children. This time of year families can enjoy the Halloween Spooktacular and in the warmer months, South Riding offers a Summer Concert Series.

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