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Best places to raise a family in the Midwest

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Kenneth Sponsler // Shutterstock

Best places to raise a family in the Midwest

One of the best measures of success is one’s quality of life. Measured as the personal and economic security and level of happiness one has in their life, this is largely a product of one’s environment. Access to quality schools, a strong assortment of amenities, good local jobs, safe streets, and a strong sense of community are all important.

Many, however, must make a compromise. One can find affordable housing, for example, in a small town, but usually has to sacrifice ready access to jobs or reasonable crime rates. Communities that tick all the boxes are rare.

These communities are typically suburbs of large cities that house highly affluent professionals who make up a tax base large enough to support the best schools, well-paid police officers, additional job infrastructure, and amenities that would draw more wealthy residents. This continues to grow the tax base, creating a self-feeding loop that leads these communities to be the best areas available to live.

To help families of all stages take a data-driven approach to finding the best communities within the Midwest, Stacker looked to Niche's 2019 Best Places to Raise a Family, which evaluates 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).

The Midwest consists of the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin. Only places with populations of over 10,000 were considered, with at least two places from every state included to offer representation for all states.

Keep reading to learn if your community made the list.

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Steven Frame // Shutterstock

#50. Sioux Falls, SD

- Population: 170,401
- Median home value: $168,600 (61% of residents own)
- Median rent: $771 (39% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $56,714
- Educational attainment: 11% masters or higher, 23% bachelors, 32% some college, 34% high school or less

Sioux Falls is the most populous city in South Dakota. Formerly the center of a vast agricultural and mineral extraction region, the city has diversified—in part due to the state’s lack of a state-based corporate income tax and because it is the only major city in the region prior to Minneapolis.

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David Harmantas // Shutterstock

#49. Fargo, ND

- Population: 118,099
- Median home value: $190,200 (43% of residents own)
- Median rent: $765 (57% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $50,561
- Educational attainment: 11% masters or higher, 27% bachelors, 35% some college, 26% high school or less

Fargo is the most populous city in North Dakota. The twin city of Moorhead, Minn., it is the home of North Dakota State University, The city is the cultural, educational, and industrial hub of eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.

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Carrie Scarr // Flickr

#48. West Fargo, ND

- Population: 33,089
- Median home value: $217,400 (68% of residents own)
- Median rent: $826 (32% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $76,925
- Educational attainment: 12% masters or higher, 27% bachelors, 38% some college, 23% high school or less

West Fargo is a bordering suburb of Fargo. The fifth-largest city in North Dakota by population, West Fargo is a densely populated suburb, according to Niche, that has a relatively high crime rate but ranks well with diversity, public schools, jobs available, and cost of living. Over two-thirds of the city’s population lives in homes that are owned rather than rented.

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Jon Platek // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Brookings, SD

- Population: 23,471
- Median home value: $169,400 (49% of residents own)
- Median rent: $699 (51% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $47,506
- Educational attainment: 18% masters or higher, 27% bachelors, 26% some college, 29% high school or less

Brookings is the fourth-largest city in South Dakota by population. The home of South Dakota State University, the largest university in the state, Brookings is a college town. The second-best place to live in South Dakota, according to Niche, Brookings has great schools and an average rent of $99-$250 less than the national average.

[Pictured: Brookings County Playground.]

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Ali Eminov // Flickr

#46. La Vista, NE

- Population: 17,062
- Median home value: $141,100 (56% of residents own)
- Median rent: $939 (44% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $63,034
- Educational attainment: 9% masters or higher, 23% bachelors, 39% some college, 28% high school or less

A suburb of Omaha, La Vista is a relatively new city in Sarpy County, Neb. Incorporated in 1960, the city has a population of 17,062. Per Niche, La Vista has 29.5 assaults per 100,000 residents, compared to an average of 282.7 nationally. However, the city has a rape rate double the national average.

[Pictured: La Vista Public Library.]

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Lynn Betts/USDA // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Clive, IA

- Population: 17,134
- Median home value: $243,200 (78% of residents own)
- Median rent: $920 (22% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $94,907
- Educational attainment: 19% masters or higher, 36% bachelors, 25% some college, 20% high school or less

Clive, Iowa, is a city in the Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area, with the city being center among Des Moines’ western suburbs. The city is known for its Greenbelt Park and Trail system, which stretches out for 11.3 miles. While housing costs are at par with national averages, the city has an overwhelming home ownership rate, low crime, and some of the best schools in the region.

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owahwyman // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Waukee, IA

- Population: 17,980
- Median home value: $211,100 (78% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,051 (22% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $91,875
- Educational attainment: 15% masters or higher, 39% bachelors, 28% some college, 18% high school or less

Another part of the Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area, Waukee is a fast-growing city in central Iowa. In 2017, the city was awarded a $1.38 billion data center campus from Apple. The city is thought to be named after Milwaukee, Wis.

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Paul Sableman // Flickr

#43. Kirkwood, MO

- Population: 27,659
- Median home value: $273,900 (75% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,031 (25% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $79,439
- Educational attainment: 28% masters or higher, 35% bachelors, 22% some college, 15% high school or less

Kirkwood is a western suburb of St. Louis in Missouri. The first planned suburb west of the Mississippi River, the city was built following the St. Louis Fire of 1849 as a way to escape the cholera outbreaks that bookended the disaster. The city was placed on the planned new line for the Missouri Pacific Railroad. The suburb is home to one of the campuses of St. Louis Community College, the largest community college in Missouri.

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Chris Favero // Flickr

#42. Brookfield, WI

- Population: 37,943
- Median home value: $296,800 (87% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,496 (13% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $101,761
- Educational attainment: 26% masters or higher, 35% bachelors, 21% some college, 17% high school or less

Brookfield is a western suburb of Milwaukee. The home of Fiserv, a financial services technology business, and FedEx’s SmartPost, the city was the home of infamous Chicago gangster Al Capone. Like many suburbs, the city switched from agricultural use to commercial use and rapidly expanded post-World War II in the baby boom.

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Katie Mollon // Flickr

#41. Forest Hills, MI

- Population: 27,599
- Median home value: $306,400 (94% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,407 (6% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $114,438
- Educational attainment: 28% masters or higher, 37% bachelors, 20% some college, 14% high school or less

Forest Hills is an unincorporated community that encompasses almost all of Ada Township in Michigan. A bedroom community for Grand Rapids, the community has arguably the best schools in the Grand Rapids metropolitan area.

[Pictured: Thornapple River which runs through Forest Hills, MI.]

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Russ // Flickr

#40. Grosse Pointe Park, MI

- Population: 11,240
- Median home value: $332,000 (76% of residents own)
- Median rent: $960 (24% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $105,161
- Educational attainment: 35% masters or higher, 31% bachelors, 22% some college, 12% high school or less

An adjacent suburb of Detroit, Grosse Pointe Park is on the southern shore of Lake Saint Clair. It is the westernmost of the Grosse Pointe cities and is a bedroom community to Detroit workers. The city incorporated as a protection from further annexation from the city of Detroit, as the city annexed a large part of the then-village in 1907. As such, the city’s blocks and streets share the same block pattern as Detroit. Most of the city’s houses were built pre-World War II.

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Lucas Migliorelli // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Eden Prairie, MN

- Population: 63,660
- Median home value: $334,000 (73% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,289 (27% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $103,426
- Educational attainment: 25% masters or higher, 39% bachelors, 24% some college, 13% high school or less

Eden Prairie is a southwestern suburb of Minneapolis. On the northern shore of the Minnesota River and upstream from the Mississippi River, the city is a mixed-income community. Eden Prairie is the home of C. H. Robinson Worldwide, SABIS, MTS Systems, and SuperValu. The city of about 60,000 residents have over 2,200 businesses.

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The West End // Flickr

#38. Deerfield, IL

- Population: 18,896
- Median home value: $505,500 (87% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,768 (13% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $142,621
- Educational attainment: 39% masters or higher, 38% bachelors, 14% some college, 8% high school or less

A north shore suburb of Chicago, Deerfield is about 25 miles north of the city. The home of Walgreens, Baxter Healthcare, Caterpillar, Consumers Digest, Mondelez International, and Fortune Brands Home & Security, Deerfield is one of the wealthiest communities in the Midwest with a median household income of $142,621.

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The Old Major // Shutterstock

#37. Ballwin, MO

- Population: 30,388
- Median home value: $241,800 (82% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,096 (18% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $88,913
- Educational attainment: 21% masters or higher, 33% bachelors, 25% some college, 20% high school or less

A southwestern suburb of St. Louis, Ballwin is a city of 30,000. Described as a tightly knit community, the city has great schools, rent on par with the national average, and low crime rates. Home ownership rates are very high in this community.

[Pictured: Public park in Ballwin, MO.]

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Dstarj

#36. Chesterfield, MO

- Population: 47,660
- Median home value: $360,400 (77% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,142 (23% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $99,848
- Educational attainment: 32% masters or higher, 35% bachelors, 20% some college, 13% high school or less

Another St. Louis suburb, Chesterfield is a city about 25 miles west of the city, located in part in the Chesterfield Valley. The city is the home of the longest outdoor strip mall in America. The community has median home values twice that of the national average and median rents $200 above the national median. The city has low crime rates.

[The Butterfly House at Faust Park in Chesterfield, MO.]

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Kenneth Sponsler // Shutterstock

#35. Hudson, Ohio

- Population: 22,250
- Median home value: $328,800 (85% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,057 (15% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $128,324
- Educational attainment: 32% masters or higher, 40% bachelors, 16% some college, 12% high school or less

Hudson is a suburb of Akron. A stop on the Underground Railroad, the community was key in the antislavery movement, even though the community’s founder favored colonization or the returning of free blacks to Africa. Jo-Ann Stores has its corporate headquarters in the city, and Allstate Insurance maintains a call center/data center in Hudson.

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Deyan G. Georgiev // Shutterstock

#34. Edina, MN

- Population: 50,603
- Median home value: $438,300 (72% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,288 (28% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $96,477
- Educational attainment: 30% masters or higher, 40% bachelors, 19% some college, 11% high school or less

Edina is an adjacent suburb southwest of Minneapolis. Readily connected to Minneapolis by a number of highways, the city is a bedroom community to the larger city. Dairy Queen, Orange Julius, Regis Corporation, Lund Foods, UnitedHealthcare, and Jerry’s Foods are all based in the city.

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David Wynia // Flickr

#33. Chanhassen, MN

- Population: 25,108
- Median home value: $350,600 (87% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,279 (13% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $116,569
- Educational attainment: 20% masters or higher, 42% bachelors, 24% some college, 14% high school or less

Receiving fame as the home of Paisley Park, the studios and home of late music legend Prince, Chanhassen is a southwestern suburb of Minneapolis. The largest professional dinner theater in the nation is located in Chanhassen, as is the Temple of Eck—the center of the Eckankar faith in the United States. The city has a median household income of $116,569—more than twice the national median.

[Pictured: Family friendly bike race in Chanhassen, MN.]

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pics721 // Shutterstock

#32. Glenview, IL

- Population: 47,066
- Median home value: $488,300 (83% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,732 (17% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $103,773
- Educational attainment: 30% masters or higher, 33% bachelors, 19% some college, 18% high school or less

Glenview is a village 15 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. The village is home to Naval Air Station Glenview. It is home to several corporations, such as Avon, Aon, Combined Insurance, Kraft Foods, Illinois Tool Works, and Republic Tobacco. With median home values of $488,300—more than three times the national median—and a median household income twice the national median, Glenview is highly affluent.

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eles // Shutterstock

#31. Northbrook, IL

- Population: 33,591
- Median home value: $517,700 (87% of residents own)
- Median rent: $2,036 (13% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $119,568
- Educational attainment: 31% masters or higher, 37% bachelors, 18% some college, 14% high school or less

Another affluent suburb of Chicago, Northbrook sits on the northern border of Cook County. The headquarters for Underwriters Laboratories and Crate & Barrel are both located in the city, with Allstate’s headquarters located outside the city. Director John Hughes’ fictional city of Shermer was based in part on Northbrook; many of Hughes’ films were filmed in Northbrook, including :Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Uncle Buck,” “She’s Having a Baby,” “Weird Science,” “The Breakfast Club,” and “Ordinary People.”

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Foursquare

#30. Vernon Hills, IL

- Population: 26,084
- Median home value: $334,200 (68% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,403 (32% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $97,880
- Educational attainment: 24% masters or higher, 38% bachelors, 21% some college, 17% high school or less

Yet another northern suburb of Chicago, Vernon Hills is the retail hub of south central Lake County. Technology products provider CDW, barcode label and receipt printer Zebra Technologies, Rust-Oleum Corporation, and Cole-Parmer are all headquartered in the city. The city also hosts several retail complexes, including Hawthorn Mall and Mellody Farm.

[Pictured: Century Park in Vernon Hills, IL.]

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David Wilson // Flickr

#29. La Grange, IL

- Population: 15,721
- Median home value: $463,100 (82% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,179 (18% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $117,610
- Educational attainment: 31% masters or higher, 31% bachelors, 19% some college, 19% high school or less

A western suburb of Chicago, La Grange is a village in Cook County. Located 13 miles from the Chicago Loop, the village was named for La Grange, Tenn. La Grange has a median home value of $463,100 and a median household income of $117,610.

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Aspects and Angles // Shutterstock

#28. Papillion, NE

- Population: 19,478
- Median home value: $172,700 (68% of residents own)
- Median rent: $851 (32% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $76,259
- Educational attainment: 14% masters or higher, 25% bachelors, 35% some college, 27% high school or less

Papillion is the county seat of Sarpy County and a part of the Omaha metro area. Named for the large number of butterflies that were found on the grassy banks of the Papillion Creek, the city is the home of the data marketing services provider Infogroup. The city has a median home value and median rent slightly less than the national median, while having a median household income over $20,000 above the national median.

[Pictured: Man fishing in Papillion, NE.]

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Susan Montgomery // Shutterstock

#27. Birmingham, MI

- Population: 20,836
- Median home value: $467,700 (75% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,414 (25% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $114,537
- Educational attainment: 38% masters or higher, 39% bachelors, 15% some college, 8% high school or less

In the northern part of the Detroit metro area, Birmingham has a city motto of “A Walkable Community.” Cultivating a small, highly liveable feel, Birmingham is known for its high home values, low crime, strong schools, and high affluence.

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David Wilson // Flickr

#26. Hinsdale, IL

- Population: 17,705
- Median home value: $875,900 (85% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,773 (15% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $171,453
- Educational attainment: 42% masters or higher, 37% bachelors, 12% some college, 9% high school or less

Sitting on the border of Cook and DuPage counties, Hinsdale is a highly affluent western suburb of Chicago.The village is within the top 1% of the wealthiest towns in Illinois, with beautiful homes and a town attitude of tearing down older buildings to rebuild bigger and more expensive properties. The village has a median home value of $875,900—one of the highest on this list—and a median household income of $171,453.

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Foursquare

#25. Shoreview, MN

- Population: 26,432
- Median home value: $248,600 (82% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,203 (18% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $84,362
- Educational attainment: 22% masters or higher, 33% bachelors, 28% some college, 17% high school or less

A suburb of Saint Paul, Shoreview is a city located in the northern part of Ramsey County. A bedroom community to the Twin Cities, Shoreview is densely populated, with a median home value of $248,600 and a median household income of $84,362.

[Pictured: Shoreview Community Center in Shoreview, MN.]

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Paulmcdonald // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Prairie Village, KS

- Population: 21,932
- Median home value: $243,800 (78% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,263 (22% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $84,106
- Educational attainment: 29% masters or higher, 42% bachelors, 19% some college, 9% high school or less

Prairie Village is a suburb of Overland Park in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. A bedroom community of Overland Park, Kansas City, Kansas, Kansas City, and Missouri, Prairie Village has a median home value about $60,000 more than the national median and a median rent $300 more than the national median rent.

[Pictured: Franklin Park playground in Prairie Village, KS.]

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AimeeJL // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Leawood, KS

- Population: 34,195
- Median home value: $431,000 (91% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,363 (9% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $151,446
- Educational attainment: 35% masters or higher, 41% bachelors, 17% some college, 7% high school or less

Located south of Prairie Village is Leawood. Another Kansas City Metropolitan Area city, Leawood is home of the largest Methodist church in the nation, the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. Sparsely populated, the area’s home are overwhelmingly occupied by their owners, rather than rented. Niche found Leawood to be the best place in the state to retire, the place in Kansas with the best schools, and the best suburb in Kansas to raise a family.

[Pictured: Gezer Park in Leawood, KS.]

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Dwight Burdette // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Northville Township, MI

- Population: 28,838
- Median home value: $387,300 (80% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,227 (20% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $109,712
- Educational attainment: 31% masters or higher, 33% bachelors, 22% some college, 14% high school or less

Returning to Detroit, Northville Township is a charter township in the northwestern corner of Wayne County. The township is seperate from the city of Northville, although the two are geographically adjoined. In Michigan, a charter township is a town that—by virtue of having received a charter from the state—has home rule authority that allows the establishment of municipal services like a police force, and the ability to acquire property, borrow money, and issue bonds.

[Pictured: Northville Township Municipal Building.]

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Paul Sableman // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Clayton, MO

- Population: 16,214
- Median home value: $590,800 (58% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,168 (42% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $91,531
- Educational attainment: 44% masters or higher, 35% bachelors, 11% some college, 10% high school or less

Clayton is a suburb of St. Louis. Clayton is the county seat of St. Louis County. It is largely a bedroom community for St. Louis’s wealthy and educated young professionals. The city has a median home value of more than three times the national median and a median household income of $91,531. The city has strong schools and little crime.

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Mal_Media // Shutterstock

#20. East Grand Rapids, MI

- Population: 11,493
- Median home value: $325,500 (94% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,489 (6% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $125,180
- Educational attainment: 37% masters or higher, 42% bachelors, 15% some college, 7% high school or less

East Grand Rapids is a suburb of Grand Rapids. On the shores of Reeds Lake, East Grand Rapids came into the national spotlight in 1974 as the legal home of Gerald Ford, despite the fact that he has actually lived in Washington D.C. as a serving member of Congress for the previous 25 years. East Grand Rapids has a low crime rate, despite a reported rape rate above the national average.

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Scott Morris // Flickr

#19. Fishers, IN

- Population: 87,557
- Median home value: $240,100 (81% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,175 (19% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $101,469
- Educational attainment: 23% masters or higher, 42% bachelors, 22% some college, 13% high school or less

Fishers is a suburb of Indianapolis. The city has seen exponential growth; in 1990, for example, the city only had about 7,500 residents. The city incorporated in 2015, making it one of the youngest cities on this list. This is largely due to the community’s desire to stay a town, despite the population spike. The city was able to profit off of Indianapolis’s growth due to having affordable housing and being readily accessible via the major highways.

[Pictured: Heritage Park in Fishers, IN.]

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Eric Glenn // Shutterstock

#18. Bexley, OH

- Population: 13,659
- Median home value: $328,300 (76% of residents own)
- Median rent: $938 (24% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $104,796
- Educational attainment: 35% masters or higher, 39% bachelors, 15% some college, 12% high school or less

Bexley is a suburb of Ohio’s capital, Columbus. With one of the best public school districts in Ohio, the Bexley City School Districts boosts a four-year graduation rate of 95.3% and a college matriculation rate of 90%. Bexley is let down by its property crime rate, though; the city has a higher theft rate than the national average per capita.

[Pictured: Drexel Movie Theater in Bexley, OH.]

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Drew Tarvin // Flickr

#17. Mason, OH

- Population: 32,317
- Median home value: $235,000 (81% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,113 (19% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $93,872
- Educational attainment: 24% masters or higher, 34% bachelors, 20% some college, 22% high school or less

A suburb of Cincinnati, Mason is both home to King Island Amusement Park and Lindner Family Tennis Center—one of the largest tennis stadiums in the world. The city also hosts a Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park, the Beach water park, and the corporate headquarters for Luxottica Retail and Cintas.

[Pictured: Sunflower patch in Mason, OH.]

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Ed! // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Montgomery, OH

- Population: 10,587
- Median home value: $343,800 (88% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,073 (12% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $115,489
- Educational attainment: 32% masters or higher, 38% bachelors, 17% some college, 13% high school or less

Another suburb of Cincinnati, Montgomery is a highly affluent bedroom community located on the eastern terminus of the Ronald Reagan Cross Country Highway. The city has a median household income of $115,489, low crime, and high educational attainment. The city has a sparsely suburban feel.

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Joe Hendrickson // Shutterstock

#15. Naperville, IL

- Population: 146,431
- Median home value: $398,500 (75% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,415 (25% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $114,014
- Educational attainment: 30% masters or higher, 37% bachelors, 19% some college, 14% high school or less

Naperville is the fifth-largest city in Illinois by population. As of 2010, Naperville is the wealthiest city in the Midwest with a population over 75,000. It is one of the safest cities in the nation and one of the best educated. The city has a median household income of $114,014.

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Ben Schumin // Flickr

#14. Winnetka, IL

- Population: 12,504
- Median home value: $1,019,800 (89% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,931 (11% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $216,875
- Educational attainment: 48% masters or higher, 41% bachelors, 6% some college, 5% high school or less

A suburb 16 miles north of downtown Chicago, Winnetka is another affluent community. Winnetka is the second-richest municipality in Illinois, with a median household income of $216,875. While the city has property crime rates that are comparable to its neighbors, it virtually has no violent crime.

[Pictured: The real 'Home Alone' house located in Winnetka, IL.]

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Foursqaure

#13. Beverly Hills, MI

- Population: 10,424
- Median home value: $341,500 (90% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,323 (10% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $111,765
- Educational attainment: 34% masters or higher, 37% bachelors, 19% some college, 10% high school or less

A suburb of Detroit, Beverly Hills is the state’s most populous village. A rural community, the homes in the area are predominantly resided in by the homeowner. The community is lined with parks and is highly educated, with 71% of the population having a bachelor’s degree or better.

[Pictured: Beverly Park in Beverly Hills, MI.]

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XavierAJones // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Bloomfield Charter Township, MI

- Population: 41,969
- Median home value: $385,400 (87% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,313 (13% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $123,086
- Educational attainment: 37% masters or higher, 34% bachelors, 18% some college, 10% high school or less

Another charter township in the Detroit metropolitan area, Bloomfield Charter Township is the most expensive place to live in the state of Michigan, as of 2014. Almost completely surrounding the city of Bloomfield Hills, the township was the home of soul great Aretha Franklin. The township is a bedroom community for Detroit, with housing costs only slightly above national median rates.

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Double I Media // Shutterstock

#11. Dublin, OH

- Population: 44,442
- Median home value: $357,900 (77% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,307 (23% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $128,916
- Educational attainment: 31% masters or higher, 43% bachelors, 16% some college, 10% high school or less

A suburb of Columbus, Dublin is the home of the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament. The home of Wendy’s, IGS Energy, Stanley Steemer, and Cardinal Health, the city is highly affluent, with a poverty rate of 2.7%. The median household income is $128,916.

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Jennifer Stone // Shutterstock

#10. Solon, OH

- Population: 23,068
- Median home value: $274,400 (82% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,195 (18% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $99,050
- Educational attainment: 32% masters or higher, 31% bachelors, 19% some college, 18% high school or less

A suburb of Cleveland, Solon is a highly educated bedroom community. Eighty-two percent of all city residents have at least some college experience. The city has low rates of violent and property crimes, a median household income of $99,050 and some of the best public schools in Ohio.

[Pictured: Sledding Hill near Solon, OH.]

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James Andrews1 // Shutterstock

#9. Western Springs, IL

- Population: 13,187
- Median home value: $553,300 (96% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,784 (4% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $150,880
- Educational attainment: 36% masters or higher, 43% bachelors, 14% some college, 8% high school or less

Western Springs is a suburb of Chicago on the western border of Cook County. Named for the mineral springs in the southwest part of the town, Western Springs is highly affluent. 93% of all adult residents have at least some college, with the median household income being $150,880.

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#8. Wildwood, MO

- Population: 35,524
- Median home value: $367,000 (92% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,188 (8% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $130,107
- Educational attainment: 25% masters or higher, 39% bachelors, 25% some college, 10% high school or less

Suburbs are more likely to be considered great places to live because many were initially populated with affluent residents. As school districts in this country receive their primary funding from the local tax base, an affluent population is more likely to fully fund their local schools. To draw more affluent residents, these communities will spend more on amenities, including parks, job development, and local policing. Wildwood, a western suburb of St. Louis, fits this bill. Wildwood is home to the Al Foster Trail, Rockwoods Reservation, and Babler State Park. The city has a median household income of $130,107.

[Pictured: Greensfelder County Park in Wildwood, MO.]

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James Meyer // Shutterstock

#7. Whitefish Bay, WI

- Population: 14,099
- Median home value: $365,500 (82% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,238 (18% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $111,069
- Educational attainment: 34% masters or higher, 40% bachelors, 16% some college, 10% high school or less

Whitefish Bay is a suburb of Milwaukee, located on the shore of Lake Michigan. A bedroom community for Milwaukee, the city has a median household income of $111,069, and a college attainment rate of 90%.

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jbalint1 // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Powell, OH

- Population: 12,658
- Median home value: $359,400 (96% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,628 (4% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $139,851
- Educational attainment: 34% masters or higher, 41% bachelors, 16% some college, 8% high school or less

Powell is a suburb of Columbus, located in the northern part of the metropolitan area. Opting not to host its own school district, the city is serviced by school districts from its neighboring communities. The city has a median household income of $139,851 and a median home value of $359,400.

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Spencer // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Shaker Heights, OH

- Population: 27,749
- Median home value: $218,500 (64% of residents own)
- Median rent: $988 (36% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $82,830
- Educational attainment: 39% masters or higher, 25% bachelors, 21% some college, 15% high school or less

A streetcar suburb of Cleveland, Shaker Heights started as a planned community that separated from Cleveland Heights in 1911. The city has stringent building codes and zoning laws, which played into the city maintaining its unique identity. The city has a median household income of $82,830.

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pics721 // Shutterstock

#4. Wilmette, IL

- Population: 27,393
- Median home value: $659,200 (88% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,509 (12% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $148,678
- Educational attainment: 48% masters or higher, 34% bachelors, 12% some college, 6% high school or less

Only four miles north of Chicago, the village of Wilmette is located in New Trier Township. The village is home to the Bahá'í House of Worship, the only one in operation in the United States. A retiree hot spot, the village inherited the density of Chicago, while still being a bedroom community. The median household income for the city is $148,678.

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CK Chung // Flickr

#3. Buffalo Grove, IL

- Population: 41,551
- Median home value: $314,500 (78% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,478 (22% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $106,564
- Educational attainment: 28% masters or higher, 38% bachelors, 20% some college, 15% high school or less

Staying with Chicagoland, Buffalo Grove is a suburb of the city. Straddling the border of Lake and Cook counties, the city is 30 miles northwest of the Chicago Loop. With a median home value of $314,500 and a median household income of $106,564, the suburb is on par with the city of Chicago itself—particularly, its northern shore neighborhoods.

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Lindasj22 // Shutterstock

#2. Carmel, IN

- Population: 88,595
- Median home value: $320,400 (78% of residents own)
- Median rent: $1,150 (22% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $109,201
- Educational attainment: 29% masters or higher, 42% bachelors, 18% some college, 11% high school or less

Carmel is a suburb north of Indianapolis. An extremely well-educated and affluent city, Carmel has been called “the Beverly Hills of the Midwest.” Carmel is the home of Allegion, CNO Financial Group, and Delta Faucet. The city has a median household income of $109,201.

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Dj1997 // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Okemos, MI

- Population: 22,989
- Median home value: $213,600 (62% of residents own)
- Median rent: $912 (38% of residents rent)
- Median household income: $74,568
- Educational attainment: 43% masters or higher, 31% bachelors, 16% some college, 10% high school or less

The best community to live in the Midwest is the Lansing suburb of Okemos. Used largely as a housing community for employees of Michigan State University, Okemos has moderate home values and rent, high college attainment, low crime, and a moderately high median household income. The suburb has a high percentage of working-class residents, as well as non-married residents.

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