Ouch – Report Ranks DC 454 out of 474 in their List of Best Cities for Young Families

worst city
Photo by PoPville flickr user Nathan Castellanos

Well we were on a roll… however since we are also one of the smartest cities in the USA – go destroy their methodology please!!

From an email:

Apartment List recently conducted a study of the best US cities for young families, and we are releasing the results today. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Washington ranked #454 out of 474 cities in our study
  • It’s best category was housing cost, where it had a score of 41%
  • In the child friendliness category, Washington received a score of 5%
  • Nationwide, Allen, TX ranked #1 overall, with Indianapolis and Dallas suburbs performing exceptionally well

Our report contains data for Washington, DC and 473 other cities in the US (use the search box at the bottom of the article). See below for additional detail on our methodology.


Our analysis centered around the 4 factors that we identified as being important to families:

  • Safety (35%): We used FBI data to rank cities by the number of violent crimes and property crimes per 100,000 residents.
  • Housing Cost (30%): We used census data to calculate the percentage of the median renter income required to rent a 2-bedroom apartment.
  • School Quality (25%): Cities were ranked on high school graduation rate for public school districts based in that city. Comparing schools across different states can be challenging, but using high school graduation rate data from the Department of Education gives us a good estimate of overall school quality.
  • Child Friendliness (10%): Communities with a greater percentage of children tend to be more child friendly, so we used census data to score cities based on the percentage of the population that’s under 18.”

121 Comment

  • Apparently the ability of a child to walk to places on their own without having Mommy and Daddy drive them everywhere was not worthy of consideration.

    • That appears to be covered by the “safety” metric.

      • I think Steve F is referring to availability of public transit.

        • I think he’s talking about the layout of a lot of suburbs, the loops and lollipops or lollipops on a stick, that make distance to get from one house to another grossly different than distance as the crow flies.
          In areas like that people tend to drive their kids places because they’re farther away, but then the safety of driving everywhere isn’t factored in here.
          So, I guess that would mean something like walkability is missing.

    • There are plenty of children around here who walk to places on their own without having Mommy and Daddy drive them everywhere. Some of them just happen to be part of groups who are attacking individuals at the same time.

  • 90% of the score is based on violent/property crime rates, public school graduation rates and average rent for a two-bedroom apartment. Whether you have kids or not, DC is obviously not going to do well in any of those categories. And yet I still have to put up with those damn strollers the size of a Volvo everywhere I go.

  • A lot of people seem to move out to Maryland or Virginia when they’re having kids. Also it seems that with so many people being from far away places, when they have kids they move back “home.” I know my husband and I would not be able to afford a two bedroom apartment without having to move pretty far out there.

  • at least we (narrowly) beat out a city that is known for poisoning its children? (Flint is 465)

  • I have a 2 year old daughter and just moved out of the area because the cost of living was so high. There are so many amenities in the area that are great for kids, but the economics of it just didn’t work for my family. Broke my heart because I LOVE D.C., but we had to weigh a bunch of factors and moving made sense for us.

      • Florida…the jury is still out on how we like it here, but I do get back up to DC for work a lot, so that helps make the transition easier!!

    • Sadly, you typify how I describe DC to out of town friends and relatives all the time: I live in a city full of pregnant women and strollers.

    • Ally

      We’re holding out on moving for as long as we can. We’re lucky in that we could (barely) afford our house and childcare in the city, but crime and the schools are still a huge issue. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it improves soon, because we love it here and I’ve been a happy, DC city gal since 1998.

  • As others have said, it’s just a weighted average of housing cost, schools, crime, and the number of children already there. It’s not too surprising all the places are sh*tty suburbs. This only matters if you don’t care at all about quality of life.

    • Just for clarification, are you saying that you can’t have a good quality of life in the suburbs?

      • Yes. By definition. Suburb is Latin for “shitty quality of life.”

      • it’s definitely not for everyone. i, for one, don’t want my kids to experience life through a car window. an unfortunate side effect of america’s infrastructure decisions over the past 60 years is the stark contrast between suburbs (or small towns) and cities. in most of america, even small towns of 20,000 will have six lane highways going through them. i’d love to be able to raise my kids in a small town, but unfortunately in america, that means driving absolutely everywhere for everything. if we could shift more towards european style small towns (served by train or commuter rail; small population, but more dense, with bikelanes, etc.), i think more people would feel they don’t have to choose between big cities or a lifestyle they don’t want.

        • We recently left dc because of schools and crime. We moved to the suburbs of Philly (Narberth) and guess what we can walk everywhere, stores, park, activities, school, library and train station. There are places, you just have look. We miss DC, but wanted better than DC had to offer to our kids.

          • narbeth looks great. we can’t all move there though. bowling green, ky or birmingham, al or lincoln, ne are more typical examples of modern american urban planning.

          • my point was, it isn’t black and white, city or cul-de-sac development, there are options

          • then you missed the point. narbeth is the exception not the rule. there simply aren’t options for the vast majority of americans.

    • “If I could go back and give my thirteen year old self some advice, the main thing I’d tell him would be to stick his head up and look around. I didn’t really grasp it at the time, but the whole world we lived in was as fake as a Twinkie. Not just school, but the entire town. Why do people move to suburbia? To have kids! So no wonder it seemed boring and sterile. The whole place was a giant nursery, an artificial town created explicitly for the purpose of breeding children.” Paul Graham, “Why Nerds are Unpopular.”

  • I like the photo. Record-digging… start ’em young!

  • Can someone explain how the “Child Friendliness” metric is a remotely objective standard? By their logic does this mean cities with more cars are inherently more car friendly?

    • Exactly. Or that Middle Eastern countries where 70% of the population is under 30 (IIRC, Iran) are somehow “friendlier” to under-30s.

    • (I agree with sproc, in case that wasn’t clear in the above.)

    • Yes! When I take my little kids out to dinner in Capitol Hill, a neighborhood full of children, at worst no one is likely to care and at best my children will be welcomed as actual human beings. When I take my kids out to dinner in another DC neighborhood, with fewer children, there’s a much higher risk that my children will be looked at by staff and patrons as livestock and me as a bumpkin farmer who stinks of manure. There is a palpable difference; the more children in a neighborhood, the friendlier people are to children because children are viewed as fellow members of a community and not as exotic nuisances.

      • Ouch, I’m forced to admit I’m often guilty of the latter. To be fair, when you’ve lived your entire adult life with little or no exposure to children the opposite can be just as awkward and off putting.

      • Yes, some people just hate kjds, but speaking from experience, many people dislike children because they simply aren’t quite ready for social settings (and that disdain goes heavily toward the parents who know this and still come in during Saturday dinner). If a child is prone to screaming, throwing things, getting loose and running around, people aren’t going to be happy in his/her presence at a restaurant. Such is to be expected.

        • +10000!

        • The issue in question isn’t “hate kids” or “love kids” but rather “number of kids as a proxy for how child friendly a city is.” Number of kids is both an indicator that people with kids feel welcome there and a likely causal factor in how welcoming people will be towards kids in that city. Yes, some kids scream and some parents are lazy and blah blah blah people with kids vs people without kids clichés ad infinitum, but no children will ever learn to socialize properly at a restaurant if they never go to restaurants. But we certainly can’t have it both ways: we can’t establish that some adults in the city want child-free areas but simultaneously hold DC to be welcoming to children.

    • I mean, I think we can write off the metric as soon as you realize the Flint is in the top quartile for “Child Friendliness.”

  • Their method for scoring “child-friendliness” seems rather recursive. I’m not sure that the mere presence of children (as a significant chunk of the population) means that a city is actually more likely to be “child-friendly.” And what exactly would/should “child-friendliness” entail? Presence of playgrounds? Daycares? Restaurants perceived as “child-friendly”?

    • Eh, proof of the pudding, etc… in some ways this is the best metric at all since it reflects the voting-with-feet of hundreds of thousands of people. If the wonderfulness of amenity X offset the problems from crime/schools then this would help capture it because if that amenity were really valuable then more people would choose to keep kids here. Not a bad metric and only 10% of the weighting.

      • So, if you have two cities that were identical in every aspect except for the fact that one had a university and one did not. A larger share of non-children will in city with the university because the students will skew the population distribution. Does that mean universities are bad for children?

        • “Does that mean universities are bad for children?”
          No, not at all. But it does mean that amenities and businesses are going to cater more to young adults and working professionals, rather than families with kids and teens. Real estate and investment is finite and are cities are a bit zero sum in nature. In the US, the suburbs were developed with families (and their needs) in mind.

          • So you are saying that a university would crowd out amenities for children like schools, parks, museums, etc. I don’t buy it. Also, businesses (which are only part of the equation) don’t cater to what there is the most of, they cater to what can get the most money.

          • I don’t really agree with your point, Evan, because a university town with little crime, affordable housing and good schools will still score extremely well with this methodology.

  • It’s hard to argue with a heavy weighting for crime and for school quality. Yes, DC has made progress in recent decades but nowhere near enough — as we read about on Popville pretty much every day — and the city deserves to get dinged here until it does better on these scores.

    • Agreed – crime and schools should be among the most heavily weighted factors in determining family friendliness. I was shocked to recently discover that my public high school back home – one that many local residents considered to be “middling” – was ranked 8 by Great Schools. Meanwhile, Wilson HS – which is considered the best by many those clamoring to live in the toniest parts NW DC – was ranked only at a 6. And that is in spite of the fact that the demographics of my old HS have shifted much more heavily into ESL and free lunch populations. It’s really crazy how bad DC schools are.

      • Anonjmous

        If you’re using Great Schools scores as a measure, then you should just fail yourself and move on. Those are not useful past a cursory. Additionally, the Great Schools scores are not set up to be compared across state lines.
        It’s really crazy how bad people are at stereotyping DC schools as bad.

        • That’s great and all, but it’s hard not to use them when many people are basing life altering real estate decisions on them. Like it or not, they mean something to many, many people.
          Yes, that special charter school in an otherwise sea of mediocrity may be awesome for the select few who are able to get in. But the status of by-right public schools are the bellweather for the health of any particular school district.

          • gotryit

            My kids go to a school that you’d probably toss in with the “sea of mediocrity”. Labeling a school “good” vs. “bad” is so much more complicated than that, and is very tied to poverty levels in DC. My kids are learning quite well. I really don’t care about the Great Schools score, or people who make decisions based on that.

          • Ally

            Would you feel comfortable saying which school(s) your kids have had a positive experience with? We have an 8-month old and live near Stadium Armory and would love to send our kid to public school if it was safe and he could learn. We feel comfortable with the elementary schools near us…not with the middle and high schools yet. Hoping that gets better.

          • Ally, My Daughter went to Apple Tree Lincoln Park and it is a Phenomenal School. Pretty rigorous Pre-K Curriculum for 3 and 4 year olds. She is doing quite well at her new school and is reading on a level significantly higher than her age. I recommend them anyone with young children.

          • Maury which is near Stadium Armory/Lincoln Park is a great elementary school as well.

  • I can’t argue with those numbers. It’s pretty clear that those with the means to do so fly off to the suburbs as soon as their kids are of school age, and I can hardly blame them.

    • Umm…. You know it’s a lot more expensive to raise kids in DC than the suburbs, right?

      • Umm…You’re aware of the relative quality of Arlington, Fairfax & Montgomery County public schools compared to DC, right?

        • So “more expensive” now means “I wasn’t zoned for a good school in DC”? Good to know the changing meanings of our language.

          • It is far cheaper to live in an “up and coming” area of DC with low-performing DCPS schools than it is to live in North Arlington, Fairfax, or Bethesda. I’d be very willing to bet that daycare costs in close-in suburbs are not appreciably lower than in DC, as well.

      • This is actually not true. I have three school aged children, and when I move to the burbs this summer, my child care costs will be going up exponentially, to the point that I am considering part-time versus full time employment. Here, I don’t pay for aftercare and school starts early enough that I can accommodate drop off with help. In the counties I am looking at, elementary starts at or around 9am, so I will need before and aftercare, which costs about $370 a month per child. Not to mention that there’s no such thing as DPR Camp, so summers will be a lot more expensive for me. My rent may be cheaper, but really I will be worse off.
        I live pretty modestly here and we do ok. I’m not a WOTP or “it” school chaser and I gave birth to children, not snowflakes, so perhaps my perspective is a little different than some. But it can absolutely be done.

  • Apartment List is not a credible source, there’s my attack on the results. Too many lists these days; my Facebook feed has a different “this is the best XX city in America” every other day. DC is great and only improving

    • HaileUnlikely

      Ditto. I do not disagree with DC not being in the top few hundred, though. I’m not sure I could develop an adequate optimization function to score this sort of thing, but the cost of housing, cost of childcare, violent crime, and public school performance would certainly comprise a good chunk of it, and our beloved city unfortunately blows with respect to most of those. Offsetting by cool amenities would unfortunately also be pretty minimal, as many of those cool amenities are unaffordable to normal folks who are paying for housing and childcare.

      • Agreed. I’d be interested in how many people who dispute a low rant for DC actually have kids. As you said, “the cost of housing, cost of childcare, violent crime, and public school performance would certainly comprise a good chunk of it, and our beloved city unfortunately blows with respect to most of those.” Tough to argue with that.

  • I think this is a pretty obvious outcome given the methodology. How much of the new housing construction could you realistically say is targeted toward families? For the cost of a 2-BR apartment, you can buy a detached house in nearby suburbs within school districts far better than the ones offered in DC. Sure, DC has cultural amenities that are world-class for children, but the point of the study is pretty obviously focused on the ability for a small family to get by, and not thrive culturally.

    • That was also my read on this. I have several friends who have had to make the choice to move out of the city because the cost of childcare, even before they go into school is more than they were paying for housing. Then, you get to school and you have no clue what you’re going to get. Between cost of living with a family, and the schools alone, I can 100% believe that DC would be this far down the list.

  • “Best Cities for People Who Dislike Cities”

    • LOL!
      I’m also curious how they chose their cities in the first place. Alexandria, VA is in the list (and receives an A-), but Arlington, VA is not.

      • My initial guess was they were looking at incorporated cities above a certain population. Arlington is a county and a coterminous census-designated place, but not a city. It DOES seem like they stuck to incorporated cities (searching for MD, places like Bethesda and Silver Spring, which are unincorporated CDPs within Montgomery County are not there), but things are still inconsistent. Frederick, MD, an incorporated city within Frederick County (pop: 65k), is on the list, while Rockville, MD, an incorporated city within Montgomery County (pop: 61k) is not.
        So it doesn’t really make any sense.

    • So your definition of a city is a place with prevalent crime, shitty schools, expensive houses, and no kids? Sounds delightful! And we’re not even talking about expensive pints of Bud Lite yet!

      • most american cities are just a collection of suburbs. density, walkability, and public transit are characteristics of what most people would describe as a city. 2 million people over 500 square miles typically isn’t. but yes, bud light can be expensive, unfortunately.

  • None of the top 10 cities are major cities – they’re all smaller cities or suburbs. All major cities ranked poorly.

  • I love raising our family in DC. It is extremely expensive, but as long as we work in DC, we will live in DC and make it work. The thought of commuting into the city with the traffic and having to leave work by 4 to make sure I can pickup the kids by 6 is crazy.

    • Agree with this viewpoint. My sister lives in a far out Va burb. She has a house with a yard that they bought for an affordable price, but you can’t walk anywhere. And the worst part is it takes her 1.5 hours to get to work some mornings. This morning it took 2 hours. Then you have to turn around and do it again in the evening! That is no way to live IMO.

      • SouthwestDC

        1.5-2 hours each way doesn’t sound bad. I used to live just inside that Beltway and it would still take me that long. I suspect I’m not as tough as other people when it comes to sitting in traffic, but I would it completely exhausting (and I don’t even have kids).

        • Oh god, I have done everything from 5 minutes to 2 hours each way and anything beyond an hour each way just sucks the life out of me. There are some people who cut their commute by leaving their house at 6am, but that’s not for me either.

        • “1.5-2 hours each way doesn’t sound bad.”
          Really? It sounds horrible to me. Say you work the standard 5 days, 40 hours a week, and sleep for 7 hours a night. Of the 168 hours in a week, you are already down to 79 non work or sleep hours. If you have a 1.5 hour commute each way, you are in the car (or whatever your mode of transport) for nineteen percent of your otherwise available week. Two hours each way, and it’s more than 25% of your available time. No thank you.

          • SouthwestDC

            I meant it’s incredible that she lives in a far our burb and it only takes her 2 hours at most. She most be one of those people that gets in the road before 6am and/or downplays how long her commute actually is.

        • palisades

          How in gods name does that not sound bad? My father and mother both commuted an hour and a half each way for like 30 years and I could NEVER imagine doing that. My commute is 30 min and it kills me.

        • I used to do this, and it is exactly why I moved to the city. Whether it’s bad or not is a personal call; I know many, many people who have this sort of commute or longer and have done it for well over ten years. One of besties is a fed who lives in King George, VA. My mom commuted from Alexandria to St Mary’s County in MD for three years. It’s done a lot. The fact is, the jobs and salaries aren’t always where people want to live.

    • I think there’s this fake dichotomy where if you don’t live in DC proper, you live in an exurb. For practical matters, Silver Spring and Arlington and Hyattsville are no more distant from DC than urban residential neighborhoods are from the business centers of larger cities. The DC borders are kind of meaningless for people who live within five to ten miles of downtown.

      • For practical matters, Silver Spring and Arlington are not too much cheaper (or are they even?) cheaper than DC proper! Yes, your commute isn’t bad from the close in ‘burbs, but that’s it. It sucks from Vienna, Fairfax, Woodbridge, Rockville, Centreville, Gainesville, Bowie, etc.

      • I don’t know. I lived about 3 miles outside of DC in Alexandria city and my commute home (metro or driving) was routinely an hour and a half. The commute in was between 20mn-an hour, depending on when I left. When I moved into DC, my commute is 20 minutes by car or 30 by metro, pretty regularly. Both homes were about the same distance from work, it was just having to cross the bridge (by car) or take two metros and a bus home that made all the difference. Now it is two really short metro rides or a short car ride.

    • Thank you for sharing your perspective! My husband and I are expecting our first this April and have always lived in DC. We both work in DC and are fortunate to have reasonable commutes. Many of our friends are questioning when we will move out of the city – but your point about the commute is key! Our quality of life would be worse with difficult commutes considering child care. It is expensive, and we could have more space elsewhere, but at the expense of our time too.

    • I think most people who leave DC are agree that DC is bad for families don’t necessarily “hate the idea of raising kids in DC , the just can’t. I have a friend who has been on 4 day care waiting lists sine she was pregnant. Her son is almost 10 months old. She has to fly her parents in from out of state because she can’t find an open spot for child care and can’t afford a nanny. Its not that Dc is bad for kids/ families its just hard to make work especially if you only pulling in a modest salary.

  • I plan to leave in the next few years (in my late 20s now). It is not feasible for me to afford childcare and a family sized apartment in this city for the careers my partner and I have (both currently working in education). I will miss the city but it is what it is.

  • Given that the newer developments and even a lot of the condo conversions are being geared towards singles and those with roommates, I am not surprised at the child friendliness score. The SF’s at the Hampshires sold out fast because there is a lack of new housing for the traditional family of 4. When you factor in crime, poverty, and the public school system (non-charter) it makes sense that DC didnt fare so well. There are the rehab TH but one has to be selective of the neighborhood when you have kids.

  • Meh. Sorta lifelong MD suburbanite who moved into the city with a 18-month-old (now almost 4) and new baby on the way. Highlights of my anecdotal child friendliness level of DC:
    – Walking and biking infrastructure means stroller/trailer napping rather than car naps.
    – Free museums (e.g. lower level of the Postal Museum is a hidden children’s playground).
    – Our experience with DCPS pre-kindergarten special education has been amazing (YMMV on this one).
    – Playing with friends tends to mean walking a couple of blocks rather than driving to a “playdate”
    – Three classes of 3 year old kids on a field trip to the White House.
    – Libraries are actually walkable and tend to have a lot of kid activities.
    – Festivals.

    Yeah, the side-by-side double strollers are annoying, especially considering parents could chose better routes if they have one, or buy an inline one, so I apologize for them.

    • I am in the same situation from DC to MD to DC again and one thing the kids really miss is that they can not just run and play in the streets like you could in my previous neighborhood that had probably 50 kids in our cul de sac. Kids cant necessarily just look out the window and see their friend riding their bike driving their power wheel and go out and join them. They pretty much have to be accompanied everywhere.

      • Not saying it’s the same on every block in DC, but we often just look out the window to see if neighbor kids are playing and will go out to join them. My son is only 4, so we accompany him out, but we would do that in the burbs too.

      • Seems like a block-by-block problem. I can stand on my front porch and watch my kids go to any of four other houses to ring the doorbell and ask if their friend can come out to play. They do sidewalk art, “gardening” (mud pies), tag, etc, all within view of the house.

    • I’m with you, too. We were lucky to buy in Woodridge before the prices got crazy (we bought 10 years ago) and then lucky to find an affordable house in Brookland. We have a 4 yo and a 2yo. Before our oldest got into a school we love, we were thinking about MoCo, where I grew up, but that seemed expensive, too, especially given that there’s no prek there. I think we have pretty much all the amenities of the suburbs (yard, nearby playgrounds, friends within walking distance, etc), plus the ability to do lots of fun city stuff.

      • We also bought in Woodridge first after leaving NW, now we are closer to Metro in Edgewood

        Every family’s situation is different. We stayed in the city and figured out schools because our childcare help was in the city not in the suburbs. We were also just ahead of the DC baby boom that kicked in. I feel for parents competing for resources; scarce affordable childcare, out of boundary slots are now nonexistent, charter schools have hundreds on wait lists etc. Even though we have experience with all of these things we can’t really offer advice to younger families because things have gotten so much tighter. What worked for us 2005 -2010 is not even applicable now. We got our first child into a good school in an ‘off’ year after she attended pre-K & K at two different schools and then we used volunteering and ‘relationships’ to get younger child in.
        I was not raised in the suburbs so that move did not seem like a viable option to me. I always lived in areas with solid public transportation where I could walk to a pharmacy, grocery store etc. People questioned our decision to stay in town, ‘MoCo is so much better,’ but we had to make the best decision for us.

  • Not surprising. Expensive, high crime rate, poor school quality (or course there are exceptions for those who can afford it). I’m certainly moving out of the city once I have children and my priorities change. Living in MD in my late 30s seems as common sense as living in DC in my early 20s.

    • Especially since there are a number of good urbanized first-ring suburbs, at this point. You can still walk everywhere/have nice amenities, but also enjoy a lower crime rate, better schools, more green space, etc.

      • Well, as someone who just moved to one of those suburbs, I can’t disagree with this. It was the best for our family as a whole, no doubt. And I don’t have to deal with a long commute – it’s a 12 minute drive in the morning, and 20 in the evening (I do miss my walk to work, though).
        That said, let’s not pretend this is a universal panacea – those inner ring urbanized suburbs are preposterously expensive. We were very fortunate on a lot of fronts, including prior real estate appreciation, and having school-aged kids relatively later in life, otherwise we’d have never been able to live in this area. And I flat out wouldn’t have moved somewhere where I had a 1+ hour commute each way – I’d have seriously considered moving out of the area.

        • SouthwestDC

          On top of that the poorest in the region are also moving to the inner suburbs (they’re just cramming 20 people to a house instead of four) which puts strain in the infrastructure and leads to other quality of life issues.

  • Best For Young Families: exurbs where the commute is so long you’ll never see your kids.

  • All you need to know about this report is that Flint Michigan is ranked ahead of nine other cities

  • I totally agree with the ranking. We have a 1 year old and I cannot wait to move out of DC. The crime is out of control. We hear gun shots weekly and have had our car broken into and packages stolen multiple times. I do not feel safe walking in my own neighborhood unless I bring my 80 pound pit bulls with us. Housing is getting more expensive every month, paying for child care is competitive and the same as paying a second mortgage, public transportation is unreliable and unsafe, while there are great activities for infants and toddlers they are all very expensive and competitive to get into. The public school system is awful and the charter system is also ridiculously competitive. So no, DC is not child friendly by a long shot.

    • “Nobody wants to be there! It’s too crowded!”

    • “It sucks so much to have kids here that too many people are doing it!”

      • That’s a completely disingenuous response to R’s point, or do you really think that resource scarcity can only exist with a large population?

        R, I’ve lived in DC for 12 years now and tried to make it work with two little kids, because I’ve loved it here for so long, but I can’t make it work. If it were just the cost of living, or just the schools, or just the fact that recently a) a toddler was shot blocks from my house and separately b) someone shot at someone else outside my kid’s school, I could probably tolerate it. But not all three at the same time. So we’re planning to leave, and go far away from DC.

      • HaileUnlikely

        You miss the point. Yes, lots of people are having kids here. But many of them aren’t sticking around here for long after having kids.

        • Have you been to an open house for any of DC’s charter schools? The 8 or so I went to this year were overcrowded.

          I think this is a myth. I’ve had kids in DC for 3 years now. We have quite a few friends here that also have kids. Not every resident is hitting 32 years old, having kids and running off to Loudoun county to raise their kids in the burbs. I’m sure there are some but if anyone has moved to dc in the 5 or 6 years they have made a lifestyle choice. That choice probably wont change much with kids. People just find a way to include kids in their DC life.

  • I have to confess: When I decided to raise my kids in the city, I didn’t really give a rat’s bum whether of not DC was a good place for kids. It was where I wanted to live, and the little buggers were stuck here until they were ready to pay their own rent. Kids are resilient.

    • Interesting idea, almost like you’re saying the parent is in charge, not the kids. I wonder if that could catch on in the US?

    • Anonjmous

      “Kids are resilient.”

      +a million times yes

    • I knew I liked you.

      • Although… your kids are grown now, and it seems like they’re healthy and happy, so it’s pretty easy to have that attitude. I completely understand how someone on the other end of the experiment might not want to roll those dice. I’m doing the city kids thing because I hated my small town upbringing, and like you, I think kids are resilient. But I wouldn’t ever get down on anyone who made a different decision.
        What really does grate my cheese is people who are raising city kids and either bitching nonstop about city life, or trying to raise them like small town kids. Pick a lifestyle and commit. MAKE it good.

  • Any survey that ranks the suburbs of Dallas f@#&ing Texas at the top of any livability criteria gets some strong side eye from me.
    DC is home to our clan. We struggle at times (more often than not!), but it’s home. I’d rather spend the extra hours in the day on them than on a commute.

  • With their metrics and weighting, I can’t help but dispute their conclusion.

    DC (the District itself, not the burbs) violent crime rates are nuts. My friends who live in NYC can’t believe the amount of violent crime (both targeted and random) that we endure in our city. Housing costs are insanely high, and school quality is poor. The only thing going for DC for school is the charter system, which allows for a lot more flexibility than a typical public school system where your school choice is solely based on geography (expensive hoods get good schools, poor ones get poor schools). So there should be something to take that equity into account.

    Kid Friendliness i’d absolutely dispute though. This is a really kid friendly city – the city parks and rec services are great and free/affordable, and the number of free things to do is amazing (hello, Smithsonian). Plus, our metro system has escalators and elevators – so a lot easier to lug kids around on transit than almost anywhere else.

  • I do think there is a lot of value to raising kids in the city which is why I chose that route. The charter school and lottery system gives great flexibility in finding education that meets our standards. I do wish that there were more 3 and 6 year olds running around but we make do.

  • Essentially this survey proves what I’ve been saying for almost 10 years… The gentrification of DC is unsustainable because the housing that was/is being built is not family friendly and when Millenials get married and have babies they will largely abandon the city, after having contributed to making it unaffordable. So thank you hipsters for pitstopping with us, driving up the cost of living, and then abandoning us for more affordable places with schools that the citizens have urged their political and municipal leaders to invest in… cause what DC absolutely needed was more luxury housing and white flight.

  • We are also the city that forced parents to move a tree house because it deminished the aesthetic of an alley.

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