Remember those days when you were living alone, and the criteria for choosing your next home were pretty non-existing? You got a job offer in another country? Great, let’s go there! You fell in love with someone in another city? Fine, let’s move there! But if you are a parent or planning to become one in the Golden State, finding the best cities to raise a family in California is not so straightforward. Here are some things you should keep in mind when relocating to the most populous US state with children, and the places you should take into consideration.
Methodology for Finding the Best Cali Community
Finding a perfect community for you and your dearest ones is a process that differs much from the days when you were wondering what the best places to live in California for young adults are. It is much easier when you’re moving alone because all you need is a place where something is going on, four walls and a bed. Once there is a family in the picture, the whole thing changes. Suddenly, you have to consider so many things before deciding to move.
If you have narrowed down your selection and your only concern is where to live in California, don’t worry. Some of the best cities in America to raise a family can be found here. But how to find the one tailored to your needs? Which towns are safe, which ones have good schools, affordable housing, or friendly neighborhoods, etc.? The questions keep popping up while you are probably torn between so many options. The thing you need to know about moving with kids is that it is not a piece of cake. If you don’t have the time to research everything, we’ve created a list of criteria for finding a perfect place to settle in CA.
- Education – finding a town with good education opportunities is always a priority for parents or people who are planning to settle down. Hence, plenty of well-rated local schools should be on your list of priorities.
- Commute time – pay attention to traffic. You should choose wisely and avoid places with congested traffic because you are going to lose a lot of time on long commutes while driving kids to school, tennis or piano lessons.
- Neighborhood – when house-hunting, always pay attention to the kind of people that live there. Are there a lot of fellow parents, or is there a bunch of college students willing to party every day and night?
- Price – everyone planning an interstate relocation wonders how much money to save to move out of state. And the truth is that it can never be enough. Especially with kids, because you cannot compromise on certain things anymore.
- Population density – densely populated urban areas are full of opportunities, but the question is are they suitable for young families. In smaller towns, you can actually get to know your neighbors because people don’t tend to move once their one-year lease expires.
- Safety – make sure to check crime rates for different communities to find the safest one for raising your offspring.
- Business opportunities – wherever you go, do keep in mind that you will have to work and provide for your kids. So pay attention to job opportunities, are they related to your profession, can you work from home, etc.
You can access the majority of this data online and check out which areas have the highest income per capita, highest poverty rate, etc. Having your facts straight before you call California movers is crucial for your decision. Therefore, pay attention to the crime rate, proficiency, school rankings, median income, housing prices, etc.
Our Selection of the 7 Best Cities to Raise a Family in California
The Golden State has almost 40 million residents living in 482 municipalities, which makes it the most populous state in the entire US. Besides the Pacific coast, sandy beaches, and palm trees, there are many other wonderful things that attract people of all ages to come and stay here. So make sure to create some packing strategies for moving and prepare to overcome the fear of moving with small children.
#1 Favorite Among Families in Southern CA – Poway
Surprisingly, our first pick is not anywhere near the state’s hotspot, Los Angeles, but on the other side of Cali, close to San Diego in the south. Poway’s location will allow you to explore many nearby beaches as well as the Cleveland National Forest. So you get the best from both worlds.
In the so-called City in the Country, you can forget about traffic jams and enjoy a more slow-paced lifestyle. Purchasing a property can seem expensive at first, but since living here comes at a price, you’ll have to make some compromises. The percent of locals who have at least graduated from high school is around 94%, and almost 40% of households have children younger than 18.
#2 One of the Best Cities in CA for Families – Imperial
Situated in Imperial County, close to the Salton Sea, Imperial is one of the fastest-growing places in Cali with almost 20,000 residents. But this is not your typical small, dull town. In fact, Imperial is home to the annual California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta that takes place every February and attracts more than 100,000 visitors and tourists.
Housing is more on the affordable side here. Two-thirds of the residents live in their own homes instead of renting them. The median house value is $209,200. The town attracts young people and parents due to a lot of parks, low crime rates, above-average schools, beautiful weather, and a suburban feel. In case you are moving with dogs, or you plan to get one for your offspring, it’s good to know that there is also a dog park.
#3 Most Populous Place on the List – Fremont
With more than 200,000 residents, Fremont is by far the most populous city on our list. Located in the southeast end of the San Francisco Bay Area, Fremont might be the perfect option for those who are looking for a spot that is urban and serene at the same time. Named after the famous politician John C. Fremont, this Alameida County city has a stable economy, and it owes its economic growth to Silicon Valley and Tesla company, which is also the biggest employer in the area.
Since this is a relatively large community, there are plenty of options for education, as well as museums and other cultural activities. In terms of housing, Fremont can be considered expensive, because the median rent is $2,028, and house value is much higher than the national average. On the other hand, there are numerous well-paid jobs and a low unemployment rate to make up for higher costs of living.
#4 Moorpark – a Prime LA Suburb
If living close to, but not actually in LA is important to you, there is no better option than a suburb like Moorpark. With around 36,000 residents, this Ventura County community is an excellent choice for families who are looking to stay outside of the LA hustle and bustle. With more than 20 parks, plenty of greenery, well-ranked public schools, Moorpark might be the perfect location to raise your offspring.
More than 35% of households have kids, so you do not have to worry about finding company for your children. The unemployment rate is low, and it’s not that hard for parents to find a well-paid job. The majority of locals are residing in their own homes, and only 25% are renting.
#5 Roseville – Low Crime Rates and Strong Economy
Located in Placer County, 20 miles northeast of Sacramento, lies Roseville with around 140,000 residents. The county’s largest settlement has a lot to offer to young families, including a robust local economy and a sound education system. As much as 93% of high school students graduate, and the place is home to several colleges and universities.
The city found its spot among the 25 best places when it comes to low poverty and unemployment rates, while the median rent is $1,441. Golfland Sunsplash amusement water park is a favorite spot for children, but you could also pay a visit to nearby Folsom Lake or Eldorado forest on your day off.
#6 Palo Alto – a Tech Hub
Palo Alto was made famous by major high tech companies like Facebook, Apple, Google, and Pinterest, which are headquartered or were headquartered here. It is one of the most expensive cities in the US to live in, but its residents are among the most educated and well-paid in the whole nation. With 67,000 residents, Palo Alto is neither small nor big, which makes it perfect for those who are looking to find the perks of both. With plenty of job opportunities and excellent universities in the vicinity, Palo Alto is a phenomenal choice for those that can afford it.
The costs of living, especially the average real estate prices in Palo Alto are high. That is one of the reasons why almost half of the residents are renting a house. On the other hand, the median annual income is high, and generally speaking, local inhabitants have a good standard of life. On the other hand, the crime rate, unemployment, and poverty rates are pretty low. The town is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, which guarantees a lot of leisure options.
#7 Redondo Beach – Enjoy a Coastal Lifestyle
Located only 23 miles from Los Angeles, Redondo Beach is one of the top beach towns to relocate to. If living by the beach ranks high on your list of priorities, then you don’t have to look at other places in CA. Every kid loves beaches, so this could be an easy decision.
Vibrant pier, perfect weather year-round, beaches that are never too crowded, excellent elementary and high schools, and low poverty rate, are only some of the advantages of making a home here. However, a significant part of the population are seniors, which does not have to be a negative thing.
Relocating to the Golden State
Regardless of whether you are relocating from Illinois, New York, or Washington, there are some things to keep in mind if you want to cope with anxiety about moving to another state. Relocating a household across many miles is not an easy feat to accomplish, especially if you’re doing it by yourself. That’s why hiring expert help might be the thing you need.
While you are scouting different kindergartens or checking if the school is close to your new house, someone else can do all the hard work for you. Hiring moving services can help you with packing, boxes and packing supplies, and even auto transport, and leave you with more time to spend on finding a perfect home for your loved ones.
What We Learned From Our Key Findings
Overall, the Golden State has something for everyone, whether you are a student, senior, or a parent of small children. From the data we gathered, some places on our list are more expensive, others not so much, but generally, they are all kids-friendly. Children are very simple in terms of what they want; they need someone or something to play with, food, and somewhere to sleep. But parents are those who need to think in advance about their future, about their living environment, education, safety, etc. Hence, make sure to analyze everything and find a community that suits your and your family’s needs the best.