The number of parents opting to start their families in the city has been rising over the last few decades. But choosing which city to call home can be a difficult decision. What makes for a good place to settle down is of course subjective, but at Estately we believe there are a number of objective factors that can help to measure a city’s family friendliness. With this in mind we set out to rank Oregon’s 20 most populated cities* using ten criteria:
- Youth population: The population of persons under 18 as a percentage of the over-all population (US Census)
- Commute time: The mean travel time to work for workers 16 and up (US Census)
- Preschools: The number of preschools per capita for the population of people 5 years and under (US Census and greatschools.org)
- Public education: The average school rating for public elementary, middle and high schools (greatschools.org)
- Crime: The composite crime rate for violent crime, murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, property crime, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson per capita (FBI)
- Libraries: Public libraries per capita (publiclibraries.com)
- Open space: Public parks per capita (each city’s department of Parks and Recreation)
- Housing affordability: the number of houses on the market affordable to a family earning the median household income for that city (Estately and US Census).
- Daycare: The number of daycare centers per capita (The Yellow Pages)
- Cost of living: The yearly salary a family needs to earn to be considered earning a living wage (MIT)
- West Linn: Already on CNN Money’s best places to live, West Linn has the lowest crime rate on the list, its public education is ranked second and its housing is the ninth most affordable. It also has the third most libraries.
- Tualatin: This city has the most public parks per capita and the second most preschools. However, it has the ninth highest crime rate of the big cities and is the third least affordable housing market.
- Lake Oswego: Though it ranks fourth for the least children, this Portland suburb has the second lowest crime rate, the best public school system, the most preschools per capita and the most daycare facilities per capita. It does, however, have one of the highest costs of living and ranks 16th for housing affordability.
- Redmond: At the center of central Oregon, this city ranks second for the population of children and fourth for the most preschools per capita. It has the third most affordable housing market. However, it ranks in the bottom six for crime and public education.
- Keizer: In the Willamette Valley, this city has the fourth lowest crime rate, the second most affordable housing market and one of the lowest costs of living. On the other hand it has the least libraries and its public education ranks bottom ten.
- Woodburn: Located between Salem and Portland, this city has the highest children’s population, one of the lowest costs of living, the most affordable housing market and the most libraries per capita. Conversely, it has the sixth longest average commute, the lowest number of preschools per capita and the lowest rated public school system.
- Albany: At the meeting of the Calapooia River and the Willamette River this city has the fifth lowest crime rate and the fifth shortest commute. It also has the second most libraries per capita. However, its pubic school system is ranked in the bottom ten and it has the third lowest number of preschools per capita.
- Corvallis: The location of Oregon State University, this city has the lowest percentage of children and the least affordable housing market. However, its public education system in ranked third best and it has the second shortest commute time.
- Bend: Considered a gateway for outdoor sports Bend has the best-ranked commute time and the fifth best public school system. However its has the ninth highest crime rate and only ranks 16th for preschools per capita.
- Oregon City: The first city west of the Rockies to be incorporated, Oregon City has a middle of the road children’s population, and public education system and the 12th highest crime rate. It has the second longest commute time, but it has the sixth most preschools per capita.
- McMinnville: The largest city of Yamhill county has the fourth best public education system, the sixth shortest commute time and the seventh most libraries per capita. However, its housing market is the second least affordable and it has one of the highest costs of living.
- Beaverton: Oregon’s sixth largest city, Beaverton ranks third lowest for crime and sixth for best rated public education. It also has the ninth most affordable housing market and the third most public parks per capita. However, it has the fifth longest commute time and one of the higher costs of living.
- Hillsboro: Home to tech companies like Intel, Hillsboro has the seventh lowest crime and the fifth most affordable housing market. However, its public education system is ranked 17th and its daily commute is the third longest.
- Springfield: With the fourth lowest cost of living and the eighth most affordable housing market, Springfield is an easy community to settle into. However, it has the seventh highest crime rate and the second lowest ranked public education system.
- Eugene: Home to University of Oregon, Eugene is ideally suited to college students. This city has second lowest population of children and one of the top five crime rates. However, it has the fourth shortest commute, a low cost of living and its public school system is ranked 10th.
- Salem: The capital of Oregon has one of the lowest cots of living, but its public education system is ranked 15th and it’s ranked 19th for preschools per capita.
- Tigard: Tigard’s public education system ranks seventh and it has the eighth lowest crime rate, but it has the 13th longest commute and it’s ranked 18th for daycare facilities per capita.
- Medford: Workers don’t spend much time in their cars because Medford has the third shortest commute. However it has the second fewest daycare facilities per capita, a middle range cost of living, and it’s tied with Portland for the highest crime rate.
- Portland: Pulling up the rear and still keeping it weird, Portland is tied with Medford for the highest crime rate. Oregon’s most populous city has the fourth longest commute and it has the 11th highest ranked schools. On the upside, it comes in fourth for most daycare facilities per capita.
- Gresham: Gresham has the sixth largest children’s population, but the second highest crime rate, the second lowest public school rankings and the least daycare facilities per capita.
*Grants Pass was excluded from the list due to a lack of available data
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Estately is a national online real estate search site whose articles have been featured in the The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, CNET, San Francisco Chronicle, Time, GeekWire, The Denver Post, and more.
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