For great places to raise a family in the Sunshine State, think beyond the beach.
Location is always important when buying a house, but most people consider it crucial when choosing a home and community for their family and children.
In a state dominated by beach side seasonally occupied vacation homes, retirees, and snowbirds, most of the best towns in Florida for families with children aren’t on the beach—although some aren’t far off of the beach.
While the towns on the latest NeighborhoodScout® list represent a variety of real estate prices, settings and locations, one important factor they all have in common is solid access to high-paying jobs (jobs with an annual salary of $75,000 or more). From coastal Ponte Vedra Beach to southern Cooper City, families can afford nice homes in towns with a strong tax base to support quality public schools and infrastructure, all within close proximity to work (20 minutes or less commuting time).
And while everyone concurs that quality public schools are an important consideration, schools are only one of six criteria that many parents (and demographers) agree are key in determining the best towns for families with children.
“We were looking for those very select communities that have both quality public schools and an exceptionally family-friendly environment, not towns that may excel at one or two criteria but are lacking in other ways,” said Dr. Andrew Schiller, CEO and founder of Location, Inc.®, the creators of NeighborhoodScout.
For this research, the criteria used included: quality public schools, safety from crime, a high proportion of families with children in the community, many adults with college or even advanced degrees, many families who own their homes, and homes that are predominantly single-family residences (regardless of the urban, suburban or rural setting).
Why these criteria? “Homeownership is important because research has shown that it helps keep crime lower, and represents an investment in the location by those living there,” says Dr. Schiller. High educational attainment by adults in the community is a good indicator that the populace places a high degree of importance on education, and is well equipped to make key decisions about the future of the community. Many families with children in a town signifies that other families have selected it as a good place to raise their children, helps promote a family-friendly environment with good social networks for both children and their parents, and creates a natural constituency for maintaining aspects of the community that are important to families. “Many parents, regardless of the type of dwelling they live in, state that they prefer a single-family home for raising their children, replete with space to play indoors and out, and so this research included the predominance of single-family homes as one of its measures,” says Dr. Schiller. Both demographers and parents agree that safety from crime is important for raising children, both because of physical safety, but also to promote trust among members of the community.
Keeping these important criteria in mind, here are NeighborhoodScout’s Top 10 Best Towns for Families with children in Florida for 2017, and the number of high-paying jobs within 20 minutes of each town:
- Saint Johns, FL (11,084)
- Ponte Vedra Beach, FL (11,785)
- Lutz, FL (33,291)
- Lithia, FL (6,515)
- Oviedo, FL (44,944)
- Weston, FL (24,532)
- Valrico, FL (29,134)
- Parkland, FL (36,067)
- Longwood, FL (90,802)
- Cooper City, FL (113,073)
Interested in learning more about the specific neighborhoods within these top 10 best towns in Florida for families with children? Visit NeighborhoodScout to see an in-depth sample report that covers everything from home prices and patented, nationally comparable school rankings to one-way commute times and normalized crime rates – for any neighborhood, in any town in the U.S. To get specific neighborhood reports instantly, subscribe to NeighborhoodScout today!
“Educated neighbors” means people 25 and older with college or graduate degrees. “Excellent public schools” is according to NeighborhoodScout’s patented nationally-comparable school quality ratings. “Crime” is all FBI crime index scores – both violent and property – as a rate per 1,000 population for the community. “Owner-occupied” single-family homes mean the town is primarily composed of detached single-family homes owned by their occupants. Data were queried directly with NeighborhoodScout.