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Welcome to BusinessWeek's second annual roundup of the best places to raise your kids.
This year we are going state by state. Once again working with OnBoard Informatics, a New York-based provider of real estate analysis, we selected towns with at least 50,000 residents and a median family income between $40,000 and $100,000. We then narrowed the list of towns using the following weighted criteria: school performance; number of schools; household expenditures; crime rates; air quality; job growth; family income; museums, parks, theaters, and other amenities; and diversity. We weighted school performance and safety most heavily, but also gave strong weight to amenities and affordability.
Bear in mind with this list, the organizing principle was affordability. While the median household income varies by state, we purposely weighted the results to prevent pricing out most readers. That's why, for example, Greenwich, Conn., with its good private schools, low crime, and abundance of cultural amenities, was left out. It simply costs too much to live there.
Of course, there are other places that are great for kids which did not make this list. In many states the competition was extremely close. Moreover, we looked for communities that scored well across the board. So, while there might be places that offer more culture, better schools, etc., other factors such as crime or a high cost of living knocked them down.
So, read on to find out which are the best places to raise your kids in every state. Who knows? You might already live there.
Click here to see the 2010 version of the Best Places to Raise Your Kids