Best Texas Cities for Young Families - NerdWallet

Best Texas Cities for Young Families

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(A 2014 version of this study can be found here.)

As an economically thriving state with a low cost of living, Texas offers plenty of options when it comes to family-friendly cities. Texas families want to live where the schools are good, the living is cheap and the city is growing.

NerdWallet examined the data on Texas cities to find the 10 best places for young families.

NerdWallet’s analysis

We focused on three questions:

  1. Does the city have a good public school system? We assessed the school quality using the GreatSchools.org score. GreatSchools is a nonprofit that rates schools based on standardized test scores compared to the state average. Higher ratings led to a higher overall score.
  2. Can you afford to live there? We included the median home value and monthly home owner costs — mortgage, real estate taxes, insurance, utilities, fuel and other bills. Lower costs led to a higher overall score.
  3. Is the city growing and prospering? We assessed the local economy with the median annual household income and population growth. A higher income and percentage population growth led to a higher overall score.

Best Texas cities for young families

1. The Woodlands

The Woodlands, the first master-planned community in the U.S., is located on the outskirts of Houston. Here, the population increased 69% from 2000 and 2010. The city is home to several corporate campuses, including Chevron Phillips and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. Most public schools in The Woodlands are rated exemplary by the state of Texas, and both The Woodlands High School and The Woodlands College Park High School were on Newsweek’s 2012 list of the best high schools in the U.S. Public schools in The Woodlands received a GreatSchools rating of 9 out of a top score of 10.

2. Allen

Allen is affordable, with a growing population, and high median household income. This city is an ideal place for young families to settle down. Schools here were rated 9 out of 10 at GreatSchools. The Allen Independent School District is excellent, and it boasts a winning football team and award-winning marching band, too.

3. Flower Mound

Flower Mound is one of the country’s highest-earning cities, with 62.8% of households earning over $100,000 a year. The public schools earned a perfect 10 at GreatSchools, making this an ideal city for parents looking for schools where their children will thrive. The Lewisville School District was rated “recognized,” the second-highest category, by the Texas Education Agency.

4. League City

League City earned a 9 out of 10 at GreatSchools, and the median home value is relatively low while the median annual income is quite high, making the city affordable for young families. League City is near Galveston Bay, the Gulf of Mexico and NASA Johnson Space Center.

5. Pearland

Pearland is a rapidly growing city — the population jumped over 5% from 2010 to 2011 — so homebuyers are likely to see their home values get a boost. The high-quality public schools make living in this city a good educational investment as well as a financial investment. Pearland is diverse, with 62 languages spoken in the schools.

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6. Frisco

Frisco’s top-notch schools, high median annual household income and high population growth make it clear that this city is great for young families. Frisco is home to branch offices of Equifax, MillerCoors and Oracle. Frisco’s urban forests have earned it the designation of Tree City USA.

7. McKinney

McKinney’s excellent school system and high growth make this city an appealing option for families looking to settle near the Metroplex. This is a city full of farmers markets and art galleries, where the hospital employs many health care workers. The city’s proximity to Dallas allows for a shorter commute.

8. Abilene

With very affordable housing, a median annual household income in line with the national average, a growing population and good schools, Abilene is a great choice for young families. Home to a branch of Texas State Technical College and Cisco Junior College, Abilene contains two school districts, the Abilene Independent School District as well as Wylie Independent School District.

9. Richardson

Richardson schools earned an 8 out of 10 at GreatSchools, and the affordable housing and high population growth make this city ideal for young families. Richardson’s thriving economy is largely due to the fact that it is home to the University of Texas at Dallas and the Telecom Corridor, which contains branches of AT&T, Verizon, Cisco, Samsung and other companies.

10. Carrollton

Carrollton has affordable housing and high-quality public schools. This growing city offers plenty to young families. Carrollton is home to several large employers, including Halliburton Energy Services. Located just outside of Dallas, Carrollton offers small-town comfort as well as big-city accessibility.

Best Texas cities for young families

Scroll right for all data categories.

RankNearest big cityCityGreatSchools ratingMedian home valueMonthly owner costsMedian household incomePopulation changeOverall score for young families
1HoustonThe Woodlands, Texas9$277,300$2,191$131,47122.60%59.8
2Dallas-Fort WorthAllen, Texas9$193,400$1,812$109,7423.00%54.6
3Dallas-Fort WorthFlower Mound, Texas10$274,000$2,148$138,7591.50%52.5
4HoustonLeague City, Texas9$180,500$1,820$98,2630.20%51.6
5HoustonPearland, Texas8$177,600$1,900$103,1365.30%49.7
6Dallas-Fort WorthFrisco, Texas9$234,900$2,133$123,5963.00%49
7Dallas-Fort WorthMcKinney, Texas8$183,600$1,738$97,7923.00%48.8
8Dallas-Fort WorthAbilene, Texas6$85,300$1,007$51,4053.20%48.3
9Dallas-Fort WorthRichardson, Texas8$187,100$1,655$85,2912.00%46.8
10Dallas-Fort WorthCarrollton, Texas7$158,800$1,512$78,6012.40%44.8

Methodology

The overall score for the 52 cities in this study is from the following measures:

1. GreatSchools city rating. GreatSchools city ratings are calculated by averaging the weighted overall rating for each school in the city, which is weighted by the number of students enrolled at the school.

2. Median home value is from the 2011 American Community Survey, a division of the U.S. Census Bureau.

3. Monthly homeowner costs are from the 2011 American Community Survey, a division of the U.S. Census Bureau.

4. Median annual household income is from the 2011 American Community Survey, a division of the U.S. Census Bureau.

5. Population change from 2010 to 2011 are from the U.S. Census Bureau.

 


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  • Richard

    Shocking (and somewhat discrediting) that Carrollton’s schools are rated highly. I live in Carrollton, and CFBISD has a few good schools and some absolutely abysmal schools. I don’t know if they’ve found a way to game the ratings, if the ratings are crap, or if it’s simply a case of being fair in a mediocre state, but something smells rotten in the state of Denmark!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-A-Gilbert/1204512783 David A. Gilbert

      The individual school ratings in Carrollton are something of a mixed bag. They have a couple performing schools…and a lot of 5’s. (Managing a net 7 for the school system was not much of an accomplishment.) Neighborhood matters more than city, if your only consideration is school quality.

    • Afterschool Carl

      I think that means they’re rated highly for Texas. If you were from a good state like Vermont you would laugh at the hicks running these schools.

  • Richard

    Shocking (and somewhat discrediting) that Carrollton’s schools are rated highly. I live in Carrollton, and CFBISD has a few good schools and some absolutely abysmal schools. I don’t know if they’ve found a way to game the ratings, if the ratings are crap, or if it’s simply a case of being fair in a mediocre state, but something smells rotten in the state of Denmark!

  • Pingback: Frisco morning roundup for May 15, 2013 | Frisco Blog()

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  • Pingback: The Woodlands ranked best city in Texas for young families()

  • Matt Gabelich

    I’m looking to relocate from Australia to Texas to set up a new business. Which city would be the best to live in
    Matt

    • NWDivya

      Hi Matt,

      We actually have another article on the best cities for small business, and several Texas cities made the list: http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/2013/top-10-best-cities-small-business/

      Many people move to Austin, Houston and Dallas. Good luck with your move!

      • Matt Gabelich

        What about something like Gruene or New Braunfels where there appears to be an historic township of some sort. i love old architecture and would like to set up an office in a nice township.

        • poncho iram

          new braunfelds is great.. im moving there in a few months.. great city

  • Matt Gabelich

    I’m looking to relocate from Australia to Texas to set up a new business. Which city would be the best to live in
    Matt

  • Jennifer Ceko

    Hello,
    My family and I are thinking of re-locating from Chicago to Dallas. We are looking in the Allen, Frisco, McKinney areas of Dallas. For never being in Texas, I have a hard time visualizing what it is like. My main concerns are finding a modern, growing suburb with young families with a southern feel. I also want to find an excellent school district. My children are currently in K and preschool. I am also a school social worker in the schools up in Chicago. Any help on areas to focus on. My husband and I are very social so we know we can make new friends. Please any help would be appreciated.

    • poncho iram

      HI DID U MOVE ALREADY???

  • Jennifer Ceko

    Hello,
    My family and I are thinking of re-locating from Chicago to Dallas. We are looking in the Allen, Frisco, McKinney areas of Dallas. For never being in Texas, I have a hard time visualizing what it is like. My main concerns are finding a modern, growing suburb with young families with a southern feel. I also want to find an excellent school district. My children are currently in K and preschool. I am also a school social worker in the schools up in Chicago. Any help on areas to focus on. My husband and I are very social so we know we can make new friends. Please any help would be appreciated.

  • rebecca

    Yea we are considering texas for us and our young boys. We Could use all the opportunity and information. Call adam at 239-672-5739 or email us at wickedlizzee@aol.com thank you.

  • rebecca

    Yea we are considering texas for us and our young boys. We Could use all the opportunity and information. Call adam at 239-672-5739 or email us at wickedlizzee@aol.com thank you.

  • courtney

    Hey, Im originally from Stl and thinking of relocating to Houston Tx. I haven’t been since I was a little girl but now im an adult with a family of my own. St. Louis is getting so bad as far as crime, cost of living, no jobs etc and I wanted to see is my decision the right one. Is there better job opportunities out there? Better school systems? what abt the crime and murder rate? Is it an easier state than stl? Keep in mind im 27 and am looking to get into anything but prefer working in customer service, hospitality and or restaurants. Thanks.

  • courtney

    Hey, Im originally from Stl and thinking of relocating to Houston Tx. I haven’t been since I was a little girl but now im an adult with a family of my own. St. Louis is getting so bad as far as crime, cost of living, no jobs etc and I wanted to see is my decision the right one. Is there better job opportunities out there? Better school systems? what abt the crime and murder rate? Is it an easier state than stl? Keep in mind im 27 and am looking to get into anything but prefer working in customer service, hospitality and or restaurants. Thanks.

  • Dennis Wholey

    il looking to transfer with my job fedex freight…. currently live in illinois….debating what city i should look for …. I do want to be close to hunting, fishing…. and am considering buying a home with land on it for that purpose or even renting… so far it seems that many cities near dallas fort worth are looking… considering west of dallas as well? originally I’m from missouri…but the economy there isn’t growing enough to make it worth me taking a family there…..any help or ideas thanks.

  • Dennis Wholey

    il looking to transfer with my job fedex freight…. currently live in illinois….debating what city i should look for …. I do want to be close to hunting, fishing…. and am considering buying a home with land on it for that purpose or even renting… so far it seems that many cities near dallas fort worth are looking… considering west of dallas as well? originally I’m from missouri…but the economy there isn’t growing enough to make it worth me taking a family there…..any help or ideas thanks.