The Best Towns in Tennessee for Young Families
When families search for a place to settle down, they look for good schools, affordable living and employment opportunities. To help young families find the best towns in Tennessee, NerdWallet asked the following questions in our analysis of the data:
Does the town have good public schools? We compiled scores from GreatSchools.org, an organization that provides a school rating from 1-10, with 10 as the highest score. Higher ratings led to a higher score.
Can you afford to live there? We looked at the cost of homeownership, including the median home value as well as monthly homeowner costs such as mortgage payments, real estate taxes, insurance costs, utilities and other bills. Lower costs led to a higher score.
Is the town prosperous? We evaluated the local economy by looking at its median household income and income growth over the past decade. Higher median income and strong growth led to a higher score.
The best towns in Tennessee for young families
Collierville has one eye on the past and the other on the future. The town square features antebellum architecture and one-of-a-kind boutiques, antique stores, specialty shops and an old-fashioned gas station. Students in Collierville are on track for a bright future, with a school system that was rated a perfect 10 at GreatSchools. As well, at Collierville High School 98% of students go on to a four- or two-year college.
2. Spring Hill
Spring Hill has been recognized for an outstanding educational system. GreatSchools rated it 9 out of 10 for its high standardized-test scores. The schools here also shine beyond academics. Summit High supports an extracurricular program that recently launched a community service club through the town’s Kiwanis organization.
3. Mt. Juliet
Mt. Juliet is stationed at the crossroads of major interstate highways, and it boasts just a day’s drive to over half of the American population. There is more to Mt. Juliet than its advantageous location: with one of the lowest tax rates in the state, Mt. Juliet is the perfect place for family life. Home to one of Tennessee’s largest Little League parks, kids will never be bored with over a dozen baseball and softball fields for lessons and sporting events. Additionally, both parents and children can enjoy Mt. Juliet’s fishing and boating opportunities at the nearby lakes and the Providence Marketplace, a large shopping complex with hundreds of restaurants and shops.
Nationally recognized for its historical protection efforts and business advancement campaigns, Franklin is a city that is as grand as its famous namesake. Home to the Nissan North American headquarters and Verizon offices, Franklin provides citizens with a plethora of valuable employment opportunities and boasts a high quality of life for young families. Residents can enjoy a nearby 170-store shopping district at the Cool Springs Galleria as well as more local attractions such as Franklin’s Main Street Festival for arts and crafts enthusiasts, or the popular Wine Down Main Street tasting event, which welcomes over 2,000 wine fanatics each year.
5. Oak Ridge
Oak Ridge, nicknamed the “Secret City”, was established in 1942 as a key site for WWII’s Manhattan Project. The city still offers a wide variety of lucrative high-tech jobs, and scientific development remains a crucial part of Oak Ridge’s economy and culture. Today, the Department of Energy runs a nuclear research laboratory and performs national security work. Its laboratory is home to project Jaguar, the most powerful scientific supercomputer in existence. Aside from fascinating scientific attractions, Oak Ridge boast great family recreation: residents may visit the nearby Great Smoky Mountain Park for hiking or biking or visit nearby lakes for summertime fun.
Brentwood, an affluent suburb of Nashville, is celebrated for the strength of its educational system. With a perfect 10 GreatSchools rating, it is no surprise that students of Brentwood High School have a high graduation rate, at 93.2% — five points higher than the state average last year. More and more National Merit Scholars are recognized each year, with two winning the scholarship this year. Brentwood is also a hub for outdoorsy families. Its Radnor Lake State Park is the country’s largest designated state wilderness park in a metropolitan area.
Bristol is big on family fun. Congress has dubbed it the Birthplace of Country Music, and the city has proven true to its name. Every fall, residents celebrate the city’s country heritage with the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, a music festival held in Bristol’s lively downtown. The festival attracted 45,000 visitors in 2010, and has grown every year since, with nearly 150 local and nationally-known bands. Bristol is also home to the Bristol Motor Speedway, a NASCAR track, which normally sells out over 150,000 seats per race.
Residents of Hendersonville enjoy a great work-life balance. Schools here are strong and even supported by the rich and famous — Hendersonville High recently bolstered its performing arts program with the help of alumna Taylor Swift, who donated $75,000 to the school so it could refurbish its auditorium. On the weekends, residents enjoy a great outdoors life. Hendersonville sits on the northern shore of Old Hickory Lake, a 97-mile body of water that offers ample opportunity for family fun, with spots for hiking, skiing, fishing, boating and more.
9. Johnson City
Johnson City may first have caught your attention as the birthplace of Mountain Dew. It is much more than that, too, with a growing healthcare industry and great family fun. There are plenty of career opportunities at some of the state’s best medical facilities, including the Johnson City Medical Center, at the heart of Tennessee’s Med-Tech corridor. Johnson City’s residents love to have a great time, too. The Little Chicago Blues Festival celebrates the city’s Prohibition-era speakeasies, and the Umoja Unity Festival highlights the city’s diverse cultural history.
Kingsport was named an All-American City by the National Civic League because of its inclusiveness, diversity and strong civic engagement. More than a strong community, Kingsport is a fun one, too. It is the start of the 200-mile Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail, and it hosts a number of family-fun events every year. In July, the air in Kingsport is dotted with colorful hot air balloons for Fun Fest. This 9-day celebration is a family festival that is considered one of the top summer events in the Southeast region, with an annual attendance of over 180,000 enthusiasts.
The best towns in Tennessee for young families
|Rank||City||Nearest big city||GreatSchools rating||Median home value||Monthly owner costs||Median household income||Income change 1999-2011||Score|
Our analysis included 59 cities and towns in Tennessee. Only places with populations over 10,000 were included. The score for each location is based on the following data:
- GreatSchools city rating. GreatSchools ratings are calculated by averaging the weighted overall rating for each school in the city.
- Median home value for 2011 from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
- Monthly homeowner costs for 2011 from the American Community Survey.
- Median household income for 2011 from the American Community Survey.
- Income change from 1999 to 2011 from the Census Bureau.