Irvine is the nation’s second-best large city in which to raise a family, and San Bernardino is the seventh-worst, according to one ranking.
Nothing is more debatable than what makes a place great for family life. So, these types of rankings are subject to great debate. Results often vary widely depending on what cities — and more importantly, what variables — are considered.
Nevertheless, the folks at WalletHub used a host of economic, civic and demographic variables in their attempt to gauge the family-friendliness of 182 large cities across the nation. City-by-city stats were rated by what WalletHub saw as five key child-rearing factors: family fun, health and safety, education/childcare, affordability and socioeconomics.
Irvine came in second behind Overland Park, Kansas, based on high scores for health (No. 3); education (No. 3) and socioeconomics (No. 4). The city ranked 28th for fun … and 49th for affordability.
On the lower end of WalletHub’s survey was San Bernardino at No. 176. That score came despite a No. 14 ranking for fun that couldn’t overcome a No. 178 rank for health/safety; 163rd for education/care; 173rd for affordability; and 156th for socioeconomics.
Now, “affordability” is very relative as many “family friendly” towns have high incomes to support the pricey cost of living. Ponder Irvine and San Bernardino.
Irvine is a fine city in which to live if you earn the typical high wages residents there make. The median value of an Irvine home is $863,000, according to Zillow, with a median household income of $97,000, by Census math. How could San Bernardino be less “affordable” when homes are valued at just $341,000? Well, look at the median income, which runs only $38,000.
Let’s consider WalletHub’s rankings as just one opinion. Another family-themed ranking by Zumper looked at 94 cities and came to different conclusions. For example, Zumper gave Bakersfield the highest ranking in California and No. 19 nationally. Conversely, WalletHub ranked Bakersfield No. 84. Irvine was not ranked by Zumper.
To be fair, the two rankings did have some similarities. As for “best,” Zumper had Madison, Wis., as No. 1 while WalletHub scored it a respectable No. 13. And “worst” cities for families? Zumper had Baltimore worst followed by Detroit, Las Vegas and Cleveland. By WalletHub’s math? The bottom included Newark, N.J., followed by Detroit, Miami, Cleveland, Hialeah, Fla., and Baltimore.
All that said, here is how WalletHub ranked other Southern California cities, with their scores for the five factors tracked … Let the debates begin!
No. 9 Huntington Beach: Ranked 90 for fun; 9 for health; 6 for education; 77 for affordability; and 8 for economics.
No. 37 Rancho Cucamonga: Ranked 61 for fun; 63 for health; 43 for education; 98 for affordability; and 9 for economics.
No. 45 Santa Clarita: Ranked 98 for fun; 26 for health; 17 for education; 122 for affordability; and 52 for economics.
No. 73 Garden Grove: Ranked 24 for fun; 38 for health; 30 for education; 172 for affordability; and 19 for economics.
No. 93 Glendale: Ranked 60 for fun; 36 for health; 31 for education; 175 for affordability; and 17 for economics.
No. 98 Anaheim: Ranked 46 for fun; 28 for health; 53 for education; 174 for affordability; and 25 for economics.
No. 101 Fontana: Ranked 18 for fun; 110 for health; 127 for education; 157 for affordability; and 32 for economics.
No. 115 Los Angeles: Ranked 1 for fun; 67 for health; 87 for education; 177 for affordability; and 128 for economics.
No. 116 Riverside: Ranked 79 for fun; 101 for health; 114 for education; 152 for affordability; and 35 for economics.
No. 122 Long Beach: Ranked 13 for fun; 46 for health; 57 for education; 176 for affordability; and 78 for for economics.
No. 134 Moreno Valley: Ranked 29 for fun; 88 for health; 145 for education; 165 for affordability; and 70 for economics.
No. 139 Ontario: Ranked 36 for fun; 117 for health; 143 for education; 169 for affordability; and 31 for economics.
No. 157 Santa Ana: Ranked 72 for fun; 51 for health; 67 for education; 179 for affordability; and 47 for economics.