Grand Rapids Voted Top City for Raising a Family

Best Cities for Raising a Family

By Tom Van Riper, Forbes.com
April 12, 2012

Grand Rapids, Michigan doesn’t boast a lot of affluence. The metro area population of 774,000 carries a median household income of $47,040, good for just 65th place among America’s 100 largest MSAs. The city’s major claims to fame come from being a national leader in office furniture production, and for being the hometown of a U.S. president, Gerald Ford.

What Grand Rapids does have: the distinction of being the best metro area in the country to raise a family in. Income may be relatively low, but the cost of living is even lower. The local school system ranks in the top third in the country. Commuting to work is a breeze. The housing foreclosure mess didn’t leave Grand Rapids unscathed, chopping about 12% off area home values over the past few years. But that’s still quite modest compared with many other places. Almost 90% of Grand Rapids’ housing stock is affordable to a family at the median income level, the seventh-highest rate in the country.

“The housing bubble never burst because there was never any real bubble,” says Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell, pointing out the mostly modest, 2,200-square-foot colonials that dot the local landscape.

The relative strength of Grand Rapids’ housing market is enough to push it past the next two cities on our list, Boise, Idaho and Provo, Utah, both of which are particularly noted for low crime and high school quality. Not to mention the chance to mix urban and outdoor lifestyles.

Many young single types may judge a city based on its bike friendliness, club scene, and coffee houses per square mile, in addition to the economy. And why not? You’re only young once. But once marriage and kids enter the picture, priorities change. School quality suddenly pops up as an issue. And those conditions that matter when you’re single – median income levels, housing affordability and commuting hassles – become even more important once you need to answer to more people than yourself.

We measured and ranked America’s 100 largest metro areas by median income, overall cost of living, commuting delays, crime statistics, school quality, and housing affordability (measured two ways – by the percentage of people in the MSA owning homes, according to the Census Bureau, and by the percentage of homes in the area that are affordable to a family making the local median income, according to the latest joint study by Wells Fargo and the National Association of Home Builders).

To See the other top cities to raise a family, check out this link http://realestate.yahoo.com/promo/best-cities-for-raising-a-family.html

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