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Culture / Newsy

No Kids Allowed!

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BY // 06.30.16

If you’re happily raising kids inside the loop, you may be in for a shock. It turns out you don’t know what you’re doing — or missing.

At least that’s what the new best cities for families rankings scream. In fact, according to these rankings, most of Texas is pretty much a kid-hating wasteland. There is only one Texas city among the Top 20 Best Places to Raise a Family rankings compiled by Niche.com, a website that specializes in analyzing data and rating things. In sharp contrast, Indiana — yes, Indiana! — gets two spots and Arkansas matches Houston.

But wait … it gets worse. There are only three Texas cities even in the Top 40. Chichi Austin suburb West Lake Hills leads the way at lucky No. 13; Rollingwood, also in the Austin area, comes in at No. 24; and Murphy, about 40 miles from Dallas, takes the 36th spot. The highest-rated family-friendly city anywhere close to Houston is Fulshear, at No. 87. And Fulshear’s out past Katy, 45 minutes from Houston at even an ultra-light traffic time.

According to these rankings, Houston may as well have a giant fence (or maybe a Donald Trump-worthy wall) around it, keeping all kid-friendly things at bay. It’s all a bit ridiculous, of course. It’s also likely to be news to folks at the Children’s Museum of Houston — and River Oaks moms and Bellaire Little League dads alike. As a father of three kids myself, I’ve never found Houston lacking.

Of course, none of this managed to keep West U — arguably the most coveted family address in Houston — from getting ranked the 1,116th best city in America for families. In contrast, Cinco Ranch — a master-planned community with plenty of space — is more than 1,000 places higher with its No. 111 overall ranking. Property values apparently aren’t keeping up with the “trends.”

Niche does have its methods. Public school ratings account for 20 percent of a city’s score, but things such as Cost of Living (15 percent), Percentage of Residents aged 0 to 14 (12.5 percent) and Higher Education Rate (7.5 percent) also have a significant impact on a city’s score.

The greater Houston area seems to be getting a raw deal as a whole. You could say the same thing about all of Texas, too — especially when five Ohio cities make the Top 20. But what do I know? My parents raised me in Utica, Michigan, the 6,042nd Best Place to Raise a Family In America.

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