The Best City in Each State for Working Families

By Amanda Postma - Aug. 7, 2020

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Working families all have one thing in common: they work hard to just get by.

For 20+ years, working families have been dealing with inflation without a pay raise. Since they have to keep their families afloat now, families have stopped saving for retirement. Which probably means they don’t have a college fund set up either.

Well, it’s time to turn that around. Because why wouldn’t you want to live where you have the best chances to save up for retirement while also spending quality time with your family.

We really narrowed down the results and found the top 10 cities for working families. This was based on cities where owning a home is attainable, daycare isn’t costly, and the average workweek doesn’t keep you from your family because we know how important family dinners are.

Best Cities for Working Families

  1. Athens, Ohio
  2. Russellville, Arkansas
  3. Cumberland, Maryland
  4. Statesboro, Georgia
  5. Auburn, Alabama
  6. Mount Pleasant, Michigan
  7. Lubbock, Texas
  8. Greenwood, South Carolina
  9. Columbia, Missouri
  10. Richmond, Kentucky

Family time and saving for retirement shouldn’t be optional for working families. Instead, it should be doable. Keep reading for our complete list of all the cities that are great for working families.

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How We Determined This

We ranked over 500 cities on:

  • Percent of median income that covers daycare costs
  • Average home price
  • Quality of public schools
  • Amount of hours worked
  • Median commute length

The factors we looked at can be put into two categories: Time and affordability. Trying to balance working and raising a family is hard- it strains your free time and your wallet. We sought to identify the city in each state where working families have a bit more extra cash in their pockets and a little extra time mom or dad can use as they please.

For a time, we used data from the Census’ ACS to determine the median commute length and the average amount of hours worked. The less time spent on the freeway or on the clock, the better for work-life balance.

For affordability, we first looked into daycare costs, using data from businessbroker.net In many places, daycare is more expensive than college and a burden to working families. To determine where working families were struggling to afford childcare, we compared the percentage of median income to the average daycare cost. Since this data is at a state level, all cities in a state were assigned the same score.

We then examined the median housing cost in each city, once again from the ACS. While you don’t need a house to raise a family- many people enjoy the space and privacy it affords. Not to mention, homeownership is a cornerstone of the American dream.

Finally, we examined school quality, by incorporating the percent of 18-24 years old with at least a high school diploma.

1. Athens, Ohio

Average Home Cost: $118,400
Average Workweek: 32
Percent of Monthly Costs for Daycare: 19%

Out of the 500 cities we evaluated, Athens, Ohio, came out on top. Why? If the average home cost of $118,400 doesn’t convince you then maybe the average workweek of 32 hours will. The city’s average workweek is the shortest in the entire U.S., which gives you plenty of time to hang out with your family.

2. Russellville, Arkansas

russellville,

Average Home Cost: $109,300
Average Workweek: 38
Percent of Monthly Costs for Daycare: 15%

Our runner-up is Russellville, Arkansas. With one of the lowest daycare costs ranking, Russellville is perfect if you’re trying to save a little bit of money with a younger family. The daycare costs only take up 15% of all monthly costs on average here. Plus, if you’re wanting to own your house, then knowing that the average home only costs $109,300 is probably music to your ears.

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3. Cumberland, Maryland

Average Home Cost: $119,600
Average Workweek: 37
Percent of Monthly Costs for Daycare: 18%

Cumberland, Maryland ranked No. 3 for working families. The most notable stat for this city is the short average workweek of 37 hours. But the average home cost of $119,600 and daycare only accounting for 18% of the monthly bills aren’t anything to complain about either!

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4. Statesboro, Georgia

statesboro,

Source: |GFDL

Average Home Cost: $146,700
Average Workweek: 37
Percent of Monthly Costs for Daycare: 16%

For No. 4, we venture down south to Statesboro, Georgia. While the average home cost of $146,700 is a bit higher than the previous cities, its average workweek of 37 hours is perfect for those who want to spend a bit more time with their family.

class="fancy">5. Auburn, Alabama

auburn,

Average Home Cost: $182,700
Average Workweek: 37
Percent of Monthly Costs for Daycare: 14%

Auburn, Alabama comes up next on the list. The state ranks fifth overall from its low cost of daycare per month. Only taking up 14% of the average monthly bills, Auburn has the 6th lowest daycare costs in the country.

class="fancy">6. Mount Pleasant, Michigan

Average Home Cost: $139,200
Average Workweek: 36
Percent of Monthly Costs for Daycare: 19%

This next city sounds, well, pleasant. At No. 6, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, seems to live up to its name. Working families are able to take it easy in Mount Pleasant with the average workweek being only 36 hours. That’s the 12th shortest work week out of the 500 cities we evaluated.

class="fancy">7. Lubbock, Texas

lubbock,

Average Home Cost: $146,300
Average Workweek: 38
Percent of Monthly Costs for Daycare: 16%

Coming in at No. 7 is Lubbock, Texas. While the city features a low average home cost of $146,300 and a short 38-hour workweek, the most impressive feat here is the daycare costs. Working families don’t have to concern themselves with high daycare costs with the average here only taking up 16% of the monthly bills.

class="fancy">8. Greenwood, South Carolina

greenwood,

Average Home Cost: $100,300
Average Workweek: 38
Percent of Monthly Costs for Daycare: 14%

Greenwood, South Carolina pops up on our list as the eighth-best city for working families. This ranking is due to the average cost of homes and daycare being so low. For one, the city features one of the lowest average home costs of $100,300 that makes it super affordable to live there for families. Plus, the daycare costs only take up 14% of the monthly bills so that families don’t have to give up their jobs to stay home with the kids.

class="fancy">9. Columbia, Missouri

columbia,

Average Home Cost: $192,200
Average Workweek: 36
Percent of Monthly Costs for Daycare: 16%

The ninth-best city is Columbia, Missouri. The city is known for its low costs of daycare, which only take up 14% of the monthly bills on average. And with a 36-hour workweek, you’re sure to make it home in time for family dinner.

class="fancy">10. Richmond, Kentucky

richmond,

Average Home Cost: $148,000
Average Workweek: 37.5
Percent of Monthly Costs for Daycare: 17%

Richmond, Kentucky wraps up our top 10 with a short work week and low daycare costs. The city, on average, only works a 37.5-hour workweek. Plus, working families won’t have to worry about daycare as it generally only covers 17% of the monthly bills. Talk about a family-friendly atmosphere.

class="fancy">Summary of the Best Cities in Each State for Working Families

Through no fault of their own, working families are struggling to spend time with their families and save up for retirement at the same time.

Many families are only able to afford one of those. We think it’s time to change that. With our list of cities, working families don’t have to worry about giving up family time or retirement savings.

Instead, they can enjoy being able to purchase their own home, make it home in time for a family dinner, and cut costs for daycare. The U.S. is filled with affordable cities for working families, so we’ve included a table that highlights all of the best cities for them.

State City Home Cost Workweek Daycare
Alaska Fairbanks $259,500 41 20%
Alabama Auburn $182,700 36 14%
Arkansas Russellville $109,300 37 15%
Arizona Flagstaff $293,800 36 20%
California Eureka $326,400 36 20%
Colorado Boulder $554,100 37 23%
Connecticut Norwich $238,400 38 19%
Delaware Dover $228,500 38 18%
Florida Gainesville $184,100 36 18%
Georgia Statesboro $146,700 36 16%
Hawaii Hilo $368,200 36 19%
Iowa Ames $191,300 34 19%
Idaho Pocatello $165,800 37 17%
Illinois Carbondale $114,400 36 20%
Indiana Muncie $96,000 36 22%
Kansas Lawrence $208,100 35 19%
Kentucky Richmond $148,000 37 17%
Louisiana Hammond $162,800 38 20%
Massachusetts Pittsfield $224,800 36 25%
Maryland Cumberland $119,600 37 18%
Maine Bangor $149,500 37 20%
Michigan Mount Pleasant $139,200 35 19%
Minnesota Duluth $161,200 36 22%
Missouri Columbia $192,200 36 16%
Mississippi Meridian $91,500 40 12%
Montana Missoula $302,100 36 20%
North Carolina Greenville $146,300 36 20%
Nevada Grand Forks $196,400 37 16%
Nebraska Lincoln $182,000 37 18%
New Hampshire Keene $192,700 37 19%
New Jersey Atlantic City $219,300 37 17%
New Mexico Las Cruces $144,400 37 21%
Nevada Reno $361,800 38 22%
New York Binghamton $120,300 36 23%
Ohio Athens $118,400 32 19%
Oklahoma Stillwater $162,900 37 18%
Oregon Corvallis $356,600 34 18%
Pennsylvania Johnstown $94,600 37 20%
Rhode Island Providence $288,700 37 23%
South Carolina Greenwood $100,300 38 14%
South Dakota Sioux Falls $199,500 39 18%
Tennessee Johnson City $158,600 38 18%
Texas Lubbock $146,300 38 16%
Utah Provo $330,100 34 20%
Virginia Blacksburg $183,300 36 19%
Vermont Burlington $279,300 37 21%
Washington Walla Walla $231,900 35 22%
Wisconsin La Crosse $185,500 37 23%
West Virginia Morgantown $171,600 37 20%
Wyoming Casper $211,000 42 20%

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Author

Amanda Postma

Amanda Postma is a writer for the Zippia Career Advice blog with a focus on creating entertaining content to help you through your job search. She received her BA from the University Of Missouri-Columbia.

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