Monday, July 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The best cities for families are nowhere I'd live

This month, Parenting magazine came up with their list of “Best Cities for Families.” They say that they crunched 8,000 bits of data in 84 categories that would be of interest to dads and moms, such as great schools, affordable homes, low crime rates, plenty of jobs, lots of parkland, etc.

The best cities for families are nowhere I'd live

This month, Parenting magazine came up with their list of “Best Cities for Families.” They say that they crunched 8,000 bits of data in 84 categories that would be of interest to dads and moms, such as great schools, affordable homes, low crime rates, plenty of jobs, lots of parkland, etc.

The winner was nowhere I’d ever have considered: Washington, D.C. I lived there a bit, and it’s a fairly dull town, with most folks working as bureaucratic government cogs.

I suppose they’ve got class trips covered, though, with a plethora of monuments and museums. But really, how many times can a kid go to the Smithsonian?

The top five best cities for families, by the way, also included the rhyming toddler-friendly towns of Austin and Boston, followed by St. Paul/Minneapolis and Des Moines. (Like Kevin Costner says in the movie, “Field of Dreams,” it’s not heaven, it’s Iowa.)

What’s the absolute worst place for families in America? Why, Anaheim, of course, which on the surface is strange, considering that perennial kid favorite Disneyland is there.

Philadelphia, by the way, is ranked 47th out of 100. The New Jersey town in which I’m raising a child doesn’t have enough people to make the list.

Having been raised in New York City (24th on the list), I am prejudiced toward the place. When this country had such a thing as a living wage for the middle class, it was a great place to grow up: challenging, fast, sophisticated, brash.

Now it’s just a bifurcated city of blood and candy – dangerous for the poor, Valhalla for the rich. I once met a man who’d bought a Kevlar blanket for his new baby. Maybe Washington, D.C., isn’t so bad, after all.

Alfred Lubrano Inquirer Columnist
About this blog
A New York City native, Lubrano has written for newspapers since 1980. He's the author of a book, "Limbo: Blue-collar roots, white-collar dreams," and was a commentator for National Public Radio for 16 years. His work has appeared in various national magazines and anthologies. He lives with his daughter in South Jersey, and has worked for the Inquirer since 1995. Reach Alfred at alubrano@phillynews.com.

Alfred Lubrano Inquirer Columnist
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