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My children are still very young and I would like for them to have a stable upbringing, preferably in one place that they can call home.

I'm fortunate to be able to re-locate, but as a fairly new parent I don't really know what to look for when considering a new place to live. For example, good schools, low crime, nice climate, and seems ok -- but that's much of the world these days.

How can I narrow it down, other than simply choosing somewhere close to family & relatives? Have any parents learned lessons they can share related to choosing where to raise their kids, like something which isn't obvious that they wish they'd considered at the time?

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How can I narrow it down, other than simply choosing somewhere close to family & relatives?

My wife and I selected our home for our son in a smallish bedroom community because of proximity to work, low crime, good hospitals, affordability and good schools for our day-to-day life. But we are close to hiking and parks to expose him to the great outdoors. We are also close to several large cities (within 20 miles) to expose him to different museums, music, plays, and foods. We are also planning to take him traveling at least domestically when he's a little older as well. But notice I didn't prioritize only for my kid, I also factored in criteria that are important to my wife and I. Happy parents equals happy kid.

But everyone is different. I personally recommend that you write down all of the factors you're considering (safety, expose to different cultures, appreciation for the outdoors, etc) and rank them in order of importance to you and pick where to live based on that. It's not likely you'll hit all of your criteria, but at least you'll discover what's important to you.

My recommendation to you is first focus on your children's safety and typically you'll get decent or good schools in lower crime areas anyway. I also think it's really important to be close to friends and family just because you'll have more support from your network. You'll get good advice, hand-me-downs, and trusted babysitters.

  • @JeremyJones - please don't use comments to say "thank you" - please just upvote the post. And for those where you dislike the content, please don't be rude, just downvote. – Rory Alsop Jun 24 at 18:15
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This is very broad and opinion based. I'd like to address a meta-diagnosis of your question since it is so broad. Remember your kids will be subjected to all manner of topics ranging from moral, to political, to cultural that you don't approve of no matter where you live.

First, irregardless of where you choose to live your ability to build a strong Parent-Child relationship will play a more important role than any group of cultural feature sets that make up the place and time you may live in.

Second, all children are born with a nature that you have varying degrees of influence over, but ultimately no control over. This can play out differently in different scenario's, however you cannot guess what these 'natures' will be and how they will react to the world they are born into.

Basic example, some people are born into abusive families. I was reading about Gordon Ramsey and he had an alcoholic and abusive parent in the home. He obviously responded well and his traumatic experiences molded him for the better. Other people will become cruel themselves, and others will completely collapse in on themselves.

This example applies to many personality traits and interests that we simply cannot predict. To min/max where to raise your kids may best by answered by instead of focusing on this try to min/max your ability and impact as a parent. I don't say this rudely, rather with humility, as I continue to learn things I wish I knew when my first kid was born.

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    "This is very broad and opinion based. I'd like to address a meta-diagnosis of your question since it is so broad." In this case, vote to close as too broad instead of writing an answer. – Anne Daunted Jun 24 at 16:24
  • Has Gordon Ramsey actually said that the traumatic experience of having an alcoholic abusive parent "molded him for the better"? I don't know much about him-- he "responded well"? Which responses are correct for abuse victims? And if Gordon Ramsey had grown up in a place where pub culture isn't so significant then presumably that would have been better for him, not worse. I too can say that in Europe the alcohol consumption, and the 18 age limit, would become a worry when my children are teenagers. But I'm not asking about specific people, especially one specific person. – J Jones Jun 24 at 16:40
  • Note that irregardless of whether you think irregardless is a real word, it really is, irregardlessly. So go for it, it sounds great. – J Jones Jun 24 at 16:48
  • @JeremyJones i'm not sure where you are going with your statements. The tone of your comments seems to suggest you don't understand my point, but I can't figure out what your main point is. Ramsey isn't the point of my post, rather an anecdotal representation of overcomming, which related to my main point that all of us have to overcome something but you can't know what your children's particular strengths and weaknesses will be ahead time, so trying to 'pick your poison' on where to live has limited chance of working as intended once you get past basics like crime, drugs, etc... – Adam Heeg Jun 24 at 17:24
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    @JeremyJones actually he said due to that traumatic experience he worked extra hard at being a better person. He also has spoken of family issues and how they drove him to find a way to do Gordon Behind Bars. That show, those lives he impacted personally and through the show would have never happened without the family experiences he had - according to him. Maybe you know more, clearly you think you do. – Adam Heeg Jun 24 at 18:01
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In addition to a great answer by jcmack, here is my very subjective list of things to consider when choosing where to live:

Avoid busy streets. To walk anywhere, you often have to cross the busy street, which is a risk factor for everyone, especially kids. Noise and air pollution are also important factors.

Close to work and school/preschool/daycare. Long everyday commute steals the time your family can spend together. Plus, the probability of the accident is proportional to the commute time in a car. Walking distance to school is great.

Avoid high violence areas. Most neighborhoods in the US are safe (low violence) by world standards. Just visit the area of interest during the day and night, and your instincts will tell you. When in doubt, check the official crime statistics (not the news, since the news sources tend to prefer frightening the readers).

Close to your family and friends. This is similar to what you mentioned in the question.

Close to good schools. But take the school rating systems with a large grain of salt. The ratings show a lot of variation (noise). Very large difference in ratings that are stable across time are more reliable, while the small ones are less reliable due to noise.

Close to public transportation. This is a safer travel choice for everyone, especially kids (compared to a car).

Close to where you like to spend time, especially the kids, or you and the kids together as a family. An excellent choice is within walking distance to nature, such as a park. Health benefits of spending time in nature are well-documented.

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