Best Cities for Families Index 2017

November 2017 | Germany | Berlin

The Best Cities for Families Worldwide

At Homeday, our goal is to make buying and selling real estate as easy and convenient as possible. After thousands of successful property sales, we’ve learnt through conversing with homebuyers that young families looking to settle down is one of the core drivers of the home purchasing industry. To utilise these findings, we undertook this study in order to help potential property buyers and sellers make data-led decisions.

This is how we proceeded: To kick-off the study, we first asked hundreds of parents what the most important factors are when raising a family in an urban landscape. From this we found, for example, that although housing affordability and pollution were both big considerations for parents, good schools and the ability to buy a home are far more important overall. Using the answers from this representative poll, we then determined the main categories for the study; city infrastructure, maternity laws, healthcare quality, happiness levels, activities for children, and expert perceptionPoll from over 30,000 parenting experts and family journalists. We then analysed thousands of cities around the world based on these categories to determine the final list of 100 best cities for families to live in.

The research included micro factors such as education quality, unemployment and safety, as well as green spaces, transportation and affordability. To round off the study, we asked 30,000 parenting experts and family journalists to rate how good their own city is for raising a family. We then ranked all of these factors to determine the final score for each city.

International results

Methodology

To select the cities in the ranking, we first asked hundreds of parents what makes a city great for raising a family. Using these answers, we determined five categories for the study; City, Maternity Law and Health, Happiness, Travel and Activities and Expert Perception. We then analysed thousands of cities around the world for data relating to these categories to determine the final list of 100 best cities for families. There are many cities not featured in this index which are also undeniably great for families to live in. But with digitalization meaning that people can live and work anywhere, we aimed to reveal the many possibilities for young families, both close to home and across the globe.

For the final list of 100 cities, we then analysed each of them for 15 factors (including parent poll and professional poll) and awarded every city a score based on how well they did for each factor. A full description of each of these factors can be found below.

To create the final list, we ranked the raw data from highest to lowest value and then awarded a standard score based on their ranking in the following manner:

Final Score (i) = 39% City (i) +13% Mat. Law and Health (i) + 5% Happiness (i) + 19.5% Travel and Activities (i) + 23.5% Expert Perception (i)

Scores are from 1 - 10—the higher the score, the better the city is for families based on that particular factor. Therefore, a score of 10 indicates that the city is very good for raising a family based on that factor. Please note that this list features the best cities for families out of thousands, so every city in this list should be considered good for raising a family.

City

Housing

  • This represents the affordability of housing according to salary and average house prices. The higher the score, the more affordable the housing in the city.
  • Annual Net Salary in EUR. Source: Average Salary Survey Data
  • Average price of buying a house (per sq m), per city. Source: Global Property Guide, World Bank and OECD.

Education System

  • This reveals the quality of education in the city. The higher the score, the better the education.
  • Average PISA scores in mathematics, reading and science. Source: PISA-Program for international student assessment, OECD.
  • TIMMS 2015 scores (grade 8). Source: TIMMS-Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study. Adjusted to PISA.
  • Expenditure on education. Source: UN data. Adjusted to PISA.

Safety

  • This score reveals how safe the city is based on both evidence of crime and perception of security. The higher the score, the safer the city.
  • Weighted official average rate of theft and murders in the city. Then this was weighted with the local perception of security per capita . Source: UN official data from the city’s Police Department when available and safety perception poll.

Affordability Based on PPP

  • This score represents what people can afford (salary, costs of living). The more affordable, the higher the score.
  • GDP per capita (PPP-Purchasing Power Parity). Source: CIA World Factbook
  • Annual Net Salary in EUR. Source: Average Salary Surveys
  • Cost of living: (cost of fast food, dinner out, public transport (monthly), rent (85 m2 furnished accommodation)). Source: expanistan (survey)

Unemployment

  • This reveals the unemployment rate in a city. The lower the unemployment, the higher the score.
  • Unemployment rate in the city. Source: local official reports and OECD.

Pollution

  • This score indicates the levels of air, noise and light pollution in each city. The less pollution, the higher the score.
  • Pollution Air: Annual mean, ug/m3. Source: WHO
  • Pollution Noise: Survey of the perception of noise on the city. Source: Mimi Hearing Index 2017.
  • Pollution Light: Mean light levels in the country. Source: lightpollutionmap.info

Transportation

  • The score represents how good the transport in a city is, looking at both road congestion and off-road alternatives. The less congestion and higher levels of satisfaction with public transport, the higher the score.
  • Congestion level in the city. Source: TomTom Traffic index, NRIX traffic scorecard (adjusted to TomTom), Google traffic (adjusted to TomTom).
  • Satisfaction with public transportation. Source: Eurostat EU perception survey, surveys of individual countries, and surveys from peer-reviewed journals.

Maternity Law and Health

National Maternity/Paternity Law

  • This score represents how good the maternity/paternity laws are. The higher the score, the better the laws.
  • Paid maternity leave available in weeks (country). Source: OECD, country government sites.
  • Full paid parental leave available (maternity and paternity) in weeks. Source: OECD, country government sites.
  • Percentage of men taking paternity leave to represent the effectiveness of having paternal leave. Source: country government sites.

Healthcare

  • This score indicates how good the healthcare is. The higher the score, the better the healthcare system.
  • Percentage of GDP spent on healthcare. Source: World bank
  • Percentage of population covered by private or public health insurance. Source: OECD, local government reports.

Happiness

Happiness

  • This score shows how happy the people are in the city. The higher the score, the happier the people.
  • UN Happiness Score. Source: World Happiness Report

Travel and Activities

Kid Friendly Airports

  • This score shows how kid friendly the local airports are, for those families visiting with young children. The higher the score, the more kid friendly the airport.
  • Number of airports per city and subjective ranking of kid-friendliness. Source: Airport Authority Data

Activities for Kids

  • This score measures how friendly the city is for kids (eg. on vacation, or on weekends and bank holidays). The higher the score, the better the activities for kids.
  • Number of adventure parks. Source: yelp, tripadvisor, foursquare.
  • Number of museums. Source: yelp, tripadvisor, foursquare.
  • Number of hotels. Source: various local tourism pages.
  • Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index 2017 edition. Source: World Economic Forum.
  • The state of the world’s children. Source: Children in an Urban World Unicef report and data in terms of under 5 mortality rate, a critical indicator of the wellbeing of children.

Green spaces

  • This score indicates how many green spaces a city has, the higher the score, the higher the number of green spaces.
  • Source: Used Google Maps API service to calculate the percentage of public green spaces inside the city limits.

Expert Perception

Parents

  • This score is created from a representative poll. The higher the score, the better the perception.
  • Source: Hundreds of parents were asked what factors contribute to a good family city, plus how good their city is for raising a family.

Professionals

  • This score is created from a representative poll. The higher the score, the better the perception.
  • Source: over 30,000 parenting experts and family journalists were asked to rate how good their city is for raising a family.