News & Politics

Washington Is Terrible for Families, Says Website That Ranks Cities

Tenth-worst, according to WalletHub.

Overland Park, Kansas, where WalletHub says you should move your family. Photograph via Shutterstock.

The District is the tenth-worst city for families, according to WalletHub, a personal-finance website that churns out rankings of cities according to random aesthetic criteria (i.e., “Best and Worst Cities for Hockey Fans.”) WalletHub’s staff analyzed education systems, health and safety metrics, housing affordability, income levels, and recreational amenities across the 150 most populous cities in the United States and found that Washington is only marginally better than places like New Orleans, Miami, and Detroit for raising the little ones.

Washington landed in the top half of cities in a couple of categories—playgrounds per 100,000 residents and median family income adjusted for the cost of living—but near the bottom in most others. Some are easily identifiable matters: DC ranked 123rd in housing affordability and 130th for violent crime.

But some of the District’s other limitations as a family town, at least according to WalletHub’s rules, are demographic. The site ranks DC at 132nd in the percentage of households with children, not much of a shocker considering much of the District’s recent growth over the past decade has been fueled by childless singles and seniors “aging in place.” The 2010 US Census found that 44 percent of households in the District are occupied by single adults. And couples in DC are less likely to have children than the national average—just 7.9 percent of husband-wife households had kids under 18 living with them, compared to a national rate of 20.2 percent, according to the Census.

If you want a family-friendly city, WalletHub recommends moving to Overland Park, Kansas or Plano, Texas, which nabbed the top two spots. But tenth-worst seems a bit harsh, especially when there are many documented things for families around here.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.