photo from getty Images, maps by David Foster
Life with children is expensive, but in some places a dollar goes a lot further. Bloomberg BusinessWeek evaluated information provided by community data company OnBoard Informatics to determine the best affordable suburb in each state.
While many of the places on this year's list are near amenities such as country clubs and golf courses, the focus is not luxury, but rather communities where families can live well for less and enjoy good schools, low crime, and reasonable commutes. The selected suburbs were limited to towns within 25 miles of the most populated city in the state, with populations of 5,000 to 60,000, median family incomes of $51,000 to $120,000, and lower-than-average crime rates. We weighted a variety of factors including livability (short commutes, low pollution, green space), education (well-educated residents, high test scores), crime (low personal and property crime), economy (high job growth, low unemployment rate, high family income), and affordability (median household income, cost of expenditures). Affordability was most heavily weighted in our calculations. We penalized places with bad weather, a lack of racial diversity, high divorce rates, and few children.
The results range from established high-income neighborhoods to growing middle-income communities. For example, the smallest town on the list, Cave Creek, Ariz., has a population of about 5,000 and a median family income of $108,546, while Moore, Okla., one of the largest, has more than 51,000 residents and a median income of $63,309, according to OnBoard's estimates. Despite their differences, all these places offer young families an attractive location to raise children and remain close to employment opportunities.
Read on to see the best affordable suburbs by state.