What Are the Best (Affordable) Suburbs for Raising a Family in the U.S.?

All across America, some families are choosing to forgo city life for the suburbs. According to a recent survey from The Harris Poll, nearly one-third of Americans are looking to move from denser areas to more open spaces, with many citing the COVID-19 pandemic as a primary concern. With space in urban districts already at a premium, many city-dwellers are contemplating moving to regions with a smaller population and larger lots for houses.

Using recent rankings provided by Niche, we compiled a list of 25 affordable suburbs in America that are the best for raising a family. Niche calculated the rankings by providing a comprehensive assessment of key factors — the quality of local schools, safety, affordability, and access to family amenities, to measure the appeal of an area for families.

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#25. University Gardens, New York
City: New York City
Population: 4,202
Median home value: $750,500
Median rent: $1,552
Median household income: $115,536
Public schools Niche grade: A+
Located in Nassau County, University Gardens is a suburb of New York City, offering residents a suburban vibe while also being close to the urban amenities of the city itself. In addition to its ranking as one of the best suburbs for raising a family, it also made the top five in Niche’s review of places with the best public schools in New York.

#24. Rollingwood, Texas
City: Austin
Population: 1,569
Median home value: $991,400
Median rent: $3,501
Median household income: $190,795
Public schools Niche grade: A+
The small population of just 1,569 residents gives this little suburb of Rollingwood, Texas, a rural feel, yet it’s only about 5 miles away from downtown Austin. Originally incorporated in 1955 with just 28 homes, the area has since grown to include parks and green space, excellent schools, and a vibrant commercial district with restaurants, retail shops, and local businesses.

#23. Short Hills, New Jersey
City: Millburn
Population: 13,134
Median home value: $1,361,500
Median rent: $2,588
Median household income: $250,001
Public schools Niche grade: A+
Short Hills, New Jersey, is one of the most affluent communities in the area, with average home prices hitting close to $1.5 million. Niche also ranked Short Hills #1 for suburbs with the best public schools in New Jersey, and #3 for best places to raise a family in New Jersey. Residents say the low crime rates and exceptional schools are just some of the reasons they love living here.

#22. North Potomac, Maryland
City: Potomac
Population: 24,148
Median home value: $663,300
Median rent: $2,130
Median household income: $159,232
Public schools Niche grade: A+
North Potomac is located in Maryland but is considered a suburb of Washington, D.C. In addition to its top-rated schools and tight-knit community, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy here, with nearby Seneca Creek State Park offering hiking, fishing, a playground, and disc golf. Those who are more inclined toward arts and culture won’t be disappointed, as the township has several museums and historic buildings, as well as seasonal festivals, concerts, and other events.

#21. Okemos, Michigan
City: Lansing
Population: 23,912
Median home value: $231,100
Median rent: $965
Median household income: $78,080
Public schools Niche grade: A+
With a population of just under 24,000, this suburb is small enough to be homey, but not so small as to leave you feeling stifled. Schools here are some of the best, with residents citing myriad options in advanced placement classes, strong music and art programs, and plenty of cultural diversity within the schools and community.

#20. Ardmore, Pennsylvania
City: Philadelphia
Population: 13,083
Median home value: $328,800
Median rent: $1,342
Median household income: $89,923
Public schools Niche grade: A+
This Philadelphia suburb isn’t just highly-rated for being a great place to raise a family but also made the top five in Niche’s rankings of best places to live in Pennsylvania. Amenities in the community include outdoor parks, a public pool, shopping, restaurants and seasonal festivals.

#19. Mountain Lakes, New Jersey
City: Mountain Lakes
Population: 4,274
Median home value: $849,100
Median rent: $1,430
Median household income: $216,250
Public schools Niche grade: A+
Aptly named, Mountain Lakes has no less than nine lakes encompassing its 3.2-mile borough. This planned development was originally founded more than 100 years ago, and its combined natural beauty and urban conveniences continue to entice new residents. Mountain Lakes has also been ranked in the top five by Niche for the best place to raise a family in New Jersey and best suburb to build a house.

#18. South Kensington, Maryland
City: Kensington
Population: 8,769
Median home value: $736,300
Median rent: $2,164
Median household income: $181,941
Public schools Niche grade: A+
South Kensington has a population of just under 9,000 and has been ranked not only as a great place to raise a family but also earned #1 spots in Niche’s rankings for best places to live in, best places to raise a family and best places to retire in Maryland. Median home values here are just over $730,000, with 90% of the residents owning as opposed to renting.

#17. Upper Montclair, New Jersey
City: Montclair
Population: 11,744
Median home value: $751,500
Median rent: $1,830
Median household income: $195,560
Public schools Niche grade: A+
Upper Montclair, located within Montclair’s broader community is a small suburb with just over 11,000 residents. Its public school system is a big draw for families, as the Montclair School District employs an award-winning magnet system, upward of 25 advanced placement classes for high schoolers, and a wide range of language learning opportunities for grades K-12. In addition to being ranked as one of the best suburbs to raise a family in America, Niche gives Upper Montclair a #1 ranking for best suburbs to live in New Jersey.

#16. Syosset, New York
City: New York City
Population: 19,559
Median home value: $642,500
Median rent: $2,256
Median household income: $159,375
Public schools Niche grade: A+
This New York suburb manages to maintain a rural feel despite having a population of nearly 20,000. Schools here are highly-ranked, placing in the top five for best public schools in New York, and the community is also rated as one of the best places to raise a family in New York.

#15. Carmel, Indiana
City: Indianapolis
Population: 90,163
Median home value: $330,600
Median rent: $1,199
Median household income: $116,867
Public schools Niche grade: A+
Carmel, Indiana, ranks high on the list of best suburbs to raise a family, it also takes the #1 spot for best places to live in Indiana. Located on the northern border of Indianapolis, the town has nearly 100,000 residents, with amenities that include a vibrant arts district, 200 miles of biking trails, golfing, and several museums. People who live here mention the highly-rated school system and the strong community as two reasons they love it.

#14. Buffalo Grove, Illinois
City: Chicago
Population: 41,329
Median home value: $324,600
Median rent: $1,599
Median household income: $111,435
Public schools Niche grade: A+
Located about 33 miles from Chicago, Buffalo Grove has a population of just over 41,000. The community has plenty of restaurants and shopping, as well as parks and playgrounds, disc golf, a skate park and a public pool. Buffalo Grove is also ranked in the top five for best places to live in Illinois.

#13. Kensington, New York
City: New York City
Population: 1,184
Median home value: $1,360,600
Median rent: $2,583
Median household income: $171,250
Public schools Niche grade: A+
Founded in the early 1900s, Kensington is a small suburban community with about 1,100 residents. Average home prices can surpass the $1 million mark, but crime is very low and the public schools are some of the best in the state. Kensington is also ranked in the top five for best places to raise a family in New York and made the top 10 for best places to live in New York.

#12. Holly Hills, Colorado
City: Denver
Population: 2,909
Median home value: $426,500
Median rent: $2,634
Median household income: $136,176
Public schools Niche grade: A+
Low crime, great schools, and a community feel are a few reasons people want to raise their family in Holly Hills, Colorado. This Denver suburb has plenty of its own restaurants, shops, and cultural activities. It’s also near the RTD light rail system, making it easy to commute to Denver’s metro area.

#11. Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
City: Philadelphia
Population: 6,304
Median home value: $410,100
Median rent: $1,169
Median household income: $109,648
Public schools Niche grade: A+
Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, is the home of Swarthmore College, and approximately 1,300 of its 6,000-plus residents are students at the school. While the college pride is evident here, the town retains a family-friendly feel. Niche also ranks Swarthmore in the top five for best places to live in Pennsylvania.

#10. Madeira, Ohio
City: Cincinnati
Population: 9,091
Median home value: $281,100
Median rent: $986
Median household income: $112,513
Public schools Niche grade: A+
A suburb of Cincinnati, Madeira has some of the top schools in the state, with many recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as Blue Ribbon Schools. Community activities and events abound, such as a year-round farmer’s market, annual art fair, holiday festivals and concerts in the park. In addition to its top 10 ranking for best suburbs for raising a family in America, Niche also ranks Madeira as #1 for the best place to live in Ohio, best place to raise a family in Ohio, and best suburb to live in Ohio.

#9. Great Neck Gardens, New York
City: New York City
Population: 1,183
Median home value: $941,800
Median rent: Not available
Median household income: $218,603
Public schools Niche grade: A+
Great Neck Gardens is a suburb of New York City, with a population of just over 1,100 residents. Niche gives Great Neck Gardens public schools an “A+” ranking, and students enjoy an average student-teacher ratio of 11-to-1. Great Neck Gardens also has a median home price of just under $1 million, which is a rare find this close to the city.

#8. Great Neck Estates, New York
City: New York City
Population: 2,841
Median home value: $1,356,100
Median rent: $1,884
Median household income: $148,939
Public schools Niche grade: A+
Also part of New York’s vast suburbs, Great Neck Estates is located approximately 20 miles from Manhattan, making it appealing for families who want a reasonable commute. Schools here are highly-rated, crime is low, and residents can enjoy plenty of shopping and dining, as well as Great Neck Estates Waterfront Park, which has an Olympic-sized pool, tennis and basketball courts, and a marina and dock area.

#7. Clarendon Hills, Illinois
City: Chicago
Population: 8,711
Median home value: $561,700
Median rent: $985
Median household income: $126,500
Public schools Niche grade: A+
The Village of Clarendon Hills, part of DuPage County and a suburb of Chicago, is home to nearly 9,000 residents and is a busy, close-knit community. It is also home to some of the top schools in the state, with its elementary schools consistently exceeding state achievement requirements, and its high school rated as one of the top schools in the nation. Residents cite the low crime rates, walkability, and friendly neighborhoods as some of the reasons they love living here.

#6. Berwyn, Pennsylvania
City: Philadelphia
Population: 3,268
Median home value: $478,300
Median rent: $578
Median household income: $108,000
Public schools Niche grade: A+
Berwyn is a suburb of Philadelphia, situated about 23 miles from the city. With plenty of restaurants, retail shops, and parks, the area has a somewhat urban feel, while still offering a low-key, suburban lifestyle. Berwyn made the top five in Niche’s rankings of places with the best public schools in Pennsylvania.

#5. Jericho, New York
City: New York City
Population: 13,827
Median home value: $772,900
Median rent: $2,044
Median household income: $161,771
Public schools Niche grade: A+
With top-rated schools, low crime, and an approximate 30-mile commute to and from New York City, it’s not surprising that Jericho is ranked in the top five for best suburbs for raising a family. Most of the residents own their homes as opposed to renting, and median home prices are just under $800,000, which is lower than many other places near the city. Jericho also ranked #1 in Niche’s rankings of best places to live in New York.

#4. Devon, Pennsylvania
City: Philadelphia
Population: 2,008
Median home value: $600,200
Median rent: $2,177
Median household income: $183,333
Public schools Niche grade: A+
Devon, which is located about 22 miles from Philadelphia, is considered an optimum place to raise a family, partly due to the public school system, which earns an all-around “A+” rating from Niche. Niche also lists Devon in the top five for best public schools in Pennsylvania, as well as best places to raise a family in Pennsylvania.

#3. Penn Wynne, Pennsylvania
City: Philadelphia
Population: 5,758
Median home value: $366,200
Median rent: $1,473
Median household income: $131,161
Public schools Niche grade: A+
Pennsylvania suburb Penn Wynne takes the #3 spot for best places to raise a family in America. The schools here are part of the Lower Merion School District, some of the best in the state. In 2020, the school district was named one of the “Best Communities for Music Education” by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation, an honor it has held for several years.

#2. Long Grove, Illinois
City: Chicago
Population: 7,978
Median home value: $657,200
Median rent: $2,688
Median household income: $208,250
Public schools Niche grade: A+
Long Grove is located about 37 miles northwest of Chicago and is a well-established suburb with a population of just under 8,000. The community was founded in the 1800s and retained much of its historic charm, with a downtown area full of shops and restaurants, seasonal festivals and events, and lots of open spaces.

#1. Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania
City: Philadelphia
Population: 4,714
Median home value: $312,800
Median rent: $1,813
Median household income: $119,010
Public schools Niche grade: A+
The Philadelphia suburb of Chesterbrook is ranked #1 for best suburbs for raising a family, in part because of the public schools, which offer advanced placement classes and college prep at the high school level and gifted programs at the elementary and middle school levels. Niche also ranks Chesterbrook as being #1 for best places to live in Pennsylvania.

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Jody Ellis is a freelance writer, born and raised in Alaska and now based out of Nevada. Her work has appeared in publications such as Huffington Post, BBC, LennyLetter, Woman's World, and Civil Eats, as well as having two published books. Follow her on Twitter at @winter_girls_ak.

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