Best Place to Raise a Family: City vs. Suburbs

News & Trends

03.13.2015 | 3 Minute Read | By Rent Editorial Team

There are certainly more than a few debates people have when it come to the topic of raising children. But one of the most prominent for parents has to be choosing whether to bring your children up in a bustling city or a subdued suburb.

Some choose the suburbs for their quiet nature and safety, while the city may be better for social opportunities and culture. So where’s the best place to raise a family? Let’s find out.

Stay or Go?

For parents who have lived in the city, 42% chose to stay in the city after having kids, according to a survey. A similar number of suburban parents (41.5%) decided to stay put in the suburbs to raise their family. But for those parents who did decide to move, the majority transferred to suburbia. About 10% of those surveyed moved from the city to the suburbs to raise their kids.

Only 6.5% moved from the suburbs to a city after they had children. For those that did decide to raise a family in the suburbs, about 46% say they would make the same choice again. Only 34% of city folk would make the repeat decision to bring their children up in the city.


Obviously when raising kids, safety is a huge issue. You don’t want to bring them up in a neighborhood where you’re constantly worried if they’re OK playing outside. For the majority of parents surveyed (82%), a safe neighborhood is one of the most important factors when deciding on a place to live.

Safety is also a big reason why many parents don’t opt for city living, as 56% said safety is their biggest concern with living in an urban area. Overall, the survey respondents believe that raising kids in the suburbs is a much safer option.


While safety is certainly crucial, it’s not the only factor that goes into deciding the best place to raise a family. After all, some families require a building with elevators to make it easy for them to bring strollers up to their floor and back down. Here are a few other amenities that family renters are most looking for:

Washer and Dryer: When you have to help the kids with their homework and then get them to basketball practice, you don’t want to have to make a stop at the laundromat as well. For parents raising kids, having a washer and dryer in unit is the most convenient option. And if you’re a parent, you know how often you have to do laundry. (A lot.)

Storage: Families require a good amount of storage space, which is why it’s a sought-after amenity. From kids’ toys, bikes, and sports gear to cookout equipment and beach items, there’s quite a lot to keep track of, and nobody wants all that clutter taking up their apartment space.

High-Speed Wi-Fi: So many parents today rely on technology as a form of entertainment for their little ones, from TV and computers to tablets and smartphones. Of course, the high-speed Wi-Fi is also needed for the parents who work at home and require a steady Internet connection.

Outdoor Space: Even if it’s a small patio, having outdoor space for your kids to play is crucial. Not many families want to be stuck inside all day. Parents are searching for apartments that offer ample outdoor space, whether it’s a balcony, a deck, or a patio. However, make sure that if you choose an apartment with a balcony the railings are high and secure.

Location: There are more than a few amenities that you may want to live nearby. Schools, public transportation, parks, libraries, grocery stores and day care centers can be very handy to have nearby.

Tips for Finding a Family-Friendly Apartment

Whether you make the decision to move to the city or the suburbs, you’ll have to find a family-friendly apartment. Here are some tips to keep in mind to help you locate that perfect rental:

  • Pay attention to neighbors: This is one thing I definitely didn’t consider when I moved into my current building. Granted, I don’t have a family, but that’s not to say I enjoy living above a chain smoker. Before you sign a lease, meet the neighbors. Many families wish to move into apartments that are next to a renter with kids of similar ages. Of course, living next to a single couple may also work (helloooooo babysitters!).

  • Check windows: When checking out an apartment, make sure that every window locks— especially low windows that can be hazardous to small children.

  • Look at stairs: If you have toddlers, narrow, hardwood stairs can be hard for them to climb. Instead, look for an apartment with carpeted stairs.

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