When you first graduated from college and you were exploring options of where to live, probably the top criteria on your list was wherever you got offered a job that paid a pretty good salary.

Now that you are married and you’re starting a family, the priorities are shifting a bit. Now, you are looking for places that have good schools, low crime and a healthy sense of community (among several other things).

Sure, in a perfect world, you would simply travel from city to city until you found the place that you wanted to call “home”. Yet, who really has the money or the time for such a big endeavor? And so, we’ve done some of our own research and discovered five great U.S. cities for raising a family that you can read about first, so that it can help you to narrow down your options in the hopes of making the best personal selection:

Austin, Texas. One city that continues to get a lot of praise on many family-friendly city lists is Austin, Texas. Not only is it a warm climate that has city pools that remain open year-round, but it also has over 27,000 acres of farmland, lots of farmer’s markets and co-ops and plenty of employment opportunities thanks to Samsung, Dell, Google and Facebook’s offices within the city.

Boston, Massachusetts. When it comes to getting a great education from preschool right through college, Boston would definitely be one of the cities that gets the highest marks. As a matter of fact, back in 2011, it reportedly spent $23,000 on each public school student (the national average is $9,000) in support of education. It is also the home of a myriad of parks, museums and community gardens.

Lake Mary, Florida. If a smaller town with great area vibes is more your speed, then Lake Mary may be just the place for you. Aside from the fact that it’s located not far from Disney World, it has high air quality, a low crime rate, lots of restaurants and libraries and over 90% of its residents have a health plan. Not bad for a city with less than 14,000 people.

Raleigh, North Carolina. Did you know that one of the fastest growing cities in the country is Raleigh? Aside from the fact it has plenty of greenery, the air quality is good and you are only a couple of hours away from the beach, Raleigh also has affordable housing, also a low crime rate and one of the strongest school districts within the state. It’s also only a couple of hours away from Charlotte, a city that is filled with lots of job opportunities and culture.

Phoenix, Arizona. Homes.com rated Phoenix as the third most improved cities within the country. As if that’s not impressive enough, Phoenix is also home to seven Fortune 500 companies and it has the largest municipal park in the world (South Mountain Park and Preserve). Plus for the avid sports fan, it is one of only 13 cities in the United States that has a representative team from all four professional sport leagues. Definitely the kind of place that the entire family can enjoy!

Image source: parents.com

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