An abundance of outdoors to explore, coupled with a low unemployment rate and a housing market that's relatively affordable make Colorado an attractive place to raise a family.
SmartAsset, a New York-based financial services and analytical firm, ranked 41 different Colorado cities based on metrics in 10 categories:
- Percent of families under the poverty line.
- High school graduation rate.
- Percent of residents under the age of 20.
- Median housing cost and 5-year percent change in median home values.
- Median household income.
- Property and violent crime rates.
- Unemployment rate.
- Child care costs.
Golden takes the top spot for best places to raise a family in Colorado, thanks to high scores in pretty much every metric. This city saw median home values rise 22% from 2011-2015, the fastest rate in the study. This city also has an unemployment rate of only 4.3%, the second-lowest in the study. On top of that, crime here is low.
Louisville is a great place to raise a family. The schools in the area have an average graduation rate of 89%, one of the highest in the state. Plus, the city is relatively crime free. Louisville ranks first and second, respectively, for lowest rates of property crime and violent crime per 100,000 residents.
Centennial, a suburb of Denver, is a great city for families looking to ensure a promising economic future for their children. The median household income here is just under $92,000 per year and the unemployment rate is only 5.3%. For both of those metrics, Centennial ranks in the top six. The city is also home to a large number of youths. With over 26% of the residents being under the age of 20, children will have no shortage of friends. Centennial ranks 17th in that metric.
4. Lone Tree
Lone Tree is a wealthy city located in Douglas County. The average household here earns over $110,000 per year and only 2.7% of families fall under the poverty line. For both of those metrics, Lone Tree ranks second in the study. Lone Tree also has the best score for percent of residents under 20 in our top 10. Overall around 28% of residents here are under the age of 20.
Greenwood is the wealthiest city we analyzed. Households here earn around $117,000 on average. Home values in the area are also on the rise, a great sign for families looking to lay down roots. For parents looking for jobs, Greenwood is a tough place to beat. The unemployment rate in the area is only 3.5%.
Arvada is one of the most populous cities in Colorado, with a population over 100,000. This would be a good city to raise your family because of the great schools in the area. Overall the average graduation rate in the Arvada area is over 82%. Another plus to raising a family in Arvada, is that you can live relatively worry-free when it comes to safety. Arvada has the seventh-lowest property crime rate in the country, with only 2,500 property crimes per 100,000 residents and the 12th-lowest violent crime rate.
Salida is an affordable option for people looking for a safe place to raise their family. Our data shows that average housing costs in Salida are around $724 per month, less than half of what they are in some other cities in our top 10. The city also has the lowest violent crime rate in the study at 73 per 100,000 residents.
Loveland takes a balanced approach to raising a family. This city scored in the better half in every metric we analyzed. About 5.5% of families in Loveland live below the poverty line, which was the 10th-best score in the study. The city also is a safe one. Its property crime rate was the 13th-lowest in the study. Furthermore home values were up over 6% from 2011 – 2015, the 15th-fastest increase.
Littleton is another relatively crime-free city in Colorado. Overall this city had the eighth-lowest rate of property crime per 100,000 residents and the fourth-lowest rate of violent crimes per 100,000 residents. The economic situation is Littleton is also very bright. This city has an unemployment rate of only 6.2% and the average household earns over $65,000.
10. Woodland Park
Woodland Park rounds out our top 10. This city has a lot going for it when it comes to raising a family. First off, there are plenty of other kids in the area meaning plenty of friend-making opportunities for your children. About 28% of residents are under the age of 20. Plus, the cost of raising your kids in Woodland Park is relatively affordable. For example, keeping a preschooler in a care center in the Woodland Park area will cost less than $7,000 per year on average.
Read more on SmartAsset's analysis