These are the best and worst places in the U.S. to raise a family. How’d Pa. do? | Wednesday Morning Coffee

June 2, 2021 7:07 am

Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

Deciding where to live, and where to raise your family, is one of the biggest decisions that any person can undertake. There are so many variables, from housing affordability to the quality of the local schools that play a role in this consequential decision.

In a new study, the folks at the financial literacy site, WalletHub, compared more than 180 American cities across 48 key metrics, including housing affordability and educational quality, along with recreational opportunities, to come up with a list of the most family friendly cities in the country.

Below, a look at the Top 10 best and Top 10 worst places to raise a family, along with where Pennsylvania’s cities ranked, and some counsel from experts on how cities can better attract families.

Source: WalletHub

The 10 best places to raise a family:
1. Overland Park, Ks.
2. Fremont, Calif.
3. Irvine, Calif.
4. Plano, Texas
5. Columbia, Md.
6. South Burlington, Vt.
7. Seattle, Wash.
8. Scottsdale, Ariz.
9. Gilbert, Ariz.
10. Madison, Wisc.

The 10 worst places to raise a family:
1. Detroit, Mich.
2. Cleveland, Ohio
3. Memphis, Tenn.
4. Hialeah, Fla.
5. Newark, N.J.
6. Birmingham, Ala.
7. Wilmington, Del.
8. San Bernadino, Calif.
9. Miami, Fla.
10.  Montgomery, Ala.

Pennsylvania’s two largest cities, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, respectively finished at 145th and 55th in the WalletHub ranking list. On the upside, Philadelphia did finish 4th nationwide for the most playgrounds per capita in the ranking list. And Pittsburgh finished 3rd nationwide for the most affordable housing, according to WalletHub.

Biking on the North Shore (Pittsburgh City Paper photo).

Asked what cities can do to make themselves more attractive to young families, Penn State demographer and human development expert Susan M. McHale pointed to schools and public safety.

“Investing in schools that promote parental involvement, are welcoming to diverse families, and have high graduation rates, providing a strong economic base with meaningful and well-paying jobs, creating a welcoming culture for a diverse community, more generally, and promoting community safety via a well-trained police force with strong community connections,” McHale, who’s the director of Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute, and the associate director of its Clinical and Translational Science Institute, told WalletHub.

“Walkable, safe neighborhoods including parks, accessible full-service groceries, public transportation options, and addressing building disrepair are also key resources (for all families and community members),” McHale said.

Pennsylvania State Capitol Building. (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller.)

Our Stuff.
Ahead of a slate of four, scheduled public comment sessionsMarley Fisher has what you need to know about the latest on plans to consolidate six of Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities into two regional campuses.

During a Tuesday town hall, Lt. Gov. John FettermanHouse Minority Leader Joanna McClinton, D-Philadelphia, and other advocates called for reforms to Pennsylvania’s archaic felony murder statuteParish also reports.

Pennsylvania’s county commissioners reiterated an urgent call for help to state lawmakers on Tuesday, pleading with them to pass a pair of key reform measures before they head home for summer break, warning that a failure to act would further snarl results and frustrate voters, I report.

Eleven generic versions of an HIV drug were rushed onto the market … and list prices went up. Our sibling site, the Ohio Capital Journalexplains how and why that happened.

Pennsylvania cities could see 15 new round trips as part of Amtrak’s proposal to expand its service in the Keystone State, our partners at Pittsburgh City Paper report.

On our Commentary Page, Philadelphia Tribune columnist Michael Coard examines the shameful legacy of the Tulsa Race Massacre, which marked its centenary on Tuesday. Two Democratic lawmakers make the case for passing a ‘Red Flag’ law that would get guns out of the hands of people threatening to harm themselves or others. And while Congress can’t do much directly to fix local police departments, it can choke off the flow of federal money to local law enforcement agencies that won’t change their ways, a Rutgers University law professor writes.

(Image via The Philadelphia Tribune)

Philadelphia City Council
 says Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposed gun violence budget doesn’t go far enough, the Inquirer reports.
Leaders in Allegheny County pressed the case Tuesday for federal funds to build the northern stretch of the Mon-Fayette Expressway, the Post-Gazette reports.
PennLive considers the demise of the snow day.
During a stop in Lancaster County on Tuesday, Gov. Tom Wolf called the state’s charter school law ‘the worst in the nation,’ LancasterOnline reports (paywall).
The Morning Call looks at what happens next now that the state has lifted nearly all its COVID-19 restrictions (paywall).
Officials in Luzerne County are expected to wrap up the tabulation of write-in votes from the May 18 primary today, the Citizens’ Voice reports.

Here’s your #Pittsburgh Instagram of the Day:


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A post shared by sophia 張恩琦 (@sopheating)

As Philadelphia reopens, SEPTA is inviting riders to return, WHYY-FM reports.
Penn State’s Beaver Stadium will reopen at full capacity for the 2021 football season, WPSU-FM reports (via WITF-FM).
GoErie lets readers know what to expect as local movie theaters lift their pandemic restrictions (paywall).
Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seat is the most likely to flip in 2022, according to new CNN ratings (via PoliticsPA).
What could possibly go wrong: West Virginia is offering shotguns and hunting rifles as part of its vaccine lottery, Talking Points Memo reports.

What Goes On.
10 a.m., Live Streamed: Senate Democratic Policy Committee
10 a.m, G50 Irvis: House Labor & Industry Committee, Subcommittee on Employment and Unemployment
1 p.m., Live Streamed: House Democratic Policy Committee
1 p.m,  G50 Irvis: House Labor & Industry Committee, Subcommittee on Employment and Unemployment (cont’d)

Gov. Tom Wolf 
has no public schedule today.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to Jana Benscoter, of PennLive, who celebrates today. Congratulations and enjoy the day.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s a garage classic from Craig David and Artful Dodger to get your Wednesday morning going. It’s ‘Re-Rewind.’

Wednesday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
took a 2-0 series lead over Carolina on Tuesday night, as the Bolts beat the ‘Canes 2-1 at PNC Arena. The series heads to Tampa’s Amalie Arena for Game 3.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.