>> Feb 10, 2013
Starting a family doesn't have to mean moving to the suburbs and abandoning your life in the big city. In our current economy, many people simply don't have the flexibility to do that, even if it's something they'd like to do. Highly specialized jobs in the technology and media industry, for example, can be nearly impossible to find outside of the nation's biggest cities. One big worry about raising a family in a big city is crime. However, crime numbers in some of the biggest U.S. cities are slowly declining, according to recent reports.
Here are our picks for the best big cities to raise a family:
The capital of Texas has become a hotspot for families and young professionals alike, as many technology companies have opened outposts in Austin. Computer company Dell is headquartered here and Apple, Samsung and General Motors also plan to expand their operations to Austin, according to the Daily Texan. If you love live music, Austin is known for having a hotbed of local talent; the city also attracts numerous international artists with annual music festivals such as South by Southwest and Austin City Limits. The city may not have any professional sports teams, but the University of Texas Longhorns football team attracts more than 100,000 local fans of all ages to games, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. The publication also notes that Austin has 25 museums and 35 libraries, providing exceptional cultural opportunities for kids young and old.
With plenty of sun, a mild climate and many available cultural activities, the second largest city in the U.S. tops the list as a fantastic big city to raise a family. While some still relate Los Angeles with the high incidences of crime and gang violence in the 1990s, it's important to note that crime has been steadily declining in LA for more than a decade, namely due to an increase in Los Angeles security and local crime-fighting initiatives. According to the New York Daily News, crime figures for 2012 show that LA's overall crime rate fell 1.4 percent. Aside from being the capital of the entertainment industry, LA is also attracting many companies in the technology industry, such as Google and Demand Media, as well as numerous small startups. Young families can enjoy quality time outdoors enjoying the city's iconic beaches or picturesque parks. You can always savor the culinary scene in Los Angeles, which, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, boasts more than 8,305 restaurants.
New York City
A breakdown of the nation's best big cities would not be complete without mentioning New York City. As the most populous and international city in the U.S., New York has all of the culture that any parent could ever hope to expose their children to. As recently stated in Bloomberg Businessweek, "New York blows all other cities out of the water with its more than 1,200 bars, 22,000 restaurants, 350 museums, and almost as many libraries." Aside from being the international mecca of both finance and theater, New York is also the world capital for the fashion and advertising industries. Like Los Angeles, New York has a reputation for having a crime problem. However, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is firmly committed to making NYC the safest big city in America. And it seems his efforts are paying off. According to CNN, New York had record low homicides in 2012, although the Wall Street Journal notes that overall crime in the city rose by three percent in 2012.