2019’s Best Places to Raise a Family in Washington State

Posted by: Richie Bernardo

It’s home to some of the wettest places in the U.S., but Washington State boasts enough sunny qualities to make it livable for parents and their kids. This Pacific Northwest state simply has everything a family could dream of: a healthy job market paired with big paychecks, high educational attainment, a natural environment that promotes an active lifestyle and more.

To start off the list, Washingtonians earn the 9th highest per-capita personal income in the U.S. As a bonus, they don’t have to pay state individual income tax. Those who aspire to work for some of America’s biggest and most admired employers will also be pleased to know that Amazon, Costco, Microsoft and Starbucks are all headquartered here.

Besides being one of the rainiest, Washington’s one of the brainiest, too. And it isn’t nicknamed the “Evergreen State” for no reason. The state’s endless possibilities for outdoor fun, such as abundant forests, a coastline and mountains, complete this family-friendly package.

But certain places in Washington offer more of these positive qualities compared with other cities in the state. For a local breakdown of the best, WalletHub compared 114 of the largest Washington cities based on 21 key indicators of a suitable environment for raising children. Our data set ranges from median family income to school-system quality to housing affordability. Read on for our findings, expert insight and advice on family matters, as well as our full methodology.

  1. Main Findings
  2. Ask The Experts
  3. Methodology

Main Findings

Embed on your website<iframe src="//d2e70e9yced57e.cloudfront.net/wallethub/embed/34120/geochart-wa-families.html" width="556" height="347" frameBorder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe> <div style="width:556px;font-size:12px;color:#888;">Source: <a href="https://ift.tt/2pG8cft>  

Best Places to Raise a Family in Washington State

Overall Rank


Total Score

‘Family Life & Fun’ Rank

‘Education, Health & Safety’ Rank

‘Affordability’ Rank

‘Socioeconomics’ Rank

1West Richland, WA73.662124131
2Snoqualmie, WA68.52244417
3Sammamish, WA65.54703128
4Bainbridge Island, WA64.968212730
5Richland, WA63.403538275
6Woodinville, WA63.3012143445
7Pullman, WA63.08202788
8Maple Valley, WA62.977616109
9Tumwater, WA62.872323963
10Camas, WA62.681871661
11Kirkland, WA62.383365123
12Bothell East, WA61.902958441
13Newcastle, WA61.4777111916
14Redmond, WA61.0627204534
15Issaquah, WA60.9440174032
16Oak Harbor, WA59.67458865
17Cottage Lake, WA59.627287155
18Fort Lewis, WA59.181481132
19Union Hill-Novelty Hill, WA59.165662336
20Lake Tapps, WA58.7010064327
21Lacey, WA58.6722472849
22Kenmore, WA58.6241335525
23Bonney Lake, WA58.6010229838
24Poulsbo, WA57.775896851
25Silver Firs, WA57.694576584
26Mercer Island, WA57.606687028
27Olympia, WA57.483502486
28Washougal, WA57.3265184746
29Bellevue, WA57.2416199853
30Wenatchee, WA56.7725374173
31Artondale, WA56.4388942011
32Mill Creek East, WA56.3034805220
33Ferndale, WA56.2137351880
34Edgewood, WA56.0511241257
35Anacortes, WA55.9855276558
36Lynden, WA55.8890285624
37Covington, WA55.72107462119
38Kennewick, WA55.543256579
39Salmon Creek, WA55.2544653544
40Bothell, WA55.2181226047
41Silverdale, WA55.0568126133
42Port Orchard, WA54.9910444689
43Pasco, WA54.838522295
44Battle Ground, WA54.7243317159
45Spokane Valley, WA54.564768669
46Grandview, WA54.526347292
47Lake Forest Park, WA54.47113215714
48Frederickson, WA54.4479921341
49Fairwood (King County), WA54.3062745912
50Mukilteo, WA54.1597307721
51Ellensburg, WA54.08191523108
52Walla Walla, WA53.8675526101
53Prairie Ridge, WA53.61105671743
54South Hill, WA53.1092891429
55Maltby, WA52.9710483673
56University Place, WA51.4488256276
57Mill Creek, WA51.4398408118
58Mount Vernon, WA51.2930544987
59Camano, WA51.20114104222
60Lake Stevens, WA51.2084269348
61Orchards, WA51.0848973862
62Minnehaha, WA50.82511064355
63Shoreline, WA50.8074459035
64Seattle, WA50.7217858556
65Monroe, WA50.5726669552
66Lakeland South, WA50.3778984836
67Eastmont, WA50.37711117313
68Moses Lake, WA49.9415793199
69Five Corners, WA49.8838707666
70Graham, WA49.80103772954
71Cheney, WA49.71423630107
72Arlington, WA49.6380756337
73Lake Morton-Berrydale, WA49.581111143210
74Enumclaw, WA49.3691137991
75Bellingham, WA49.2614718784
76Puyallup, WA49.2352693782
77Edmonds, WA49.221084210326
78Bothell West, WA49.06671108015
79Sunnyside, WA48.5225186112
80Spokane, WA48.47131071197
81East Wenatchee, WA48.00463291102
82Vancouver, WA47.8428619981
83East Renton Highlands, WA47.531011006940
84Lakeland North, WA47.481091005442
85Mountlake Terrace, WA47.16494310764
86Bremerton, WA46.8639538394
87Renton, WA46.69735710157
88Marysville, WA46.5696737850
89Aberdeen, WA46.23366036110
90Elk Plain, WA45.55110893972
91Longview, WA45.28643982106
92Yakima, WA45.2451087498
93Auburn, WA45.0787886667
94Martha Lake, WA45.05699110439
95Sedro-Woolley, WA44.87535950104
96Des Moines, WA44.77106639660
97Kelso, WA44.21314989109
98Tacoma, WA44.161111264100
99Port Angeles, WA43.6499592105
100Spanaway, WA42.59941055385
101Hazel Dell, WA42.48508610083
102Federal Way, WA42.4299829768
103Kent, WA41.2693939474
104Parkland, WA38.60868184103
105North Lynnwood, WA38.18617811077
106Burien, WA38.098510210671
107Lynnwood, WA37.76579911270
108Centralia, WA37.57599675111
109SeaTac, WA37.566310310878
110Everett, WA37.27608411190
111Lakewood, WA35.389510910296
112Bryn Mawr-Skyway, WA35.278310410593
113Tukwila, WA27.5754113109113
114White Center, WA23.777572114114

Ask The Experts

Families share a number of common priorities when choosing a new place to call home. With that in mind, we asked a panel of experts in fields such as family studies and public health to share their insight regarding the process of evaluating prospective Washington cities on a family’s shortlist. Click on the experts’ profiles below to read their bios and their thoughts on the following key questions:

  1. What are some tips for young families looking for quality public schools and affordable housing in Washington?
  2. How can local officials in Washington make their cities more attractive to young families?
  3. Looking just within Washington, to what degree is child development and a family’s quality of life influenced by the city in which they live?
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To help families find the best Washington cities in which to settle down, WalletHub compared 114 cities in the state across four key dimensions: 1) Family Life & Fun, 2) Education, Health & Safety, 3) Affordability and 4) Socioeconomics. Our sample considers only the city proper in each case and excludes cities in the surrounding metro area.

We evaluated the four dimensions using 21 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most suitable conditions for family life.

We then determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.

Family Life & Fun – Total Points: 25
  • Playgrounds per Capita: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)
  • Number of Attractions: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)Note: “Attractions” includes, for instance, museums, theaters and zoos.
  • Share of Families with Children Aged 0 to 17 Years: Double Weight (~8.33 Points)
  • Weather: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)Note: Based on WalletHub’s Cities with the Best & Worst Weather ranking.
  • Average Commute Time: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)
Education, Health & Safety – Total Points: 25
  • Quality of School System: Full Weight (~2.94 Points)
  • High School Graduation Rate: Half Weight (~1.47 Points)
  • Air Quality: Full Weight (~2.94 Points)
  • Pediatricians per Capita: Full Weight (~2.94 Points)
  • Share of Uninsured Children: Full Weight (~2.94 Points) Note: This metric refers to the share of children aged 0 to 18 years lacking health insurance coverage.
  • Violent-Crime Rate per Capita: Double Weight (~5.88 Points)
  • Property-Crime Rate per Capita: Double Weight (~5.88 Points)
Affordability – Total Points: 25
  • Housing Affordability: Full Weight (~12.50 Points)Note: This metric was calculated as follows: Housing Costs (accounts for both rental and sale prices) / Median Annual Family Income.
  • General Affordability: Full Weight (~12.50 Points)Note: This metric was calculated as follows: Median Annual Family Income / Cost-of-Living Index.
Socioeconomics – Total Points: 25
  • Separation & Divorce Rate: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
  • Share of Two-Parent Families: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
  • Share of Families Living in Poverty: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
  • Share of Households Receiving Food Stamps: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
  • Unemployment Rate: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
  • Wealth Gap: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
  • Foreclosure Rate: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)


Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Environmental Protection Agency, County Health Rankings, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Renwood RealtyTrac, SchoolDigger.com, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Areavibes and WalletHub research.

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