Study | Lower Costs Draw Families to DFW


A family walks their dog in a neighborhood | Image by Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Several North Texas cities are among the top places to raise a family in 2023 in terms of cost of living, according to a recent study by Harmony Healthcare IT, a data management firm.

Based on an October survey of 1000 Americans, 246 of whom were parents with children under the age of 18, one in four families had moved or were considering a move in 2022 to save money. One in five families with minor children was planning a move in 2023.

Affordability was the primary consideration for 47% of families when choosing where to live. A large majority of respondents — 76% — said that “recent inflation and economic uncertainty has made it harder to budget for their families.”

Proximity to family (37%), the quality of the school systems (36%), safety (31%), and more space (26%) were also cited as important considerations when deciding where to live.

The study reviewed data from the 100 most populous cities in the U.S. to rank the most and least expensive cities to raise a family in 2023. The analysis used weighted metrics, which include: cost of living, crime rate, education and childcare, healthcare, and housing costs as compared to median income.

Data used in the study was pulled from multiple sources, including the AAA, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, and Zillow.

Four cities in the DFW metroplex — Plano, Irving, Garland, and Ft. Worth — ranked among the top 10 least expensive cities to raise a family, at Nos.3, 4, 6, and 10, respectively. The top two least costly cities were both in Arizona: Gilbert (No.1) and Chandler (No.2).

Four of the top 10 most expensive cities to raise a family were in California: San Diego (No.1), Chula Vista (No.2), Oakland (No.8), and Los Angeles (No.10). Washington, D.C., New York City, and Honolulu filled in the No. 3, 4, and 5 spots on the most expensive list, respectively.

The cheapest housing was found in Detroit, where the average price for a single-family home is $68,432. However, FBI crime data indicates that Detroit is also the worst city in the nation for crime, with an average of 1,938 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. That figure is nearly three times the average number of violent crimes across the 100 most populous cities.

The next two cities with the cheapest home prices are both in Ohio: Cleveland, with an average home price of $109,817, and Toledo, with an average home price of $111,139.

The most expensive single-family homes were found — no surprise — in California, with San Francisco, Fremont, Irvine, and San Jose taking spots 1-4 on the list, respectively. Honolulu came in at No.5. The average cost of a home in those five cities ranged from more than $1.4 million to more than $1.6 million.

For families with kids, the cost of childcare can take a big bite out of the family budget. The least expensive state for childcare was West Virginia, which averages $4,070 per year. The most expensive state is New York, which averages $23,231 per child per year.

In terms of healthcare costs, the most expensive states were located along the East Coast, with Washington, D.C., taking the No.1 spot at $10,311 per person per year. Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and Delaware round out the top five most expensive states for healthcare.

The least expensive states for healthcare were in the Western United States, with Utah taking first place at $5,310 per person, followed by Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico.

Although it is an expensive time to be living in America, families now have more options to move to cheaper states than ever before, according to the Harmony Healthcare study.

“One good thing to come out of the pandemic is that many families are no longer tied down to one location because of a job.

“With increased work-from-home opportunities and hybrid roles, parents can look for more affordable places to raise their children comfortably,” Harmony Healthcare concluded. “There are a lot of options available to find the best [city] for your family.”

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