Hoosiers might be known for their obsession with sports, but these Midwesterners have also upped their game in the arena of family-friendliness. In the past several years, Indiana has drawn bigger crowds into its borders, especially from abroad and neighboring Illinois, thanks in part to its stellar economic record.
Indiana currently boasts the 19th biggest state economy by GDP. That’s about the size of Singapore’s. Combined with an unemployment rate below the national average, the state offers a strong market for job seekers. Plus, earnings go a long way here, where cost of living is lower than in 41 other states.
But that’s not all that working families in Indiana have to cheer about. In a WalletHub analysis, Indiana outranked 30 states in socio-economics and 38 in affordability when it comes to raising a family. And when it comes to health care openness and access, Indiana’s is one of the better states for parents and their kids.
Unfortunately, not every city in the Hoosier State wins the “family-friendly” title. To determine the places in Indiana that are most conducive to family life, WalletHub compared more than 70 cities in the state across 21 key livability indicators. Our data set ranges from housing affordability to quality of school system to unemployment rate. Read on for the full ranking, experts’ take on certain family matters and our detailed methodology.
Best Places to Live in Indiana for Families
‘Family Life & Fun’ Rank
‘Education, Health & Safety’ Rank
|9||West Lafayette, IN||59.10||28||15||13||16|
|12||St. John, IN||57.80||76||2||31||1|
|22||Crown Point, IN||52.41||71||9||45||13|
|25||Fort Wayne, IN||50.57||16||56||33||29|
|31||New Haven, IN||49.04||58||30||30||23|
|49||Cedar Lake, IN||44.27||69||19||64||42|
|50||New Albany, IN||44.23||52||51||36||49|
|55||Terre Haute, IN||42.99||3||61||71||55|
|61||La Porte, IN||40.51||33||53||68||58|
|62||Beech Grove, IN||39.69||47||35||74||53|
|65||New Castle, IN||39.16||59||31||22||77|
|66||Lake Station, IN||38.97||61||41||70||52|
|68||South Bend, IN||38.41||22||72||59||66|
|73||Michigan City, IN||35.35||29||69||62||74|
|77||East Chicago, IN||27.55||35||73||78||76|
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 Indiana cities on a family’s shortlist. Click on the experts’ profiles below to read their bios and their thoughts on the following key questions:
- What are some tips for young families looking for quality public schools and affordable housing in Indiana?
- How can local officials in Indiana make their cities more attractive to young families?
- Looking just within Indiana, to what degree is child development and a family’s quality of life influenced by the city in which they live?
Ask the Experts
To help families find the best Indiana cities in which to put down roots, WalletHub compared a sample of 78 cities in the state across four key dimensions: 1) Family Life & Fun, 2) Education, Health & Safety, 3) Affordability and 4) Socio-economics. 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.
Finally, we determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order the cities in 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: “Children” include the population aged 0 to 18 years.
- 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.
Socio-economics – 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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