June 18, 2015
Alan Reifman, professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Texas Tech University
To what degree are child development and a family's quality of life influenced by the city they live in? How?
We know a lot of the things necessary (or at least helpful) for healthy child development and family life. These include good nutrition, physical exercise (with the necessary facilities such as parks), and access to health care for all family members. In addition, children need good schools and leisure activities that are fun and also provide intellectual stimulation (e.g., museums, libraries).
What should families consider when choosing a place to set down roots?
Parents need good job opportunities, with as many family-friendly policies as possible (e.g., onsite daycare). Other features of a city, such as good public transportation and low crime rates, are desirable too. The challenge is that cities offering these amenities also tend to be very expensive to live in. A number of magazines and web sites produce Top 10 lists of best places to raise a family, and the places that tend to rank highly are college towns and mid-size cities. All of the above features, with relative affordability, are what young families should look for and city leaders should seek to make available.