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The 20 Worst U.S. Cities for Raising Children

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Kids are great, but they’re really quite expensive. Ask around and parents will be happy to tell you. I’m happy to tell you that with four kids, I spend thousands of dollars a month more than we ever did before kids, and that’s just to keep their bottoms clean and their bellies full. And that’s not even including the cost of school activities and family fun, or the cost of clothing four little tiny people. If you are considering kids and want to know where you should live to have them and still live a nice life, you will want to steer clear of these 20 cities. They’re the worst cities in which you can raise a family across the United States.

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Worcester, Massachusetts

What makes this otherwise lovely city bad for raising kids is the cost of living. It’s among the highest in the nation, and that means that you’re going to have to make a lot of money if you want to raise kids here. It’s significantly more expensive to raise kids in this city than in many other cities in the nation, which is a bit intimidating and overwhelming for many parents. Additionally, it’s quite cold here which can limit many months of activity for some kids and their parents.

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Chicago, Illinois

The crime rate in Chicago is nowhere near as bad as many people might think, though it is quite high. The real issue with raising kids here is the fact that the cost of living is quite high. The closer you live to the city the easier your commute, the smaller your home and the more it costs to raise a child. The suburbs of this windy city might be a better option, but it still isn’t an amazing option as far as raising kids is concerned.

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New York City

Something that often surprises people when given the opportunity to see that New York City is not a good place to raise kids is the fact that it has nothing to do with safety. In fact, the city is a very safe place to raise kids. The graduation rate, however, is only at 40%, which is quite low. Additionally, the cost of living in the city is one of the highest in the country, which makes raising kids even more expensive than it already is.

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Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is a beautiful city, but there are several concerns as far as raising children is concerned. It’s not a particularly safe city in terms of national crime statistics, and the cost of living is higher than in most places. The educational aspect of being raised in Boston is a good one, and the job market is favorable for those who do enjoy gainful employment. However, the cost of living here is just too much for many people when considering starting a family.

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Dallas, Texas

If you want to take your kids outside to play, you better have a nice yard. There are fewer playgrounds in Dallas than just about any other city in the country, the crime rate is high and most people never bother with things like graduating high school or going to college. It’s actually one of the top five locations in the country in which you do not want to raise children because of a combination of all the negatives associated with the lifestyle.

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Santa Cruz, California

While California is a beautiful place to raise kids, it’s expensive. Santa Cruz is no exception to this rule, either. The cost of living here is astoundingly high, which means that you will have to pay a lot more to raise your kids here than you will in other areas of the state. But don’t feel bad, because the cost of living is also high in pretty much the rest of the state, too. The good news is that the crime rate here is nothing to worry about so if you have deep pockets, this might be the place you want to settle.

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Modesto, California

Modesto is a place that is just not conducive to raising children, and it’s because they’re just going to get the kind of lifestyle here that they deserve. For the most part, kids here are going to cost a lot more than other places across the country, and it’s because the cost of living in Modesto is significantly higher than it is elsewhere in the country. Additionally, there are some other issues that make it less than ideal to raise kids here, but this is the biggest issue.

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Los Angeles, California

It’s safe to say that kids here cost a lot of money. Not only does LA come with one of the highest costs of living in the country, the crime rate is also quit high. Graduation rates are very low and many of the kids who live here are in a completely different financial level. Many people worry that growing up here makes kids more competitive and makes them feel as if they have to provide a lifestyle they cannot afford as a way to ensure their kids fit in a bit more.

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Memphis, Tennessee

Less than half the kids who go to school in Memphis actually go on to graduate high school. What’s said about this is that it’s high school. It’s free, for one, it’s mandatory, for another, and it’s not like it’s even that difficult. Additionally, there is a very high crime rate here. The cost of living is relatively low, but the crime and the lack of proper education in the city make it one of the worst in the country in which to raise a child or children.

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Portland, Oregon

Portland is beautiful and so is Oregon. The crime rate here is not particularly worrisome, but it is cold. Of course, cold winters are no reason to choose not to raise your kids in any particular location, but it is a nice thing to know that your kids will have seasons. The issue with Portland is that it’s so expensive to raise kids here that many people simple cannot afford to do so. It’s a big commitment for the average family, and many have to make a lot of sacrifices.

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Hagerstown, Maryland

Maryland is a nice place to live, even though some of the bigger cities around here have a higher crime rate than others. The issue is that cost of living here is quite high. There is also some concern as far as the educational facilities available. They’re not the worst, but they’re also not the best. What this means for families is that you are spending too much money to raise kids in a place they might not be getting much out of, which is a deal breaker.

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Providence, Rhode Island

Providence is gorgeous, but it’s not the best place to raise kids. The cost of living is quite high, and that means that the cost to raise a child is quite high. In fact, Providence rates among the worst places to raise kids because of several factors, but one of the most prominent is the fact that it’s going to cost almost twice as much here to raise kids as it will anywhere else. And that’s throughout their entire life, and not just the years they’re in daycare or preschool, either.

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Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore has the second lowest high school graduation rate in the entire country, with only 38 percent of high school students actually completing their education. And then only a portion of those graduates actually go on to college. The concept of raising a child here is very dismal, and most of the issues lie in the fact that the crime rate in Baltimore is astounding. It is, all in all, not a good place to raise children if you want them to be safe and succeed in their education.

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Miami, Florida

Oh the crime rate in Miami; it’s high. It’s also a huge tourist destination, there are far too many people with too few clothes and there are just so many other reasons that people do not want to raise their kids here. The area is beautiful, but it’s so dangerous and the education rate is not all that impressive. The cost of living is high and many people who raise their kids here are just unimpressed with all there is to offer in the city, and they’re also unimpressed with the amount of easily available trouble in which their teens can get into.

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Riverside, California

If you want to pay for a house, you might have to give up kids. If you want to pay for daycare for your kids so that you can work, you might have to give up your house. It’s really just expensive to raise kids in Riverside, and the cost of things that are so affordable in other locations are beyond unaffordable here. It’s just the price for living in California that so many people pay, and it’s almost not worth it for the average family to even bother raising kids in this area because of it.

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Santa Rosa, California

Another California city that can be added to the list of places you don’t want to raise kids is Santa Rosa. It’s too expensive and the cost of things that you need to help bring up your kids is so high that most people cannot afford them. We could have made this list a little shorter by just saying that California in general is an expensive and over-priced place in which to raise kids to make it more understandable for our readers.

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Houston, Texas

When you hear that everything is bigger in Texas, it’s mostly true. For example, the dropout rate for high school students in Houston is bigger than just about any other area in the country, the crime rate is much bigger and the number of people who do not want to raise their kids in this city is bigger than you might expect. The only thing not bigger is the number of playgrounds and other child-friendly locations in which you can enjoy some quality time with the little people you love the most.

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San Francisco, California

The sad thing about San Francisco is that it is such a diverse and beautiful city. Your kids will learn so much here. Unfortunately, the schools are not the best and the cost of living is so high that many people can’t live here and raise kids at the same time. The job market here is quite impressive, which means commuting could be an option for some. However, many find it too expensive to raise kids in this beautiful city.

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Bremerton, Washington

As far as cost of living goes, Bremerton is not the best place in which to raise kids. You might not have heard of it if you’re not from around this area, and that’s all right. Many people haven’t, but it’s the kind of place in which you will pay more for diapers, child care, day care and school activities than you will in just about any other city in this great nation, which is what makes it one of the worst places in which you can raise a child.

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Detroit, Michigan

For once, we aren’t talking about cost of living, but rather the overall success rate of growing up somewhere. In Detroit, your child’s chances of graduating high school are very slim. Only about 21 percent of students in this city actually graduate from high school. Yes, high school; not college. That’s less than a quarter of the kids your children will grow up with living here; and it’s a depressing number. The crime rate is also very high in Detroit and job prospects are quite slim.

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Written by Tiffany Raiford