Top Five Cities to Give Your Kids an Edge

The Opportunity Atlas eastern half of the US with counties outlined in white on turquoise background

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Does Your City Make the List?The Opportunity Atlas eastern half of the US with counties outlined in white on turquoise background

  • What: Top Five Cities for Kids
  • When: Pregnancy to college
  • Why: See which parts of the country offer the best chances
  • Where: The Opportunity Atlas

If you’re as exhausted as I am from the onslaught of parenting decisions, read The One Parenting Decision That Really Matters. While it won’t help you decide if breast is best, or which school to send your child to, it can alleviate some of the stress associated with the myriad decisions involved in parenting today.

The article goes into a lot more detail about how researchers gathered and processed their data, and what makes the study unique. But for parents, the takeaway remains simple: some places are better than others for raising successful kids. Here’s a list of the top five cities that can increase a child’s future income by about 12 percent:

  • Seattle
  • Minneapolis
  • Salt Lake City
  • Reading, PA
  • Madison, WI
The Opportunity Atlas website cover page inter
Search the United States to see which parts of the country offer kids the best chances.

See all the results at The Opportunity Atlas and find out how your zip code ranks. Thanks to a huge data set with more than 20 million Americans, scientists have followed children into adulthood and done some fancy math to calculate all sorts of results. Broken down geographically, the interactive map lets users select an area, filter by outcome, and choose a demographic, such as parent income, race, and even gender.

The main indicator used by the study, average income at age 35, helps compare place to place. But viewers can see much more than that, thanks to this interactive map. Want to know the percentage of kids in the area that graduated high school? No problem. Click on that statistic in the drop down menu. You can also find the percent of college graduates, the number of married residents, the number remaining in or near that location as adults, and much, much more.

I could poke at this map indefinitely, comparing where I grew up to where I’m raising my kids. Toss in where my partner and I attended school and where a variety of relatives live, and I could be up all night and still not lose interest.

If you’re tired of sweating the small stuff, decide how much you love where you live and let the little things go. You can send a nice thank you note to the researchers at The Opportunity Atlas before falling asleep easier at night.

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