Deciding where we want to raise our kids has become the biggest dilemma on my mind lately. Right now, we live in Utah and while it has many pros, for various reasons, this is not where I want to raise my family. Problem is…my husband and I can’t seem to decide where we want to call home. Where is the best place, overall, to raise our kids?
In case you’re in a similar boat, wanting to move but not knowing where, here are my top 5 things to take into consideration as you search for that perfect place to call home:
1: Cost of living. In my opinion, this is the most important thing to consider when looking to permanently relocate. Obviously, everyone would rather move somewhere with a cheaper cost of living but that’s not always doable. If you’re moving somewhere more expensive (in housing, food, taxes, etc.), other considerations will become more important. Like how valuable are the next 4 things on this list and will the benefit of those outweigh a higher financial stress? Our favorite website to use when comparing our current town to the one we are investigating is Bestplaces.net. That site lets you compare everything from housing costs to crime rates, education to climate, and more.
2: Desires vs necessities. It’s important to figure out what are your “wants” for a perfect home/location, and what you’d actually be happy living with. Sure, I want redwood trees surrounding my home but I don’t need that to be happy for the next (hopefully) 20 years I’m living there. Making a list of your desires and necessities for where you want to live, and then comparing it with your spouse’s, will help you narrow down which parts of the country you’d never move to. From there, you can begin to figure out where you do want to raise your kids.
3: Proximity to extended family. This is big for me because not only do I want family close by to enjoy and lean on when needed, but also I want my kids to actually know their cousins (something I never experienced when growing up). As we have been searching our options for relocating, we’ve tried to stick with places within 4 hours driving distance to at least one member of our extended families. That has narrowed our search for potential places considerably.
4: Community/ Rural vs. Suburban vs. Urban. Do you want city life or the quiet life? This is important when thinking about settling down somewhere, especially when raising kids. And I’m not just talking crime rate here, though looking into that is always important. For my husband and I, we’re looking for a town that feels smaller but within driving distance of a place more urban so our kids won’t feel bored when they hit their teenager years. So suburban is more our tune. Now that we’ve figured that out, we will look for towns with a high sense of community ties. Basically, we want to get a nice, family-friendly feeling from the place we decide to raise our kids.
5: Forces of nature. What I mean here are things like tornadoes and hurricanes, climate (Enjoy rain? Washington. Want heat? Nevada or Arizona. Hate humidity? Avoid Missouri.), bug/animal life, etc. Basically, things you can’t control but may have a huge impact on your quality of life. Tornados scare me too much and I’d hate to live with the aftermath of a devastating one, so someplace like Oklahoma is not on our list. If forces of nature or certain wildlife concern you enough to affect your day-to-day life, using this as a beginning guideline to help narrow your search is wise.
We want the best for our kids and that includes letting them grow up somewhere they, and you, will be proud to call home. There are plenty of things to consider when making a life-changing move and obviously there’s no one perfect place, so it can get overwhelming. My suggestion is to start with these five things and work your way smaller. Once you decide on these, and eliminate major parts of the country because of it, you can get into more nit-picky things (like not wanting to live in a cul-de-sac type neighborhood or anywhere they overuse the word “y’all”).
Do you live in a place you love? Tell us where and why you decided to move there in the comments below! Help us narrow our search for the “perfect” place to raise our kids!