Why is Grand Rapids the best place in the country to raise a family?

Back in April, Grand Rapids received quite the honor from Forbes Magazine as they declared the city is the best place in the country to raise a family.  Factors cited as why Grand Rapids takes the top rank are low cost of living, great education system and affordable housing.  “The metro area population of 774,000 carries a median household of $47,040,” which allows approximately 90% of the housing options in Grand Rapids to maintain affordability at the median income level.

While Grand Rapids felt the housing mess like the rest of the nation, the negative affects were still quite modest. As Mayor Heartwell puts it best, “the housing bubble never burst because there was never any real bubble…even our most depressed neighborhoods are not blighted.”  This ingenuity to preserve the community and its residents despite national crisis comes from several neighborhood associations that use grant money while partnering with the city to keep all aspects in good standing.


Additional factors playing into the Forbes decision? A school system in the top third in the country, an easy commute from anywhere in the city, and a much lower crime rate than the national average.

Once the standards of living are proven to be some of the best options in the country for a family, Grand Rapids aims higher and provides a plethora of enrichment opportunities and community engagement.  One will find an urban downtown chock full of museums, food, and art, surrounding suburbs full of over 15 miles of trails (Kent Trails), parks, and a zoo, a coastline atmosphere only 25 minutes away in Grand Haven, and a ski and boarding area in Cannonsburg for those winter sport enthusiasts.

The small-city feel of Grand Rapids is hard to beat.  It provides a city that gives you a solid job, a relatively stable housing value, and lets you get home to the kids in time to enjoy the additional perks.  The factors come down to personal preferences; however, those priorities that arise once marriage and children become the importance are achieved in Grand Rapids.  The best summation of the city can be stated as a love for the big-city living with the small-town community feel.

What other factors make Grand Rapids worthy of this title?

Photo credit: SashaW



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