For those of us already lucky enough to live in these communities, this news isn’t a revelation: if you have a young family, California is still the place to be, and several Northern California cities rank in the top ten for best cities to raise a family in the state, including some of Sacramento’s closest neighbors.
In a comprehensive ranking by the website NerdWallet.com, Davis, Roseville, and Folsom ranked as some of the best cities for young families in California, as did nearby Walnut Creek and Yuba City. Clovis, California actually ranked #1, and from there it was largely a mix of suburbs of Los Angeles and San Diego.
The rankings were based on three main criteria:
1) Quality of public education
NerdWallet rated the city’s public schools using academic performance rankings from GreatSchools, a nonprofit that that compares a school’s standardized test scores with the state average. According to their system, schools are rated from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible public school system.
Of course a lot of young families would love to live in San Francisco, Beverly Hills or Santa Barbara, but the cost is too prohibitive for most. So they factored in median home values in each city along with average mortgage payments, ongoing monthly home costs, utilities, fuel, insurance, real estate taxes, and other typical costs. In this ranking, the more affordable a city was for a young family, the higher it’s number.
3) Growth and prosperity
The third part of NerdWallet’s equation was based on the economic climate – including the average household income and income growth over the last ten years. Cities that earned a ten offered the best chance of people to land good paying jobs, prosper financially, and provide for their family.
Here are the cities in Northern California near Sacramento that ranked in the top ten:
#2 Folsom, California
For those of us who have spent time in Folsom, it’s no surprise it ranks so high on this list of best cities. Only 20 miles east of Sacramento, Folsom offers just about everything you’d look for in a home for your family – fantastic schools, a vibrant economy bolstered by tech firms like Intel, Verizon and Jadoo Power and a median household income near $100,000.
Folsom is a dream come true for nature enthusiasts and outdoor sportsman alike, with endless miles of hiking trails, cycling and running paths that extend all the way to Sacramento and beyond, Lake Folsom for swimming, boating, and waterskiing, and an hour drive up the hill to Lake Tahoe. On the weekend, historic Old Folsom is jumping with music, street fairs, and a great arts and restaurant scene. While it’s not cheap, Folsom is also considered reasonably affordable for a young family, with real estate that holds its value well and always is in demand. With all the great things going for Folsom, the only thing we wonder is why it’s not #1!?
#8 Roseville, California
The next Sacramento neighbor on the list, Roseville offers a little bit of everything for young families. Good-paying jobs aren’t far away, with the economy invigorated by local employers Hewlett-Packard and Kaiser Permanente. Roseville consistently boasts some of the best public schools in the state. It’s also one of the safest communities in California, and residents enjoy the mature trees, well-planned parks (41,000 acres!), recreation facilities (31 miles of trails!), a revitalized downtown, and just a touch of Gold Rush history. Roseville is no stranger to laudatory lists, as CNN ranked in as one of America’s Top 100 Small Cities to live in.
#9 Davis, California
While Roseville and Folsom sit east of the capitol city of California, #9 on NerdWallet’s list, Davis, lies directly west. The sleepy academic community of Davis is home to the prestigious University of California at Davis, bringing in arts, culture, and a Berkeley-esque flavor to the small traditionally agricultural city of less than 70,000 people. Davis is only 15 minutes across the causeway from downtown Sacramento and within commuting distance of San Francisco. The public schools are fantastic, it has one of the lowest crime rates in California, and Davis has a healthy job market. It’s also one of the greenest cities in the country, and always named one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the U.S.
Davis would rank higher on the list if it weren’t for its high real estate prices, with a median home value of $560,500 – a stretch to afford for many of its residents. But values also don’t ever seem to go down in Davis, where families enjoy a haven of white-picket fence, small-town, green living among modern culture and academia.
We live, work, and play in these communities, so we’d love to help your family relocate there, too. Please contact us for more information or to see what homes are available at what prices anywhere in Sacramento, Placer, and El Dorado counties!