When it comes to raising a family, where you live matters. Factors such as crime, public amenities, job availability, income, and school systems — to name a few — can make a big difference.

Taking these factors into account, some American cities are far better for families than others. The best cities for families span the United States — from California to the Northeast and from the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic.

7. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT
> 5-yr. change in number of families: -1.2%
> Violent crimes per 100,000 people: 252.8
> Share of 3-4 yr. olds in preschool: 64.8%
> Graduation rate: 87.1%

The Hartford metro area is one of the best metro areas in the United States for families and the second best in Connecticut. As is the case in the other two metro areas considered in the state, more than 60% of 3 and 4-year olds in the broader Hartford metro area are enrolled in a preschool program.

Jobs in the metro area also tend to be high paying. The typical family earns nearly $92,000 a year, well above the $68,260 median family income nationwide.

24/7 Wall St. created an index with a range of social, educational, economic, and health care measures to determine the best cities for families. Metropolitan areas with violent and property crime rates that exceeded national rates were automatically excluded.

Cities that are best for families have to meet the needs of both children and parents. Measures of income, employment, affordability, and commute time are important considerations for adults in any family.

And for children, graduation and preschool enrollment rates can be indicative of the quality of a given area’s school system. In addition, child poverty and child health insurance rates reflect children’s welfare in an area.

While some factors largely depend on the individual family, other measures are the responsibility of the city. For many families, access to public parks and recreation areas such as tennis courts and swimming pools is important. However, access to such amenities depends entirely on the city.

Click here to see the best cities for families.
Click here to see our methodology.