Best Cities in Florida for Young Families

June 11, 2013 4 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

NerdWallet, a consumer advocacy and financial literacy website, has released a new study that finds the 10 best cities in Florida to raise children. Their analysis identified Jacksonville Beach as the 7th best community in the state for young families. Here's a summary of NerdWallet's findings.

Best Cities for Young Families

1. Valrico

Growth in Valrico is absolutely absurd: median income has doubled in just a decade, whereas most fast-rising cities can muster 30 percent – at most! Population, has, naturally, followed suit, with new residents chasing good jobs and great pay.

2. Pace

Pace Initially struggled to transform from a small, rural community to a bustling suburb of Tampa, but growth has picked up. Despite an exploding economy, it still has the prices of a small, obscure town. Of these top 10 cities, Pace had the cheapest homes, both in price and ongoing costs. Fortunately, at the same time, income is relatively high, making this a great place to live for folks trying to shrug off debt: one opportunity to pay less on homeownership and another to pay off those loans. It’s no surprise this community has grown 5 times over in the last couple decades.

3. Winter Garden

Like many other suburbs of Orlando, the economy has boomed as Central Florida has rocked the tourism industry. It’s also renowned for its environmental consciousness: Winter Garden is the first green-certified community in Central Florida, which means you can find environmentally-friendly homes around town.

4. Aventura

Schools and the local economy have thrived in Aventura. The Aventura City of Excellence School – a K-8 charter school – caps enrollment at 100 students per grade, ensuring your child will get the attention he or she deserves. For adults running a small business, there’s ample opportunity to grow, too. The Aventura Marketing Council recently celebrated the expanding economy — thanks in part to the tourism industry centered in Miami: demand for hotel rooms is going up, which means that the profits for local businesses are, too.

5. Merritt Island

This is why the name Merritt Island may ring some bells: it’s home to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where Apollo 11 launched 40 years ago to put our first man on the moon. The Island also supports a vibrant community, with its own airport and wildlife refuge. Much of the population may be middle-aged – about 20 percent receive retirement income — but it’s a great space for young families, too. Schools here are fantastic; they’re rated 9 out of 10 by the GreatSchools organization.

6. Oviedo

Oviedo’s economy has expanded quite a bit in the last 15 years, by 30.60 percent, and it looks to continue, too. Among ongoing projects are the expansion of its downtown shopping district, by 50 acres, and a park, that will include new homes, retail and more.

7. Jacksonville Beach

Parents in Jacksonville Beach are heavily involved in their children’s education. At Jax Beach Elementary, the parents show in high numbers to events like Literacy Night, and they have an open line of communication with the teachers – these teachers even write newsletters every week to update parents on their kid’s academic progress.

8. Palm Harbor

By day, many of the adults of Palm Beach work in the retail, service and financial services industries. At night, the whole community often comes together. Every First Friday, you’ll find a festival in downtown Palm Harbor, with games for the kids and crafts for the adults. In short: this large town, of over 50,000 people, manages to give its residents a small-town feel.

9. Sunny Isles Beach

Sunny Isles Beach is surrounded by water, on both sides, and its local economy is anchored by a thriving resort and hotel industry. No surprise, then: Of the 10 cities that made this list, this one has the most high-end homes, with a median value of $322,000. Sunny Isles may be surrounded more by water than it is land, but it’s still well integrated with the Miami Coummunity. It’s the Miami-Dade school district that services Sunny Isles’ children.

10. Winter Springs

If you’re outdoors-y, Winter Springs might be the place for you. The Arbor Foundation named it a “Tree City USA” for its trails, forests and lakes. The schools are also superb. The county school system sends 80 percent of its grads onto higher education – and this is a district that services over 20,000 high schoolers.

Source and link to NerdWallet's methodology: