Albuquerque ranks near bottom in list of best, worst cities for families

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — If you’re preparing to move, you may want to follow Dorothy’s lead and click your heels three times.

That’s because her home state of Kansas features the best city for families, according to WalletHub.  Here are the rankings, based on data from the 150 most populated cities in the U.S:

  1. Overland Park, KS
  2. Plano, TX
  3. Virginia Beach, VA
  4. Lincoln, NE
  5. Sioux Falls, SD
  6. Madison, WI
  7. Fremont, CA
  8. Chesapeake, VA
  9. Colorado Springs, CO
  10. Grand Prairie, TX

The rankings are based on 30 areas, including the cost of housing, quality of schools and health care, and opportunities for fun and recreation.

The worst cities for families were predominantly in the South.  Jackson, MS took the title of worst city for families.  The bottom ten also included Birmingham, AL; Detroit, MI; Miami, FL; Baton Rouge, LA; Shreveport, LA; Fort Lauderdale, FL; New Orleans, LA and Washington, DC

Also landing in the bottom half were Norfolk, VA (No. 81); San Francisco, CA (No. 89); Portland, OR (No. 90); Honolulu, HI (No. 92); Albuquerque, NM (No. 102); Indianapolis, IN (No. 108); Grand Rapids, MI (No. 113); Springfield, MO (No. 118); Richmond, VA (No. 128) and Providence, RI (No. 135).

Many New Mexicans disagree with the city’s poor ranking.

“We really enjoy it here and we have a lot of family here”, said Albuquerque mother of four, Vanessa Baca.

“It’s still got a big city atmosphere with a small town attitude”, said Grandfather Ross Salas.

“I think it is a good place to raise kids, I’ve been here about eight years and my son is five and three quarters, was born here and we’re out here actually rollerblading and biking today here at Tingley Beach, which is absolutely wonderful”, said Father Robert Soneru.

The web site focused on five quality of life categories. Albuquerque’s worst scores were for education levels, health care and crime. But people KRQE News 13 spoke with say Albuquerque gets a bad rap.

“I’m more secure with my grandkids here now because when I was born and raised here it was really rough”, said Grandfather Ricky Garcia.

“I think it’s pretty safe, just like in any city you have to be aware of your surroundings”, said Soneru.

One bright spot? Albuquerque scored an impressive rank of 14 in the Family Activities and Fun category for its number of playgrounds, parks and attractions, like the zoo.

“I think that it’s great, if I had it all over to do again, I’d do it again”, said Salas.

As for some of Albuquerque’s similar-sized neighbors, Colorado Springs and Austin, Texas scored much better, both ranking in the top 25. While Tucson Arizona did much worse, landing at 130.

To see the entire set of rankings, visit WalletHub’s website.

(Media General contributed to this report)

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