I never realized how good we have it here
"Big, bustling cities are magnets for adventure-seekers and ambitious young people. But the grit and flashiness that attract singles to New York, Los Angeles and Miami aren't necessarily what parents look for in a place to settle down. Young people looking to start a family might do well to look past the bright lights of the big city.
Instead, maybe consider a place like Dubuque, Iowa, Manitowoc, Wis., or Marquette, Mich. These places boast solid average incomes, good educational prospects, low costs, short commute times and high rates of home ownership--all reasons why they rank as the top three small cities in America to raise a family.
So what is so special about these places? Our top-ranked city, Dubuque, Iowa, is much smaller than a place like New York, with a population of 92,139, but still one of the larger cities on our list (we only ranked cities with a population under 100,000). Dubuque's size puts it in a kind of sweet spot: large enough to be a center of industry, small enough to not be overcrowded. An economy that successfully diversified after the collapse of the local manufacturing industry contributes to an unemployment rate that's nearly half the national average, at 6.5%, and a median household income of $48,779. That means most families have the jobs they need. They also don't have to spend a lot of time getting there: Only 2.6% of the population spends an hour or more getting to work."