Washington tops list of best U.S. cities for families

Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:21pm EDT
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By James B. Kelleher

CHICAGO (Reuters Life!) - Washington D.C. took the No. 1 spot in Parenting Magazine's latest list of the Top U.S. Cities for Families, the publication said Wednesday.

The U.S. capital replaced nearby Arlington, Virginia, which tumbled to No. 70 as a result of changes in the way cities were judged this year.

Austin, Texas, took the No. 2 spot and Boston claimed No. 3 on the magazine's list, which considers a variety of factors -- including school quality, housing availability, employment rates, and the number of registered sex offenders -- when ranking municipalities.

St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota; Des Moines, Iowa; Madison, Wisconsin; Honolulu, Hawaii; Omaha, Nebraska; Seattle, Washington; and Louisville, Kentucky, rounded out the Top 10 list, which also weighs health- and child- care availability, commuting times and air quality.

A number of cities that ranked high last year slipped this year because the magazine added a "charm and culture index" to its considerations, which editors said in a statement "skewed the rankings higher for cities with more museums, kid-friendly restaurants, performing arts venues."

The biggest loser as a result of the change was Scottsdale, Arizona, which went from No. 8 last year to No. 91 this year.

The city ranking last on the list was Anaheim, Calif., home -- ironically -- to the iconic Disneyland family theme park.

Five other California cities -- Riverside, Bakersfield, Long Beach, Fresno and Los Angeles -- joined Anaheim in the bottom 10 of the list, along with Las Vegas, Nevada; Mesa, Arizona; Arlington, Texas; and Scottsdale.   Continued...

<p>Downtown Washington is seen in an aerial view, May 19, 2011. REUTERS/Jim Bourg</p>