Should you raise your kids in a city?

There's some bad news for parents and parents-to-be in San Francisco: according to statistics, the city has the lowest percentage of kids of any major U.S. city and the numbers only seem to be dropping.

It seems that the high costs of housing and living in general seem to be a major problem for growing families, so a lot of them are fleeing to the suburbs in East Bay and along the Peninsula.

But that's not the only issue with living in this West Coast city: the city's public school system has been racked by budget cuts, teacher layoffs and has been criticized by some area parents for "the recent institution of a system that gives preference to students to go to schools close to their homes instead of dividing students more evenly throughout the city," according to the Huffington Post.

Despite all of the problems that can come with raising children in a city, there are some benefits too. Where would you raise your kids?


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One major reason to stay living in a city while raising your kids is that they will be more likely to walk or bike to school, according to a study published last year. Kids that live in urban areas are 3.7 times more likely than rural kids to walk or bike to school instead of commuting by car, bus or public transportation. Why is this so good? Well, making commute safe and accessible for kids may help them get more exercise and it provides an affordable and easy way to improve their health.

Another reason to prefer city living is that there can be a lot of great museums, amusement parts and other cultural institutions to explore with your family. Some of America's most kid-friendly cities include zoos, fun ways to explore American history and plenty of sports teams to watch. As a kid who grew up in southwest Florida in a suburban area, I can tell you that I was constantly bored and wish that there were places my family and I could have explored that were beyond the local bowling alley and mini-golf course.

Plus, there is a lot more diversity in cities than in suburbs and rural areas. I want my kids to grow up to be well rounded, learning about all of the different cultures in the world. What better place to do that than in schools that are rich in a diverse student population?

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Despite some of the benefits, there are of course the obvious drawbacks. Just like in San Francisco, the cost of living is much higher in cities, the school systems can be harder to manage and there are the obvious issues over whether a neighborhood is safe or not.

Still, for me the benefits far outweigh the risks at this time. It might be because I don't actually currently have kids or it might be because of how much I truly hated my suburban existence, but for now I am determined to raise my kids in the city.

Do you raise your kids in a city, suburbs or in a rural area? What do you love about your environment and what would you change, if you could?

Image via aslanix/flickr