American Dream

Would Moving to a Bigger City Be Better for Your Family?

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The American dream often feels synonymous with raising your children in a suburban home (with or without the white picket fence). Living outside a city certainly has its perks, such as more outdoor space, larger homes, and less overall congestion. However, there are many benefits to moving your family to a bigger city rather than to the ‘burbs. Let’s take a look at some of them:

It’s Easier to Get Where You Want to Go

Do you and your family enjoy travel, or does someone in your family take a lot of business trips? Trekking from suburbia to the city’s airport can be annoying, especially if you do it often. But when you live in a big city, you most likely have an airport at your disposal, not to mention a public transportation system to get you there. That way, you don’t have to bum a ride, or worse, take a taxi or park your car at egregious rates.

In fact, bigger cities’ public transportation offerings can give you the opportunity to completely leave car ownership behind. Plus, shops, restaurants, and other venues tend to be within walking distance—good news for your wallet and your waistline!

You’ll Have More Time to Spend With Family

Living and working in a big city often means living closer to your place of work. Conversely, if you live in a big city but work outside it, you won’t face nearly as much traffic as inbound commuters do. Not having to deal with those crazy commutes of one, two, and sometimes even three hours means you’ll get more family time in the evenings.

There Are More Job Options

When you live and work outside a city, you may end up putting all your career eggs in the proverbial basket. Should you get laid off or decide to seek other employment options, there aren’t as many open positions. But if you decide to switch jobs while living in a bigger city, there are more options—and they’re far less likely to require you to move.

Check Out Family-Friendly Big Cities Within Income-Tax-Free States

Have I whetted your appetite for the good life in a bigger city? Let’s look at three family-friendly cities in income-tax-free states, where you’ll get to keep more of your paycheck.

  • Austin, Texas: This city’s average annual family budget was just 64 percent of the median family income ($66,064) in 2007, according to Forbes. On top of that, “Wealth of States” notes that Texas employs 345 educators for every 10,000 of population, which is well above the national average of 286 educators (p. 198). Move to Austin provides a great rundown of the city’s different neighborhoods.
  • Orlando, Florida: Forbes notes that Orlando’s average annual family budget was just 87 percent of the median family income ($53,037) in 2007. Aside from hosting the most famous family theme park in the U.S. (and possibly the world), Florida has a top-notch education system, ranked fifth in the nation by Education Week’s 2011 Annual Quality Counts report.
  • San Antonio, Texas: According to Forbes, San Antonio’s average annual family budget falls at 88 percent of the median family income ($50,299). Based on factors such as commute time, parking space, and home ownership, San Antonio made Movoto’s list of the top 10 best cities to raise a family.

What are you waiting for? It’s time to explore your options to see if there’s a bigger city that’ll suit your and your family’s needs.

Amanda L. Grossman is the creator and owner of FrugalConfessions.com -- live a VIP life on an average paycheck -- where she shows hard-working people how to end anemic savings account syndrome and pay off debt years earlier than your creditors want you to without getting a second job or eating ramen noodle dinners. Amanda's area of expertise is in personal finance, and she has authored several personal finance articles for the Houston Chronicle, is a featured blogger at the Houston Chronicle, and has staff written for ReadyforZero.com Blog and RelayRides.com Blog (several of which have been syndicated to LifeHacker, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance). She has a knack for taking seemingly complex, and irrelevant financial topics and making them accessible and meaningful to the average person. She, her husband, and their two cats (Lyla Bear and Danny Boy) live in a fixer-upper in Houston TX.