Column: America’s Most Beautiful City Named Worst for Raising a Family


Is San Diego one of the best places to raise a family, or not?

It depends on the study you are relying on and the criteria measured.

An analysis published this month would make readers think twice about raising a family in Southern California.

The weather may be fine, but the study by Real Estate Witch, a data analysis service of Clever Real Estate, came to far less sunny conclusions.

His analysis of statistics from the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States puts San Diego and two other Southern California cities at the bottom of the list when it comes to raising a family. (Hartford, Connecticut, Milwaukee, Wis. and Providence, RI, in that order, were in the lead).

Riverside and surrounding areas had the lowest score, followed by Los Angeles, then San Diego, taking 48th to 50th place.

But this analysis, unlike others, did not take into account San Diego’s sunshine, air quality and certain other factors.

A study on the same topic – “The best and worst places to raise a family in 2022” – published last month by WalletHub ranked San Diego sixth in the world in its comparison of 180 US cities.

Unlike the June 6 Real Estate Witch study, WalletHub’s ranking included a subcategory for “ideal weather,” which was assigned a quadruple weighting factor. It also assessed recreational friendliness, whereas the real estate study only took into account the parks and their accessibility to families.

The disparate findings from these studies show that the rankings need to be analyzed closely to consider the methodology and attributes most important to those who choose to use them as a guide.

“WalletHub’s study weights its five overall categories equally, but our choice to place more emphasis on factors such as the economy – and less on factors such as leisure – is probably more realistic and speaks louder. day-to-day concerns of the average family,” says Matt Brannon, who wrote the Real Estate Witch analysis.

“Our study puts more emphasis on affordability. San Diego not only has the third highest cost of living, but also the most expensive rent and the second most expensive real estate price of all the metros we looked at. These types of costs simply make moving to San Diego not an option for some families.

It’s no secret that San Diego’s high cost of living and lack of affordable housing are negatives in such analyses. San Diego came in at 80th place in terms of affordability in the WalletHub ranking.

On the Real Estate Witch list, San Diego fell to last place for relative cost of goods. The study noted that items the average household spends $100 on cost $113.40 in San Diego.

“We don’t dispute that San Diego is an expensive place to live for all residents, not just families,” said Nicole Darling, communications director for the City of San Diego. “Addressing housing affordability is one of the main goals of the city and of Mayor Gloria.

But Darling also points out that in other rankings, San Diego “finds itself at the top for obvious reasons (our beaches, our libraries, relatively low crime rates, attractions, food, bi-national relations, weather and even more)”.

For example, in U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-2023 analysis of 150 metropolitan areas, San Diego is ranked 12th among the best places to live for quality of life.

Clever Real Estate economist Danetha Doe says the company started publishing such studies about four years ago and produces two to three a month, often related to house prices and inflation.

“Our study concluded that there are no bad cities to raise a child in America. That said, San Diego has sunk down our rankings,” concludes Alyssa Evans, spokesperson for the Witch study. .

Among its most striking findings, San Diego has a home price-to-income ratio of 13 compared to Pittsburgh, which has the lowest average price-to-income ratio of 3.2. The average for all the metropolitan areas studied is 6.4.

San Diego earned failing grades for below-average literacy rates and lower high school graduation rates than many metropolitan areas. (However, graduation rates and reading and math test scores were based on statewide results rather than local results.)

Raising a newborn in San Diego consumes about 20.6% of median household income, unlike Birmingham, Alabama, which led the pack with spending just 10.1% of median household income.

The high cost of raising a family here was underscored by a study released last summer by a group of 29 United Way organizations in California. He concluded that a family of four in San Diego County needs an annual income of $93,032 to meet their basic needs. By his measure, nearly one in three families in the state struggle to make ends meet.

Peter Manzo, president and CEO of United Ways of California, explained that the organization’s study found that many more working California families struggle with the cost of living than the indicate official government estimates.

The poverty level set by the federal government is well below what it needs to be in California to provide an accurate picture.

Can families still enjoy a comfortable life in San Diego? “Of course,” Brannon says, “but it takes more money to do it.”

This prediction is not surprising.


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