Stamford Public Schools image of Stamford High School
Stamford was named the No. 10 best American city to raise a family in a new report released this week by Kiplinger.com. The report identified a total of 10 cities to identify as the nation’s best, including three California spots. Stamford was the only nod Connecticut received.
Here’s an explanation about the research methodology, pulled from the list:
We took a two-step approach to come up with our list of the best cities to raise kids. First, we looked for metropolitan areas with high household incomes relative to living costs, a large percentage of families with children under 18, and low crime rates. We weren’t seeking the cheapest places to live, but rather places where earnings potential is more than adequate to cover a family’s expenses.
Then, we honed in on a specific city within each of our top 10 metro areas that’s well-suited to raising kids based on educational factors (spending per student and the quality of local school districts) as well as fun factors (availability of public parks, playgrounds and libraries). We also looked at each city’s average income for families — as opposed to median income for all households — to give a realistic sense of how much it can cost a family to live in a place with so many kid-centric benefits.
The description sounds a little problematic for the City that Works. While it can be said that the “earning potential is more than adequate to cover a family’s expenses,” the wealth divide in the city of Stamford is incredibly high. According to an enrollment report released by the Stamford Public Schools earlier this academic year, 54 percent of the district’s students are labeled “economically disadvantaged,” according to federal standards.
That’s not the only issue with the methodology. The report notes that “the Stamford region contains more millionaires per capita than any other metropolitan area in the U.S. except Naples, Fla., and Los Alamos, N.M.” And choosing to measure average income for families, rather than median income places a heavier weight on the city’s top-earning families, painting an inaccurate picture of the number of families — kids included — who live in poverty here in Stamford. The report states that the average family income is $131,822, but according to the 2010 American Communities Survey, the median income is roughly half that at $66,617.
“Stamford isn’t cheap, but if you can afford to live in this preppy Connecticut stronghold, your family will enjoy some of the best living money can buy,” the report states. “Neighborhoods in North Stamford and nearby towns such as Darien boast big parks, wooded lots and plenty of young families. Crime is low, and schools are top-notch.”
Here’s the full Top 10:
1. Omaha, Nebraska
2. Richland, Washington
3. Suwanee, Georgia
4. Thousand Oaks, California
5. East Grand Rapids, Michigan
6. Appleton, Wisconsin
7. Sunnyvale, California
8. Middletown, N.Y.
9. Corona, California
10. Stamford, Connecticut