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Fortune 25 Best Places to Live for Families 2022 Methodology

To select the top 25 Best Places to Live for Families, Fortune evaluated nearly 2,000 cities, towns, suburbs, exurbs, villages, and townships that had between 25,000 and 750,000 residents across all 50 states in the U.S. This range provided a broad universe of places that offered high-quality amenities in communities with a hometown feel. 

To analyze each place, Fortune collected more than 215,000 unique data points across five broad categories: 

  • Education
  • Aging resources
  • General wellness
  • Financial health
  • Livability

This ranking focused on families, particularly the subset of Americans who are shouldering the responsibilities of raising their own children while caring for aging parents. With their needs in mind, Fortune put extra emphasis on factors that met the unique challenges of this cohort—such as the quality of local school districts, graduation rates, nearby college affordability, the number of quality nursing homes, assisted living communities, home health care agencies, risk of social isolation among older residents, and access to solid health care providers. 

To ensure the winning places were cities and towns where residents could afford to buy homes  without breaking the bank, Fortune eliminated locales with home sale prices that were more than twice as high as the state median and/or more than 2.75 times higher than the national median. 

Additionally, Fortune wanted to highlight places that offered diverse neighborhoods. To that end, the editors cut any town where more than 90% of the population is white, non-Hispanic. From there, Fortune compared the racial breakdown of a place against state benchmarks, eliminating any place that was less diverse than either state or national medians. 

To provide a broad range of options, the editors determined there could be no more than two places per state among the top 25 places and no more than one winner per county or major metro area within a state.

Where our data comes from

To build this ranking, Fortune worked with several critical data partners—including Caring.com, CVS Health, Healthgrades, Sharecare, and Witlytic—that helped provide information over 160 separate data categories on each place used in our comprehensive evaluation process. 

Fortune also sourced data from America's Health Rankings, ATTOM Data Solutions, the Council for Community and Economic Research, the School Finance Indicators Database, Everytown Gun Law Rankings, Homeland Infrastructure Foundation, Integrated Postsecondary Education System, Johns Hopkins University Data Archive, Kaiser Family Foundation, Realtor.com, SchoolDigger, and STI: Popstats.

In addition to private-sector data, Fortune relied on information from federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Center for Education Statistics, the National Center for Health Statistics, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the U.S. Department of Education.