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  • Wednesday, February 25, 2015
    Best Cities for Young Families in California
    California offers a wealth of opportunity for young families, from good jobs with high salaries to tons of recreation and great schools. Homes values here have remained high despite the housing bubble and the unemployment rate continues to drop. So where can young families get the best education for the their kids and the most bang for their buck? NerdWallet crunched the numbers to find the best cities for young families in California.

    Does the city have good public schools? We measured schools’ academic performance with ratings from GreatSchools. This non-profit compares a given school’s standardized test scores to the state average to obtain a rating on a 1 to 10 scale (10 representing the highest score). Higher ratings led to a higher overall score.

    Can you afford to live there? We looked at both median home values in each city and ongoing monthly home costs, including mortgage payments, real estate taxes, insurance costs, utilities, fuel and other bills. Lower costs led to a higher overall score.

    Is the city growing and prospering? We assessed a city’s economy by looking at average household income and income growth over the last decade. Higher income and greater growth led to a higher overall score.

    What makes these cities great? Let us know in the comments below.

    The Best Cities for Young Families

    1. Clovis

    This city in California’s San Joaquin Valley offers affordable homes, good schools and great quality of life. Clovis bills itself as the “gateway to the Sierras” and offers 285 acres of parks and trails, plus family-friendly activities including Friday night farmer’s markets in the summer, BIG Hat Days in April which brings about 140,000 people to downtown Clovis for art, food and music, and the annual Clovis Rodeo. Families can also take a short trip to the Chafee Zoo in nearby Fresno to visit with animals such as elephants and sea lions. The graduation rate  for Clovis-area high schools was 92.6 percent for the class of 2011-2012, the most recent year data is available from the California Department of Education Data Reporting Office. That’s much higher than the statewide graduation rate of 78.5 percent. Salaries here are also on the upswing: the median household income grew by 54.4 percent between 1999 and 2011, according to data crunched by NerdWallet.

    Here’s what people are saying about life in Clovis:

    “(Clovis has) a distinctive culture that embraces its past, celebrates the present and plans for the future – all at the same time. It focuses on, and is committed to the Clovis community family, their needs, their values and a quality way of life for all.” -Lynne Ashbeck, mayor of Clovis

    “Clovis is a very family oriented community with safe, clean neighborhoods and activities to keep families active…whether they are strolling through Old Town’s Farmer’s Market, cheering for their favorite high school team or riding bicycles on the Old Town Trail…”- Tina Summer, communications director for Clovis

    BY MAGGIE CLARK, NERD WALLET  JANUARY 27, 2014