San José, the best city in the US to start a family – Telemundo Bay Area 48

San José, the best city in the US to start a family – Telemundo Bay Area 48
San José, the best city in the US to start a family – Telemundo Bay Area 48

San José is one of the best cities in the country to raise a family, but a lack of affordability is also driving some people out of the region.

WalletHub ranked San Jose seventh best place to raise a family among 182 U.S. cities surveyed. Four other California cities made the top 10, with Fremont at No. 1, Irvine at No. 3, San Diego at No. 8 and Huntington Beach at No. 10.

The personal finance company analyzed dozens of factors in five key areas (family fun, health and safety, education and child care, affordability and socioeconomics) to determine its ranking. San José received a total score of 63.88 out of 100 points when all factors were added.

San Jose ranked 10th in education and child care, which evaluated aspects such as quality of education, high school graduation rate and child care per capita. The city also ranked 17th in health and safety and 15th in socioeconomics, which looked at factors such as the percentage of two-parent families, the unemployment rate and the proportion of families living in poverty.

Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Susan Ellenberg, who raised her three children in San Jose, said the city has great libraries, parks and neighborhoods where children can walk to school and make friends.

“I was very happy to see that (ranking),” Ellenberg, whose district includes western San Jose, told San Jose Spotlight. “When I think about the work I’m doing through the board of supervisors, my ideal vision is always that Santa Clara County will be the best county in the state to raise children.”

But when it comes to affordability, San Jose fell to 56th in the rankings.

Jennifer Cloyd, executive director of First 5, a child development nonprofit, said San Jose’s lack of affordable child care and cost of living still make it difficult for families to stay local.

“We’re actually experiencing a bit of a familiar flight,” Cloyd told San Jose Spotlight. “But the good thing about San Jose is that there are a lot of families that are fourth- and fifth-generation San Jose natives. I think families really value being able to stay in their communities.”

San Jose’s population has dropped 4% to 971,000 residents in 2022, down from just over 1 million residents in 2020, according to the latest data from the US Census Bureau. Several issues have caused this flight out of the city, including a lack of affordable housing, the ability to work remotely post-pandemic, and the overall high cost of living in the region.

San Jose’s lack of affordability is what led Debra Townley and her son to be homeless for five years after a divorce.

“It’s always been expensive to live here,” Townley told San Jose Spotlight. “I was able to afford it when she was married to an engineer who worked in an elite position. Without that, it’s a struggle.”

People need to earn about $60 an hour to pay the asking rent of $3,000 a month in San Jose. The city’s minimum wage for most workers is $17.55 an hour.

According to a report released by the housing think tank California Housing Partnership, three-quarters of extremely low-income families are already spending more than half of their monthly wages on housing, and 54,600 low-income households cannot find affordable housing . “What we have here is a huge wealth gap,” Ellenberg said, “and I think we need to do a much better job equitably distributing resources.”

This article was originally published in English by the San Jose Spotlight.

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