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The best U.S. city for families is in the KC area, according to these rankings

Kristen Hilgers (left), Grace Johnson, Every Hilgers, Betsy Harlan, Pat Griggs, Claire Solis and Lydia Solis worked around the crafts table during a “build your own gnome house” children’s class in the Enchanted Forest at the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.
Kristen Hilgers (left), Grace Johnson, Every Hilgers, Betsy Harlan, Pat Griggs, Claire Solis and Lydia Solis worked around the crafts table during a “build your own gnome house” children’s class in the Enchanted Forest at the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Special to The Star

Overland Park is the best city in the country for families, according to the personal finance website WalletHub.

The city ranked No. 1 in a comparison of the 150 most-populated cities.

The analysis looked at 41 categories, including housing affordability and quality of schools.

The study also scored cities for family fun such as playgrounds per capita, parkland acreage and “recreation friendliness.”

“We’re very excited about the No. 1 ranking,” said Tracey Osborne, president of the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce. “Anytime these national score lists come out, Overland Park tends to rank fairly well, and that brings some notoriety to this area and helps attract and retain work force, which is something that’s wonderful.”

The chamber, the city and Visit Overland Park are about to embark on a “visioning” process for the city’s future.

“We’ll be looking at why do we want to live here now but also why will people want to live here in 30 years,” Osborne said.

Rounding out the top 10 best cities for families were Madison, Wis.; Plano, Texas; Seattle; Fremont, Ca.; Minneapolis; Virginia Beach, Va.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Irvine, Ca.; and Lincoln, Neb.

The study calculated that the worst city for families was Birmingham, Ala. Other cities in the bottom 10 were Detroit; San Bernadino, Ca.; Shreveport, Al.; Hialeah, Fla.; Miami; Jackson, Miss.; Augusta, Ga.; Newark; and Memphis.

Kansas City ranked 75th best city for families. Wichita ranked 78th and St. Louis ranked 128th.

The website’s analysis revealed a few interesting facts:

▪ Overland Park has the lowest share of families living below the poverty line, at 3.4 percent. Detroit has the most, at 35.5 percent.

▪ New York has the most playgrounds per square root of the population. Hialeah has the fewest.

▪ Irvine has the fewest violent crimes per 1,000 residents at .56. St. Louis has 18.17.

▪ Fremont has the lowest divorce rate. Cleveland has the highest.

Matt Campbell: 816-234-4902, @MattCampbellKC

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