[Source: Arizona Republic] — It’s better to raise children in Sin City instead of Phoenix? The writers at Children’s Health Magazine think so. Phoenix ranked 93rd in the magazine’s list of the “100 best (and worst) places” in the U.S. to raise a family. Las Vegas was No. 92, one slot above Phoenix. The debut issue of Children’s Health hit newsstands on Sept. 15.
Editors analyzed 30 factors important to parents, including public safety, education, economics, housing, cultural attractions, and health. They used the most recent statistics available from resources such as the Centers for Disease Control, FBI, and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, said Joel Weber, who co-authored the article with Jaclyn Colletti.
Several factors hurt Phoenix’s ranking: Phoenix has low high school graduation rates, relatively high crime, poor air quality, and high unemployment due to the recession, Weber said. Public safety and education statistics heavily influenced the rankings because they are top concerns for parents. Phoenix, like every city, has “good pockets” – some high achieving schools or good city programs, Weber said. The rankings, however, are snapshot of the city as a whole, he said.
Why did Las Vegas fare better than Phoenix? Las Vegas has more crime than Phoenix, but “Las Vegas has higher graduation rates – by a lot,” Weber said. Las Vegas also has more people with advanced degrees and a few more cultural attractions than Phoenix, he added.
The magazine is published by Rodale Inc., the firm behind Men’s Health and Women’s Health magazines.
Local leaders say the Children’s Health ranking isn’t a true reflection of what Phoenix has to offer. Phoenix is a great place to raise a family said Mayor Phil Gordon, adding that he’s raising his own family here. “Since we add tens of thousands of new residents every year, a lot of people obviously understand that Phoenix is attractive for everyone, including children,” Gordon said. [Note: Read the full article at Phoenix #93 on magazine’s list of 100 best places to raise a family.]