Santa Monica Lookout
|New Study Finds Santa Monica Far Down List of Best Places to Raise Families||
By Niki Cervantes
September 22, 2016 -- Surf, sun and fun aside, Santa Monica is not even close to California’s best place to raise a family, a new study has found.
Actually, the city by the sea is 405 miles from the study's top pick for setting down roots, although the City of Folsom is best known for its state prison.
Folsom is ranked No. 1 in the study released Tuesday by WalletHub, a Washington D.C.-based organization that analyzes personal finance issues.
Santa Monica was ranked 86 on the list of 240 cities in the Golden State. But the city is better off than most enclaves along California’s coast, especially in Southern California.
Locally, Manhattan Beach is ranked higher, claiming 11th place. Neighboring Redondo Beach slides in for the 40th spot followed by Torrance, which is ranked 79th on the list.
The authors gave Santa Monica better than average scores on such measures as the quality of schools (25th place); high school graduation rates (86th place); families in poverty and the unemployment rate (51st and 79th places, respectively) and playgrounds per capita (the 98th spot)
But it was the City’s lack of affordability that most worked against it.
With median home prices at almost $1.25 million, Santa Monica’s median household income of $74,534 failed to keep up, compared to the small beach cities near it with high housing costs but much fatter wallets, the study’s findings showed.
Wallet Hub calculated its affordability metric by dividing the median family income by housing (including rental) costs and the cost-of-living index.
Costly real estate or no, California is still one of the best states in which to raise a family, the authors said. It was the first state to offer comprehensive paid leave, for instance, and boasts highly regard universities.
Outside its crowded cities, the state offers a visual feast of coastline, mountains ranges and deserts.
“But it’s not all moonlight and roses throughout the state -- some cities are more family-friendly than others,” WalletHub said.
In making its comparison, WalletHub examined each city across 21 key metrics, ranging from “number of attractions” to “number of pediatricians per capita” to “unemployment rate.”
But, back to Folsom.
Mostly known as home to Folsom State Prison, which has 2,300 inmates, the city 20 miles northeast of Sacramento has otherwise grown rapidly. Folsom’s population is 73,334, census date shows, and the median household income is $100,163.
Median home prices are $444,700, according to Sperling’s Best Places to Live.
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