Just where IS the best place to live?


By Stephanie Utrup

Is it here?

I recently came across a list of America’s Best Places to Live. I have been to a handful of the places and would agree that, indeed, they would be wonderful places to live. It was both interesting and entertaining to see where you could make the most money, where the most expensive homes were, where it was hottest and coldest and how many people lived there. Yet the more I looked at it the more skeptical I became.

Or maybe here?

Mind you, this was on the money page, but what defined a good place to live seemed so stereotypical to me. It was all about money, median age, temperature, money, housing, money, commute time, money….

Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that all of these are important, but a very crucial component, at least in my mind, was missing: they forgot about the kids!! What about schools and things for kids to do, average family size etc. (I’ll give them a little credit…they did give reading and math scores on standardized tests.) I don’t have any children, but this really bothered me. I think it would be unfortunate to call cities the “best places to live” without even considering the 72.3 million people under age 18!

What if it's here?

So maybe including children in this report wasn’t so important, but I’m afraid this isn’t an isolated incident. Too often kids are an afterthought or not a thought at all. This is a problem.

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Stephanie Utrup is a graduate student at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis and a practicum student at Parents as Teachers. Upon graduation in August she hopes to work in child advocacy in Washington D.C.

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