If you’re a single mom, you’ll know that where you live has a big impact on your quality of life. Finding somewhere that offers a good standard of living for you and your family is hard enough, but when you have a single-parent budget to consider, it gets even harder. Fortunately, there’s plenty of places that manage to combine high living standards with affordability. If good schools, affordable childcare, abundant amenities, attainable property prices, and good career prospects all rank highly on your wish list, don’t miss our round-up of the 20 best places for single moms to live in the U.S.
20. Washington, D.C., District of Colombia
Washington, D.C. has a score of very attractive features for single moms, including great job opportunities (with the added advantage that the gender pay gap is less pronounced here than almost anywhere else in the US), paid maternity leave, and strict childcare regulations to ensure your children’s safety. While crime levels and housing costs vary by neighborhood, look hard enough and you’ll find plenty of areas that combine affordable housing with a very decent standard of living.
19. Berkeley, California
Home Snacks has ranked Berkeley, California as one of the best cities for singles in the US. In fairness, they’re probably referring to the young and free variety of single, but it doesn’t take much searching to find plenty of good stuff for single moms, too. Housing is affordable and the wage gap between men and women is tiny in comparison to many other cities, giving you a much better chance of scoring a decent wage for your labours. Like the rest of the state, Berkeley falls under the reach of the CalWORKS initiative, a scheme that allows you to apply for high-quality subsided childcare.
18. Orlando, Florida
The Sunshine State boasts a lot more than glorious weather. Child care is affordable and readily available (if you’re worried about having to compete for a space, don’t be – Florida has more open spaces in top quality facilities than it does children), jobs are plentiful, and the pay discrepancy between men and women is marginal. When it comes to choosing which city to make your home, you can’t go wrong with Orlando. With its abundance of recreational opportunities, theme parks, eco-tourism experiences, shopping opportunities, and dining options, neither you nor your kids will ever get bored.
17. Huntsville, Alabama
Huntsville, Alabama has a lot of good things to its name. Cities that embrace the past as much as the future are a rarity, but Huntsville manages it with aplomb. Nestled comfortably up against its historical sights is a job market bristling with opportunities, a vibrant, lively culture, and a reputation as one of the leaders in space technology. From a single mom’s perspective, the outlook is bright. The median income for single parents is a very respectable $35,000, the cost of living is extremely attractive (a full ten percent below the national average, in fact), child care is around 50 percent less than the US average, and property is incredibly affordable. So attractive is the overall affordability of the city, News and World Report has gone so far as to name it the 15th best place to live in the country.
16. Fort Wayne, Indiana
Good schools, a short commuting time, plentiful job opportunities, and a high median income all combine to make Fort Wayne, Indiana, an outstanding choice for single moms. As an added advantage, the housing options are affordable enough to mean you’ll only need to spend around 19 percent of your salary on housing costs, leaving you plenty left in your pocket to indulge your kids in the latest must-have gadgets and accessories.
15. Omaha, Nebraska
If you’re a single mom, you’re going to love Omaha. Not only is the job market strong enough to support the very attractive single-parent median income of $39, 515, but the cost of living is an equally attractive 7 percent less than the US average. Jobs are abundant (only 4 percent of single parents are unemployed), the average commuting time is a gloriously tiny 20 minutes, and the open school system lets you choose your child’s school based on their needs, rather than their neighborhood. Affordable AND flexible.. what more could you want?
14. Manchester, New Hampshire
If you’re a single parent, finding somewhere to live that isn’t going to drain your resources can be hard, especially in these days of spiraling home prices. If you’d rather spend your money on keeping your kids in clothes and food than on your mortgage, you might want to consider Manchester, New Hampshire. According to US News and World Report, Manchester residents spend just 23.8% of the area’s median household income on housing expenses, leaving you with plenty of cash to play with come payday. In more good news, the median income is distinctly above average, while the healthcare and childcare facilities are similarly outstanding.
13. Raleigh, North Carolina
If you’re searching for a home town that combines low costs with high standards, look no further than Raleigh, North Carolina. Packed full of free museums, attractions, parks, and recreational opportunities, it’s the kind of place where family fun doesn’t come with a hefty price tag. Childcare is just as affordable, as are the housing options. In even better news, the median wage for single-parent households is a respectable 13.2 percent higher than the national average.
12. Naples, Florida
Naples, Florida has a lot to recommend it for single moms, including a single parent medium household income of $39,000 and a booming job market that puts the single parent unemployment rate at a very respectable 3.0%. The average annual state child care cost is a decent $9,018, while property is affordable enough to keep housing costs as a share of income to just 27%. Add to that the fact that Naples is recognized as one the happiest, healthiest, and safest cities in Florida, and it’s easy enough to see the appeal.
11. Little Rock, Arkansas
If the thought of earning the median single-family income of $36,400 appeals to you, you might want to cast your eyes in the direction of Little Rock, Arkansas. Not only are incomes high, but the cost of living is tiny – a full 9 percent less than the national average, in fact. The real attraction of the city for single moms, however, is the phenomenally low cost of child care. While you can expect to fork out around $11,297 for child care in most parts of the US, here, it’ll cost you just $6,726 per year.
10. Round Rock, Texas
If keeping your kids happy and entertained is an uphill struggle, Round Rock, Texas might just be the answer. The city is packed with recreational opportunities, along with numerous opportunities for kids to lay aside their gadgets and get involved in the area’s world-famous sports scene. While the rest of the family is busy having fun, you can get on with enjoying the outstanding job opportunities the city has to offer… not to mention spending the equally outstanding single-parent median income of $48,500.
9. East Lansing, Michigan
Back in 2017, East Lansing made the bold move of sinking $93.7 million into rebuilding and renovating six of its elementary schools. The money hasn’t gone to waste, and the city now boasts one of the most respected school systems around. When your kids aren’t busy enjoying the privileges of a first-class education, they’ll find plenty to keep them amused at attractions like the MSU Museum and the Impression 5 Science Centre. Combine all of that with low living costs and high wages, and it’s easy to understand what makes East Lansing such a hot spot for single moms.
8. Austin, Texas
The cost of living in Austin, Texas may have risen slightly over the past few years, but it’s still low enough to be attractive to moms on a single-parent income. Thanks to its booming economy, jobs are plentiful, providing you with plenty of opportunities to climb the career ladder while your kids make use of some of the country’s leading schools. As you’d expect of Texas’ capital, amenities, recreational opportunities, museums, libraries, and attractions are bountiful – if you like to spend time together as a family on the weekends, you’ll find plenty of fun places to head.
7. Wichita, Kansas
Living on a tight budget can be challenging, especially when you’ve got kids. Fortunately, there’s plenty of places where your dollar will stretch further. Case in point – Wichita, Kansas. Move here, and you can expect to benefit from a cost of living that sits an appealing 11 percent below the national average. Neither childcare costs nor housing will stretch the budget to breaking point. As an added bonus, single parents can expect to earn the very attractive median income of $36,700. Not only will your money go further here, but your time will too: the average commuting time is a tiny 19 minutes.
6. Barrington, Rhode Island
According to Niche, Barrington ranks as the number one place to live in Rhode Island. Its appeal is obvious, especially for single-parent families. Like the rest of Rhode Island, the city benefits from outstanding childcare facilities that are regularly inspected to ensure your kids are safe and happy. Job opportunities are abundant, crime is low, the public schools are nationally recognized for their quality, amenities are bountiful, and the community is diverse and welcoming… what more could you ask for?
5. McAllen, Texas
As hsh.com notes, it often makes more sense for single mothers to buy a home than rent. Buying offers more stability than renting and comes without the risk that a landlord suddenly decides to upset your careful budget by increasing the rent or deciding to sell the property and force you to move out. In some places, buying a home on a single budget can be challenging. In others, it’s more than attainable. In McAllen in Texas, you shouldn’t have too many problems in finding a home for the very reasonable price of $165,000. In addition to the attractive home prices, you can expect a very decent clutch of schools and a crime rate that won’t leave you fearing for your family’s safety.
4. Ann Arbor, Michigan
According to meetfabric.com, Ann Arbor is one of the ten best cities in America for single parents. Why? If we had to guess, we’d say it was a combination of the high incomes (most single-family households can expect to earn $55,350), the low single parent unemployment rate (just 2.3 percent, by the last count), the reasonable state child care costs, and the very impressive array of museums, libraries, art groups, fairs, and other cultural attractions.
3. Asheville, North Carolina
Raising a family doesn’t mean you need to give up on the prospect of a career, at least not in Asheville, North Carolina. Just 1.4% of single parents are unemployed, while those in jobs are bringing home the very respectable median income of $37,800. Thanks to an average commuting time of just 21 minutes, balancing home life with the office has never been easier. Child care is affordable, while the range of kid-friendly attractions in the city will keep the whole family well supplied in fun and games.
2. Cincinnati, Ohio
You don’t have to be a single mom to worry about crime, but it doesn’t help matters if you are. Fortunately, Cincinnati isn’t the kind of place where you’ll need to lose sleep over your family’s safety. The property crime rate is low, and the violent crime rate is even lower. If that wasn’t enough to tempt you, its well-regarded schools, low cost of living, and abundant recreational opportunities just might.
1. Durham, North Carolina
Low unemployment, high standards of living, low housing costs, good schools… if all this sounds like your idea of the ideal home, it might be time to get better acquainted with Durham, North Carolina. Boasting the high average salary of $54,789, the tiny unemployment rate of 3.4%, an average commuting time of 25 minutes, and some great schools, the city is every bit as attractive as it seems. If all that wasn’t enough, the salary to home cost is excellent – expect to part with just a fraction over 21 percent of your income on mortgage or rent payments.