The Best Place to Raise Kids in California in 2011: Rowland Heights

Family-friendly and Affordable, By Venessa Wong and Joel Stonington

Nearby city: Los Angeles
Population: 46,793
Median family income: $72,985
Runner-up: Temple City

In San Gabriel Valley about 25 miles from downtown Los Angeles, Rowland Heights is home to a large Asian community. According to data from Onboard Informatics, nearly half the population is Asian and 33.2 percent is Hispanic. The area has several highly regarded schools, including the John A. Rowland High School and Killian Elementary School. "Rowland Heights is ... close enough to Los Angeles and all the excitement of big-city life, but [Rowland Heights] benefits from an influx of residents looking for a subdued setting," states the website of real estate agent Vincent Gottuso.

Using 2010 data from Onboard Informatics, a real estate information and technology company in New York, we evaluated a total of 5,418 locations nationwide with populations larger than the state median but no larger than 50,000. We considered only locations where the median income is within 20 percent of the state's median. The rankings put the most weight on school performance and the number of schools, crime statistics, and cost of living. Other factors included job growth, air quality, ethnic diversity, and access to recreational amenities (within the county), such as parks, zoos, theaters, and museums.

The following places we selected are neither rich suburbs nor havens for luxury living-so don't expect to find mansions and elite country clubs (although some areas will have them). Rather, these are communities inhabited mostly by middle-income earners that have good public schools, low crime, and resources to keep the family entertained on weekends.

Click here to see the best place in each state to raise a family.

Jennifer Prince, rankings analyst for Bloomberg, helped to compile this ranking.

Note: All data are 2010 estimates provided by Onboard Informatics , the premier data company in the residential real estate market and a leading innovator of lifestyle search. Data sources include the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the IRS, the FBI, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.