Best Places to Raise Kids: The 15 Most Family-Friendly Philly Suburbs

If you are forgoing city for ‘burbs, as a parent you want two things: safe streets and good schools. But after that, the choices vary: A touch of urbanity? Wide-open spaces? A charming downtown? We crunched the numbers, analyzed the data and forayed out into the field. No matter your preference, we found a locale worth moving to


Lafayette Hill

Population: 17,349*
School district: Colonial ∆SAT scores: 526 math / 549 reading / 522 writing
Crime rate: .51 violent crimes per 1,000; 12.02 nonviolent per 1,000**
Average home price: $295,000

Location, location, location: It’s the real estate seller’s mantra. And while parents don’t pick a place to raise a family based solely on commuting, if they did, they might pick Lafayette Hill. For those whose jobs and responsibilities take them back and forth between city and ’burbs, the town offers perhaps the region’s best location—an idyllic burg with great schools and community can-do spirit sitting snugly between the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the Blue Route and the Schuylkill Expressway. A cheaper alternative to living on the Main Line, it’s also well framed, surrounded by Morris Arboretum, a state park, and six golf courses (including one rated in the top hundred by Golfweek magazine), as well as Chestnut Hill and Mount Airy, infusing city vibes without city problems. Still, it has “a very small atmosphere,” in the words of Linda Pudles, manager of Down 2 Earth Kids and a mother of two. That translates into an informal network of playdate-making parents who could run a Fortune 500 company with their organizing skills, as manifested in everything from the packed annual Whitemarsh Township Day in April (think The Music Man’s River City sans the 76 trombones) to the summer entertainment series, with free movies and concerts staged in Miles Park. And the library is currently undergoing a $4.4 million renovation, cementing its status as the ersatz town square.

*Population data for Whitemarsh Township; includes Lafayette Hill and other areas.  **Crime rate for Whitemarsh Township

To read about Jenkintown, click here.

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  • Mark

    …they have Renato, which is the best place anywhere for a cheesesteak or a hoagie.

  • Sally

    Definitely a great place to raise kids!!!

  • Bid

    What a nice view of our town and residents!

    Sadly, the property owners in the Jenkintown Business Improvement District (BID) voted to eliminate the our Festival of the Arts, and any other efforts designed to bring people and new businesses into into our lovely community. By failing to re-authorize the BID, these short sighted barons killed marketing of our town and a business recruitment program. They also eliminated the distinctive holiday decorations that lined the streets AND Santa’s annual visit.

    For a perspective from a resident, BID supporter and volunteer, please read this letter printed in Times-Chronicle:

    To view the “No Votes” see:

  • colton

    Why is PHILADELPHIA magazine encouraging people to move out of the city? This is the problem in the first place w/ Philly, people keep moving out and that causes loss of population, loss of tax base, higher vacancy rates, etc… all leading to worse schools, less stability, less “eyes on the street” and thus more crime. You should be highlighting the best neighborhoods IN Philly for families, not the best places to escape Philadelphia for.

    • Tara

      Right underneath the title it says: “If you are forgoing city for ‘burbs, as a parent you want two things: safe streets and good schools.” … This was written for people who WANT to move out of the city.

  • Jamison

    Thanks for the list, most of these I can agree with, but there are some glaring omissions, most notably Doylestown. I don’t know how it doesn’t make this list as it meets and exceeds most of the criteria set.

  • Beth

    Does anyone have any details about Mullica Hill, NJ. Is that a great place to live. I heard it has a very good school and quaint town atmosphere.

  • Susie Madrak

    Leave it to Philly mag to keep making the word “best” synonymous with “white and rich.”

    • Jane Yavis

      May I correct part of your “Best” synonyms – “White and NEW Rich”???

    • Broyal

      Despicable comment from an idiotic and despicable person. Go spread your nazi crap elsewhere.

    • Tony b

      Fuck you.

    • Vald Bagina

      true. the philly area is pretty racially segregated. now that I said this, people will get sensitive and try to say that it isn’t but in reality it is.

  • Kelly

    Ummmm….more like the richest and highest housing prices outside of Philadelphia. You missed the mark on so many towns.