When families choose a place to settle down in Nevada, they look for a place that can support their kids and themselves, too, with good schools, affordable homes and high-paying jobs. With that in mind, we asked the following questions as we analyzed cities and towns across the state:
- Does the town have good public schools? We measured schools’ academic performance with ratings from GreatSchools. This non-profit compares a given school’s standardized test scores to the state average to obtain a rating on a 1 to 10 scale (10 representing the highest score). Higher ratings led to a higher overall score.
- Can you afford to live there? We looked at both average home values in each town and ongoing monthly home costs, including mortgage payments, real estate taxes, insurance costs, utilities, fuel and other bills. Lower costs led to a higher overall score.
- Is the town growing and prospering? We assessed a town’s economy by looking at average household income and income growth over the last decade. Higher income and greater growth led to a higher overall score.
Carson City, Dayton, Parks, and Fallon all found their way onto the top 10 list and can be considered a great town for a young family.
Work and play are both great in Carson City. This small metro area borders Lake Tahoe, where families can ski or boat on the weekends. During the week, Carson City kids attend a growing school district. Just last year, it was one of sixteen school districts across the nation awarded a Race to the Top grant, a $10 million prize that will enable the district to reform and innovate. Adults have opportunities for advancement, too. Western Nevada College’s main campus is in Carson City, and it serves its full-time students as well as the surrounding community. City residents can take advantage of adult-learning programs, including the Adult Literacy & Language program, offered free of charge to adults who want to learn the skills that will allow them to transition into a for-credit college.
Dayton is a great place for families trying to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. This small, quiet town is removed from the noise, but it is also adjacent to Carson City and just down the road from Lake Tahoe. Residents here take great comfort in their town’s natural beauty and rural feel – what it does not have in an active nightlife it makes up for with beautiful mountain vistas.
Sparks is big on family fun, with events both in the city itself and neighboring Reno. A balloon race brings balloonists here from all around the country, rodeos inspire competitors young and old to compete and an annual rib-off brings barbecutionists to Victorian Square every year. The city is growing quickly, too. At last count, the population was 92,302, and it is expected to grow to 133,600 residents by 2030.
Three decades ago, Hollywood came to Fallon to film Top Gun. Today, the Naval Air Station brings military families to Fallon for jobs and peaceful, quiet living. Clear skies, mountains, sand dunes and opportunities to fish, hunt, shoot and bike off road keep outdoorsy, adventurous families excited in this small town.