Columbia ranks sixth for top cities to live in for working parents

Related Story

COLUMBIA – According to a SmartAssests study, Columbia is ranked among the top 10 cities to live in for working parents. 

With its unemployment rate at just 2.8 percent, Columbia ranks sixth. The study states that a number of college towns rank in the top 10 because they serve as the largest employer in the cities. College towns also offer family-friendly policies and offer more vacation time to employees.

Columbia Chamber of Commerce’s Vice-President of Chamber Operations Victoria Brees said she’s not surprise Columbia is ranked sixth.  “Columbia in general, I feel like this is a very family-oriented community and that most employers are learning that families do come first,” Brees said.

Childcare was also a factor in Columbia’s rank. Missouri’s childcare costs on average $7,046 annually.

A Columbia dad, Mitchell Richards, said childcare is less in Columbia than other cities, but he said there are some tax issues. “The taxes are a little a high, so there’s some cost of living issues that I think maybe could be improved,” Richards said. “But overall, I think it’s a great community.”

Richards is a new dad and said the community does a good job of creating a family environment. “There’s a lot of really nice community events and sort of parent-family friendly opportunities,” Richards said. “And I like that.”

Average high school graduation rate contributed to the study as well. Columbia’s average high school graduation rate falls at 86 percent. Brees said that’s because Columbia has a good school system. “Between public schools and private schools, there’s a great place to go anywhere for school in Columbia,” Brees said. 

Other factors that contributed are average travel time to work and violent crime rate. Columbia's average travel time to work is 17.6 minutes and the violent crime rate is 363.

SmartAsset analyzed data on 446 of the largest cities in the U.S. along with the family leave policies in all 50 states.