CHARLOTTE – A new study of 182 U.S. cities ranks Charlotte as the 58th best city for families, and the second-best in the state behind Raleigh.

And in one category, the Queen City ranks first overall.  Charlotte has the highest number of playgrounds per capita, according to the analysis, which was conducted by WalletHub.

While Raleigh ranked 43rd overall, Charlotte outpaced the City of Oaks in several of the 46 indicators that researched analyzed in the study.

For example, there are fewer separations and divorces in Charlotte than in Raleigh, the study found.  And there are more summer learning opportunities in Charlotte than in Raleigh, as the Queen City ranks 11th in the nation and first in the state for this metric.

Looking for family fun? Raleigh ranks 43rd best city in U.S., Durham 77th

Charlotte also outperforms Raleigh in measures of infant mortality, access to healthy foods, and the percentage of families in the city with young children.

The Queen City also ranks 30th in the nation when it comes to the total number of family-friendly attractions and the 27th best city for sports fans, outperforming both Raleigh and Durham in that category.

And the city ranks 25th among the 182 U.S. cities studied when it comes to affordability, though Durham ranks 15th and Raleigh ranks 5th in this category.

Charlotte also outperformed Raleigh in a 2021 report analyzing the nation’s most attractive life science markets, and that came before Eli Lilly announced it would invest in a $1 billion manufacturing plant in Concord.

Charlotte No. 1, Raleigh-Cary No. 7 in new report ranking ‘most attractive’ life science markets


Where Charlotte lags

But Charlotte could still improve its family-friendliness, according to the study.  That’s because the city ranks among the bottom half in the nation when it comes to walkability, bicycle mobility, commute times, pediatricians per capita, and pedestrian and driving fatalities.  In the category pertaining to family fun, WalletHub ranks Charlotte 104th overall, which outpaces Raleigh’s ranking of 142nd and Durham’s ranking of 170th in this category.

The city also ranks 144th in measuring the percentage of uninsured children, 128th for high school graduation rate, 126th in underemployment rate, and 116th in debt per median earnings.  It may also be difficult for teenagers to secure summer employment in Charlotte, as the city ranked 111th in a recent study of summer opportunity.

Charlotte also has the 101st worst wealth gap in the nation, according to the WalletHub data.  And the city ranks 125th for violent crime rate and 101st for property crime rate, in the bottom half of the rankings for all U.S. cities measured.  Further, the city ranks 111th for family homelessness.  The combined measure for all health and safety metrics ranks the Queen City 119th in the nation.

Raleigh 4th, Charlotte 2nd, for greatest home price increases in U.S.