Woods sixth ‘best place to raise a family,’ study says

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published January 25, 2017

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Six is a lucky number for Grosse Pointe Woods.

The city recently was named as the sixth-best place to raise a family in Michigan, according to a recent study from the personal finance outlet WalletHub.com.

The study — conducted to help families find the best cities in Michigan to put down roots — compared the 104 most populous cities in the state across 21 key metrics ranging from median family income to school-system quality to housing affordability.

“I am very pleased to be recognized as such a great city to raise a family,” Grosse Pointe Woods Mayor Robert Novitke said. “We really strive to do that.”

Novitke credits the city’s employees and the various activities offered to residents — including Music on the Lawn, Fall Fest and WinterFest — for placement on the WalletHub list. He added that people maintain their homes and businesses, and there are various commissions in the city where volunteers offer their time that also benefit the community.

“We have an excellent school system. We have programs for the seniors,” the mayor said. “Everyone just goes that extra mile. That makes Grosse Pointe Woods such a great place to live.”

Using 21 relevant metrics with their corresponding weights, the WalletHub study focused on four key dimensions: family life and fun; education, health and safety; affordability; and socioeconomics.

According to WalletHub.com, each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 indicating the most suitable conditions for family life. The overall scores were then calculated for each city using the weighted average across all metrics, which were then used to construct a final ranking.

“Other cities were not included in the sample due to limited data access,” the study stated.

On a scale from No. 1 as being the “best,” to No. 50 as “average,” the study determined that Grosse Pointe Woods was third in the quality of school system category and ranked eighth regarding family income.

The study also showed that Grosse Pointe Woods scored 11th in the lowest percentage of families living below the poverty level, and seventh in both the lowest divorce rate and in the lowest percentage of families receiving food stamps category. 

“Family life and fun,” for example, included the number of playgrounds per capita, the number of attractions such as museums and theaters, and the percentage of families with children from infancy to age 17.

Quality of the school system, the high school graduation rate, air quality and the number of pediatricians per capita were part of the “education, health and safety” classification. 

Housing affordability and general affordability were in the affordability portion of the study. The socioeconomics category involved several subcategories, including the separation and divorce rate, the unemployment rate and the foreclosure rate.

Data used to create the rankings was collected from various sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the FBI, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, county health rankings, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Renwood RealtyTrac, SchoolDigger.com, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Areavibes and WalletHub research.