Cities were ranked in categories. They considered 20 major metropolitan areas with populations of more than 2.5 million people, and also evaluated the next 80 largest cities, for a total of 100 cities. The results you'll see are for the cities of Glendale, Mesa, and Scottsdale along with an overall ranking of the entire Greater Phoenix area.
Here are the factors that were considered for the kid-friendly rankings. Some of the items are self-explanatory, but for others I offered a bit of commentary or a quotation from the Population Connection web site.
1. Percent Change in Population. "Too often, a city's rapid population growth is not matched by equal growth in hospitals, schools, recreational areas, and other vital service sectors. We consider both rapid population growth and rapid population decline to be negative occurrences, as stability in a community is essential to meeting the needs of its residents, especially the needs of its children." For this reason, negative grades were given to any city that grew at all from 1990 to 2000.
2. Percent of Population Under 18. The Population Connection "...used 23.4 as the ideal percent of kids under 18 in a city. A stable population, one that is neither growing nor shrinking, will typically have 23.4 percent of its population under age 18."
1. Births to teens. "Percent births to teens reflect the number of live births to women under 20 years of age .... Babies born to teen mothers ... are more likely to grow up in homes that have lower levels of emotional support, and they are less likely to earn high school diplomas. Teen motherhood is often accompanied by poverty and diminishing opportunities for both mother and child."
2. Infant mortality
3. Percent of women receiving subsidized reproductive health care
4. Laws that require contraceptives to be covered under health insurance. "Making contraceptives affordable for all women is a basic component of preventative health care."
5. Percent of children without health insurance
1. Percent of people over 25 who have high school diploma
2. Number of teachers trained in the Population Connection's Education Program. "The Education Program trains teachers in using population and environmental curriculum in their classes."
3. Schools teaching sex education. "Students who receive abstinence-only-until-marriage education have higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases, compared to students who receive comprehensive sexuality education, as they do not receive information on contraceptives and how to protect themselves."
4. Proficiency in reading and math
1. Percent of kids living in poverty
2. The percent growth in urbanized land, or increase in sprawl. "This is an important indicator in determining the quality of life for an area's children, for as sprawl increases, the average length of time a child spends in the car each day increases as well."
3. The rate of violent crime
4. Recycling. City-sponsored recycling programs were considered because "Recycling household products is often a child's first introduction to responsible environmental action, and cities should be encouraging families in this practice."
Next Page >> See the Results for Arizona Cities