Quarantine Parenting: Top Family-Centric Cities in the U.S.

Share this article:

If living in the midst of a pandemic feels overwhelming to you, try parenting. These days, parents’ duties have multiplied overnight to include working, parenting and home-schooling – all at once. Millions of families left without childcare or schools to send their kids to are compelled to manage on their own, at home, juggling it all, coping, contemplating with dread (some maybe with joy) a few more months of quarantine parenting.

To find out how many households are in this situation and where they live, we turned to the most recent U.S. Census data. According to the estimates, there are 33.4M families with children under 18 and of those, about two thirds are two-parent households, while one third are single parents. As expected, a big part of the total number of parents with kids under 18 is represented by women, 24% (8M), while the rest of 8% (2.7M) is represented by men.

We also compared families with young children (mostly babies, toddlers and preschoolers) to those with school-aged children and those that have at least one child from each age category.

There are almost 14M families with children under 6 years old in the U.S. and this category of parents are finding the current quarantine restrictions especially difficult during these trying times, with small kids requiring most of their time and attention. In fact, a recent survey conducted by our sister site CommercialCafe revealed that distractions is the most common challenge for Americans working from home.

But the greatest effect has been on the 26M families with kids aged between 6 and 17, as they have had to deal with homeschooling on top of everything else. With schools nationwide closed since March and a big cloud of uncertainty around when and how schools will reopen safely again, the concern is real for families in every corner of the country. Along with these two categories of parents, there’s also an overlap of 6M homes that have at least one child from each age group.

Laredo, TX has the highest share of families with kids

Census data allowed us to see what cities are impacted the most. Of the 100 largest U.S. cities, family-friendly Laredo, located on the Mexican border, ranks highly as a great place to raise a family, with a share of 44% families with kids out of the total number of households. Laredo is home to 30,600 families with kids, which represents almost half of the 69,900 total households and most of the families here have school-aged kids aged between 6-17 years.

By comparison, 28% of households in the U.S. have children, out of the total number of households.

Further west, in Gilbert, AZ, 43% of families have minor children, followed by Fremont, CA with 42%. California is also the dominant state in the top, with 5 more cities boasting some of the highest shares of families with kids: Santa Ana (40%), Chula Vista (40%), Bakersfield (40%), Stockton (36%) and Anaheim (36%). With California schools closed since mid-March, the education of millions of students has been disrupted and re-openings are expected to be complicated.

Suddenly having to work, parent and teach at the same time has affected many parents’ productivity while working from home. However, there are some ways to deal with the situation. Specifically, Vicky, an expert parenting blogger, shared the following advice: “It’s crucial that parents make time for self-care so they can be strong and well for their families. This means taking some time off, eating well and exercising once a day (getting the heart rate up to burn off stress). What you can do is head out once a day for exercise — kids in tow — racking up a minimum of steps each time, following the social distancing rules.”

The highest share of single parents is in Detroit

Single-parent households are particularly challenged in this day and age, with children at home 24/7, jobs to do either from home or outside of home, and few to no alternatives for childcare.

Popular for its year-round family-friendly events and good schools, Detroit, MI, ranks first, with as many as 71% of families with minor children being run by single parents. On top of having the highest share, Detroit also boasts the highest net number in the top 10 – of 45,000 single-parent households. As most cities in metro Detroit are currently emerging from the lockdowns, news outlets are reporting that schools are working hard to determine what fall classes will look like.

Cleveland, OH is also preferred by many families, with a share of 70% single-parent households – the second highest percentage in the top. Two more Ohio cities are present in the top – Cincinnati with a share of 63% and Toledo, with 60% households with children led by one parent, as Ohio school administrators and lawmakers are still deciding whether schools will be permitted to reopen in August.

Milwaukee, WI, Memphis, TN and Baltimore, MD are also great places to raise children in, with all three boasting shares of 60% of single-parent households.

Fremont is first in the top 10 cities with highest shares of two-parent families with children under 18, with a share of 91%, followed by Irvine, CA with 84%. Fremont ranked as one of the best places to raise a family in, according to a recent survey which explains the high share of two-parent families with children there.

Big California cities also ranked well for this metric. For instance, in San Jose, 79% of households are comprised of two parents, and San Francisco isn’t far behind with 77%. Meanwhile, although San Jose came in sixth in terms of share among the cities at the top, it actually has the highest net number of two-parent families with kids in the top – 85,500 which doesn’t come as a surprise given its total population of over 1M residents.

Plano, TX came in third with a population of 285,000 and an 80% share of two-parent families with children. Arizona is also a popular place to raise children, boasting three small cities in the top – Gilbert (80%), Scottsdale (75%) and Chandler (74%).

Check out below the cities with the highest shares of families with kids by state.

For information regarding all the 100 largest U.S. cities, you can download the data here.


RentCafe is a nationwide apartment search website that enables renters to easily find apartments and houses for rent throughout the United States.

To compile this report, RentCafe’s research team analyzed the 100 largest U.S. cities using U.S. Census data related to households and families.

We analyzed the share of households with children under 18 years in total households by different household types (married, single parent [male or female]).

The categories ‘”under 6 years old” and “between 6 and 17 years old” represent the households that have at least 2 children per household – at least 1 child per each category.

The term “female/male householder” refers to a female/male maintaining a household with no husband/wife of the householder present.

The term “family householder” refers to a householder living with one or more people related to him or her by birth, marriage or adoption. The householder and all people in the household related to him are family members.

For customized data and other requests, please contact us at media@rentcafe.com.

Fair use and redistribution

We encourage you and freely grant you permission to reuse, host, or repost the images in this article. When doing so, we only ask that you kindly attribute the authors by linking to RentCafe.com or this page, so that your readers can learn more about this project, the research behind it and its methodology.

Share this article:

Florentina Sarac is a creative writer, editor, and researcher for RENTCafé. She covers a variety of topics, from real estate trends, demographic shifts, housing industry news and multifamily construction to homeownership, smart-home technology, personal finance and business. With a 9-year background in the real estate industry, Florentina has also penned articles for publications such as Multi-Housing News, Commercial Property Executive and the National Apartment Association Magazine. You can connect with Florentina via email.

Florentina’s work and expertise have been featured in several major U.S. and international publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bisnow, The Mercury News, Curbed, The NY Post, CBS News, Business Insider and Realtor.com. She holds a B.A. in English and Spanish, as well as an M.A. in Multilingual and Multicultural Communication, which serve as a testament to her love of literature and language.

Related posts

self storage facility with indoor units

Ohio on a Self Storage Development Spree, Leads the Midwest in New Supply

Ohio leads the Midwest for the largest supply of new self storage space delivered in 2023, roughly 1.7M square feet. It is primed to maintain…

suburban housing neighborhood homes in suburbia - aerial drone view - above Austin, Texas, USA perfect cubed square houses living area in real estate suburban community at sunset summer

The Build-to-Rent Housing Boom: New Single-Family Rentals Reach All-Time High, With Another 45,000 on the Way

Build-to-rent homes are having their most successful year on record: A total of 27,500 houses for rent were completed last year — 75% more than…

From Balcony to Plot: 5 Ways to Maximize Small Spaces in Community Gardens for Renters

In the heart of bustling cities, where every square foot counts, community gardens have become the urban gardener’s paradise — a patch of soil where…