Best cities for single moms?
August 19, 2017 3:26 AM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend - what would be the best possible city for a new mom and her 6 month old infant to relocate to?

Assume that everywhere in the continental US is possible. A subjective question sure, but just curious to hear of places that are kid-friendly and have a relatively low cost of living and are generally welcoming to single moms. Assume the mom (and someday kid) are on the liberal side politically.
posted by benadryl to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know about "best", but Columbus, Ohio has a pretty low cost of living, and a lot of young parents. I've known several single moms there, and while being a single mom isn't easy anywhere, they seemed to get by ok. A lot of daycare options, good schools, and it's the best city for libraries in the US. (According to Library Journal's ratings - there are five libraries in Franklin County that received the highest rating.) Look in a neighborhood like Grandview. Rents are going up, but they're still fairly cheap compared to other big cities, and you can occasionally get lucky and find a place below market. Schools in Grandview and UA are top notch, and, unlike other suburbs, they're eminently walkable.
posted by kevinbelt at 4:51 AM on August 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

I live in Savannah, it's relatively cheap and has a progressive community. The schools are not great. I've heard a lot of good things about Chattanooga and I think it has better schools.

There are single moms everywhere. Here are some stats and more stats.

As a woman raising a child alone your friend should consider going somewhere where she already has friends and/or family. It's hard doing it alone in a totally strange environment.
posted by mareli at 7:39 AM on August 19, 2017 [11 favorites]

I'm a single mom and I happen to live in Columbus, OH (though I don't know kevinbelt). I came to say what mareli did -- having family or friends nearby to help with pick ups or babysitting is the crucial thing.
posted by kittydelsol at 7:47 AM on August 19, 2017

No disrespect to Columbus, but it's nowhere near as affordable as it used to be. Especially for rental housing. Great city, but getting more expensive all the time.

Just throwing this idea out there. Tucson, AZ is a quite affordable, relatively speaking, place to live. And it's a funky smaller town with liberal leanings. Not sure about single moms in Tucson, but I would think that the way that Tucson is supportive in a very leftist way with other demographics (e.g. Latino, Native American, LGBT) that quite possibly a single mom could do well in Tucson.

The heat in Arizona is brutal if you're not used to it. You can acclimate though. Winters are great here. Yay!
posted by strelitzia at 9:03 AM on August 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm also a Columbus native though now living in Dayton and the housing market may be a concern - my sister and her friends (established, 30+ year olds) can't afford the houses in the suburbs - where the good schools are. Sometimes more affordable housing is on the boundaries of school territories, however; I grew up in one of those watershed areas, going to a suburb school instead of Columbus public and the real disadvantage was that I didn't live very close to my friends and had few parents willing to drive their kids 15 minutes out and wasn't as much a part of the community.While not sprawling by LA standards, for a Midwestern city Columbus can be spread out (for example north Columbus has the nice shopping center Polaris but I rarely went there or the rest of my family because it's a good 30 minute commute if traffic is cooperating). I don't want it to seem like I'm hating on Columbus - I love Columbus and always consider it home. But a community is really important for a single parent so carefully research the areas around Columbus - it's not as simple as house X is in my budget and in school district Y
posted by Aranquis at 9:35 AM on August 19, 2017

Chagrin Falls Ohio is quaint and has excellent public schools. It's a half hour drive southeast of Cleveland but feels like a New England town.
posted by waving at 10:06 AM on August 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Several cities in Iowa:
+ Cedar Falls-Waterloo - college town+blue collar town. Good schools, especially in CF. Housing in Waterloo is more reasonable, though. Good health care access - which all of these have, I think.
+ Cedar Rapids (plus Marion) - next door to my beloved, Iowa City, but cheaper. Good schools.
+ Ames - University town
+ Des Moines, plus outlying communities. It's really nice, which is hard to admit, as someone who grew up in IC, but yeah. There's a reason it keeps growing.

I live in CF-Waterloo - Waterloo, specifically. The pace of life here is incredibly relaxed. It's in easy driving distance to MSP, Chicago, DSM, and tons of other small, nice cities. One of Iowa's more diverse communities. Lots of free and cheap stuff to do. Not super liberal, if that matters, but plenty of liberal people live here.
posted by Caxton1476 at 10:21 AM on August 19, 2017

It's been a long time since I lived there, but I loved Lawrence, Kansas as a single mom. I live in Ann Arbor now, and I tell people Lawrence is like a cheaper, unpretentious Ann Arbor (my housing costs doubled when I moved here). Lawrence is a university town and quite liberal, but Kansas seems to be going more and more to the looney right, so that might have a bad effect on things like schools. Lawrence is pretty small, but Kansas City is only an hour away.
posted by FencingGal at 10:45 AM on August 19, 2017

Following up: I wouldn't suggest buying in Columbus. House prices are kind of silly right now, and probably for the foreseeable future.

Renting is the way to go. Rents are going up (I said that in my original post), but compared to other big cities, and even some not-so-big cities, they're still pretty low. It says a lot about the cost of living that paying $1300/month for a 2br in the nicest suburb is considered "rapidly escalating". I live in a shitty industrial small town in New England now, and I pay $1500/month. Meanwhile, the place I left in Columbus had a private entrance, basement with W/D hookup, big yard, and plenty of parking, and I only paid $975. I doubt the next tenant will get that price, but even if it goes up $500, it's still a better value than the place I'm currently in at the same price, and that's before you account for the better schools. Columbus remains an excellent value for renting.
posted by kevinbelt at 12:25 PM on August 19, 2017

Move to any small town in Massachusetts. Take a look at the towns around Northhamton, MA, or anywhere between worcester and boston. Or near the shore just before the Bourne bridge. Rhode Island may also have some good towns for a single mom who leans lefty. Southern NH might also be worth a look. Anywhere 2 or 3 hours drive to Boston allows for things for museums etc.
posted by vrakatar at 6:23 PM on August 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

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