Best family city in IdahoIt's said that people come to Idaho for the wilderness and stay for the lifestyle, but there are so many terrific cities in the Gem State, you might find it difficult to decide which one will become your new hometown. If you are looking for a place to raise a family, the decision is simple. Meridian is the best family city in Idaho, and there are plenty of reasons why that is a fact. Though each family has a list of priorities that are important to them, there are six main concerns that all parents share when raising a family: access to good educational, prospects for income and employment, an affordable cost of living, low crime rates, and short commutes. When comparing places to move, USA Today gave Meridian Idaho best city status, putting it at number one because it meets all those criteria and more. 

1. Excellent Education Options

The Meridian School District, now called West Ada School District is one of the reasons why Meridian is the best family city in Idaho. It is the largest on average, boasts the best test scores in the entire state of Idaho and those are 13% higher than the national average, and ranks it in the top five.  Meridian also achieves an extraordinary high school completion rate of 90.7%. It's factors like that that prompted AreaVibes to give education in Meridian an "A" grade.

Family friendly Meridian Idaho has education choices galore!  There are multitudes of private, public, Charter School and math and science Magnet School options from kindergarten through 8th grade and some through High School.  The many High School options cover all kinds of aptitudes from Medical Arts to Industrial Arts and Engineering.   Many Charter Schools in the area Dual Enroll Juniors and Seniors in the local Community College, College of Western Idaho (CWI) and Renaissance High School is combined with the Meridian Idaho State University Campus to allow students additional opportunities to accumulate college credits before leaving high school as well as getting credit for those same classes for their high school diplomas.

If a high school student works hard with dual enrollment opportunities they can earn an Associate’s Degree at the same time they graduate from High School.  And guess what?  The State of Idaho will pay up to $4,500 of the cost of tuition for dual enrollment classes during a student’s Junior and Senior years of high school meaning it may not cost anything for that AA Degree.  Be careful where you buy that house though as most of these charter and magnet school options are only available if you have a Meridian address or live within the schools set geographical boundary.  This dominant local attitude for giving parents true school choice options for their kids and everything they need to succeed in their aptitude should get the attention of every sincere parent.

What's more, because Meridian is lies between Boise and Nampa/Caldwell, it's close enough to commute to Boise State University, College of Western Idaho or Albertson College. That means that after graduating high school, a quality college education is just 30 minutes maximum in any direction, allowing students to save money on housing fees by living at home in Meridian. Alternatively, students who choose to move closer to campus are still close enough for weekend and holiday visits home.

2. Stable Employment Prospects

stable employment prospectsAs the largest school district in the state, the West Ada School District offers a second reason that makes Meridian Idaho the best city for families: Jobs. With nearly 50 schools in the district and Boise State University nearby, there are a range of jobs in education from clerical on up to administrative and professorial. However, the school district and the University are just two of the employers in the area. Healthcare and technology are big business in Meridian and the surrounding area, too. Businesses that employ Meridian residents to meet manufacturing, tech, and healthcare needs include St. Luke’s Health System, St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, Micron Technology, Hewlett-Packard Co., Albertsons, Winco, J.R. Simplot Co. and many more.

The Boise Valley’s unemployment rate is remarkable at 3.7% and is significantly below the current national average of 4.7%. Additionally, the income in family friendly Meridian Idaho is better than average. At about $64,100, the median household income is over $10,000 per year more than the national average. Meridian men and women alike earn more than their counterparts nationwide on the average, too.  

3. Affordable Housing

Another reason Meridian is the best family city in Idaho is the affordable housing. At $194,800, the median home price is a bit higher than the national average, but the higher income in family friendly Meridian offsets that issue. In fact, more families choose to buy homes in Meridian than rent. The numbers show that there are almost 30 percent less renter-occupied homes in Meridian than the national average, and home ownership is 15 percent higher in Meridian than the national average. When housing is affordable, and the income is there to pay for it, naturally families would rather have a place to call their own, one that offers ample space inside as well as out.

Wondering what types of listings you will find in the best family city in Idaho? The job economy has spurred growth in Meridian which, in turn, has stimulated new construction in the area in a huge way. The growth began in the 1990s and continues today thanks to the robust tech, healthcare industries and the many retirees coming to the area. MyMove explains that is the reason for the many new neighborhoods in Meridian. That is not to say you can't find older homes for sale in the city, but the choices you will have when looking for a house is just another reason why Meridian Idaho is the best city for families. Whether you choose an older, existing home, one that has been newly constructed, or decide to work with a contractor to build the house of your dreams, you can do it all in Meridian. To find a good builder that will meet your needs, email Broker Jeff Stewart at .

4. Low Cost of Living

fun things to do in Meridian IdahoPeople who move to Meridian from a larger metropolitan area in another state are often pleasantly surprised at the low cost of living. Being able to provide basic necessities as well as a few extras for your family without breaking the budget is another mark in favor of Meridian being the best family city in Idaho.

In general, goods and services in family friendly Meridian Idaho are 2 percent lower than the national average. When you break it down though, the reality is that most everything costs significantly less in Meridian than in other cities across the nation. The slightly higher cost of housing skews the numbers a bit, drawing the overall average up. Looking at the numbers individually, however, paints a much more favorable picture. Groceries are 11 percent lower than the national average.  Utilities are extremely such as electricity and phone service are 14 percent lower than the average nationwide. An example of this is a 2400 square foot home in Meridian with a family of 5 has average monthly utilities of the following: Electric = $125, Natural Gas=$60, Water-Sewer-Trash $75.  The transportation index--specifically the cost of gasoline--is 8 percent lower than the national average.

5. The Safety Factor

Naturally, for Meridian to be considered the best family city in Idaho it would have to be a safe place for families to live, and it is. The city's low crime rate is actually one of the top factors that attract families to the area. It is safer than almost three-quarters of the cities in the U.S., and the overall crime rate is over 50 percent lower in family friendly Meridian Idaho than the national average. Why is the best family city in Idaho is so safe? Other than the fact that it is just a thriving family community, which all by itself tends to draw in residents that are upstanding, it could be that it is also because Meridian is home to the Idaho State Police Academy and the Idaho State Police headquarters.

6. Manageable Commute

Easy commute in meridianWhen Mom and/or Dad work in the city, it is common for them to commute to work while settling the family in a suburb or nearby smaller city for the lifestyle and quality of living. If too much time is spent on the road rather than with the family, however, the trade-off isn't worth it. Short commute times factor into making Meridian Idaho the best city for families. Known as the Center of the Treasure Valley, Meridian is just a few minutes' drive from the many cities that surround it including Eagle, Nampa, Caldwell, Middleton, and it is only 12 minutes away from downtown Boise.

Meridian's proximity to everything around it not only makes morning and evening commutes to work a breeze but also gives families quick access to everything the other cities have to offer. While family friendly Meridian Idaho offers up plenty of things to do including shopping, parks, fishing ponds, Roaring Springs, and the Meridian Speedway, it is nice to know that a few minutes of driving will take you places such as the Boise River for floating and boating, the many lakes in Eagle, the Boise Foothills for hiking, the golf courses in Nampa-Caldwell, and, of course, skiing at Bogus Basin which is just 16 miles up the mountain from downtown Boise.

7. Beautiful Wilderness on Every Side

Idaho offers some of the best natural scenery and views in the nation and, as the best family city in Idaho, Meridian has its fair share of breathtaking mountain views, Boise River access Snake River Canyon. Nature's beauty is not necessarily on every family's priority list, so the stunning wide open spaces are a bonus and are among the top reasons for moving to Meridian. Thought Catalog points out the contrast between the 19 people per square mile in Idaho cities and the 30,000 people crowded into each New York City square mile, contributing to making Meridian Idaho the best city for raising a family. Whether you want to head for the mountains to go camping or hunting, your trip is often just an hour away.  Closer by, biking, hiking, fishing, swimming or skiing, in Meridian families have room to spread out and enjoy what nature has to offer.

Once you consider what family friendly Meridian Idaho has to offer, you will agree that it is the best family city in Idaho. When you are ready to shop for homes in the area, Stewart Realty can help. Local and family owned, the team at Stewart Realty is exceptionally familiar with the Meridian area and can offer the advice and experience you need in finding just the right home for your family. Broker/owner Jeff Stewart has worked in all areas of real estate in the Meridian area including construction and as an appraiser, giving his clients the advantage of his expertise in quality construction and property valuation.

When you decide to make the move to the best family city in Idaho, contact Jeff Stewart to help you find the perfect home in Meridian for your family. 

The team at Stewart Realty knows homes and they know Southwest Idaho real estate. To find out more about real estate in the Boise Region give Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty a call to set up your personal real estate search, a personal tour of the area and find some great homes that fit your needs and budget.

Compose Your Personal MLS Search With Us: or

Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner 208-602-1993 or