OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — A new list is out highlighting the best and worst cities in America for families and two Bay Area cities landed on opposite sides of the spectrum.
Apartmentlist.com considered four factors: Safety based on FBI crime data, housing affordability based on household incomes, education based on high school graduation rates, and the percentage of residents under 18.
Fatima Carrier and her husband recently moved to Oakland to raise their 5-year-old daughter.
“Oakland is a very progressive place,” Carrier said.
She says she likes that Oakland is often ground zero for political demonstrations and was attracted to the diversity.
There are “different kids from different ethnicities so they learn how to work together, love together,” Carrier said.
But Apartmentlist.com didn’t look at diversity or political engagement when ranking family-friendly cities and Oakland came in last in the Bay Area based in part on crime data and school graduation rates.
In Oakland Unified School District there are 50 native languages spoken and half the kids speak a language other than English at home.
Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Devin Dillon said, “We want our children to be able to know differences and while that’s a challenge, it’s also one of our strengths.”
The ranking also factored in housing prices, which have been skyrocketing in Oakland.
Realtor Denise Kees said, “I can’t say Oakland is bad for families because I want to raise mine here.”
Kees was born and raised In Oakland and she says buyers from San Francisco are looking to Oakland for more affordable housing.
“A lot of people have purposefully chosen Oakland…culture of arts and community a kind of gritty feel,” Kees said.
That gritty feel — with all the good and the bad — you just can’t get in Bay Area suburban communities which is why Fatima says she won’t be moving any time soon.
“It’s up to us as parents, as part of the community, to make it better,” Carrier said.
Pleasanton, located just 25 miles away from Oakland, has been ranked one of the best Bay Area cities for families.
Sonali Sethna, a real estate broker with Keller Williams Tri Valley Realty, has been selling homes in Pleasanton for more than 20 years.
She says it’s an easy sell.
“Where can I start…Pleasanton is safe, family-oriented, award-winning schools, great transportation, historic downtown with great events over the summertime,” Sethna said.
Scott Raty, the President of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce says the ranking really doesn’t surprise him.
He said the town has “great schools and it’s where Main Street meets Wall Street. We have a great job center but still have this incredible downtown.”
San Ramon also topped the charts.