The 10 Best Cities To Raise African-American Families

58 Comments
May 30, 2010 ‐ By madamenoire

What’s worse than living in a town you absolutely hate? Finding out that there was a study done and a whole panel of folks agree with you.

So Madames, before you pack your precious belongings and family into a U-Haul and head North, South, East or West, check out this list of the best cities to raise a family.

Note: Please take this list with a grain of salt. While some families prefer a neighborhood with average schools, with access to a booming cultural mecca in their backyard, others would rather have top notch schools for their children in a town where there is not much action. Different strokes for different folks. When in doubt, ask friends if they know people who live in the area you are thinking of calling home.

To consider a place a sanctuary for African Americans, this Madame Noire list (unscientificly) compiled metro areas that provide good public education, affordable housing, sustainable median household income and a vibrant social life. We also took into consideration the percentage of black population living in the area, the number of black-owned businesses, the percentage of black college graduates and medical care. When combined we arrived at this final ranking of the top 10 cities for African-American families.

Madame Noire’s Top 10 Cities For African-American Families:

  1. Washington, D.C. Metro (D-M-V)
  2. Raleigh-Durham, NC
  3. Atlanta, GA
  4. Charlotte, NC
  5. Columbus, OH
  6. Jacksonville, FL
  7. Dallas, TX
  8. Houston, TX
  9. Birmingham, AL
  10. Memphis, TN

Chicago, once considered the black capital of the United States, has been surpassed by Atlanta, Georgia, as the city with the second-largest black population in America. According to a new report, “The State of Metropolitan America,” by the Brookings Institute, the New York metro area has by far the largest number of African Americans — over 3 million, almost as many as Chicago and Atlanta combined.

Do you agree with our Top 10 List?

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  • MONIA

    Most of these cities are not good places to live. They have high crime rates, so how is this a good place for a black family to live?
    SMH

  • Nana Yaw

    What about crime, safety, police brutality? What about the quality of education for families which school age children middle school and high school who choose to send their children to public school?
    Do you have an updated list? It will help. Thank you

  • zetaReg

    They should have a list of the top ten gay black neighborhoods. Not everyone who if black is poisoned by the belief in Eternal Judgement.

  • Marquita Bloodworth

    I live in Columbus, Oh right now and I can tell you this is ABSOLUTELY NO PLACE FOR US!!!! First of all, I was raised in Alabama where there was an actual community where Blacks had equity, owned their homes and businesses, and were able and willing to maintain a certain support system within the community without any “outside help” or ” free lunch”. Here in Columbus, I have come across some of the most selfish, ignorant, brain dead Black people I have ever encountered, (and I’ve lived in many 3rd world countries with every color ever present.) I am considered an affluent A.A. ( what ever ) and am degreed,you know, all that stuff people love to pry about. My husband and I have tried countless times to reach out to these selfish Negros to grow our business think tanks but to no avail. They don’t understand the word equity, unity, comradery, etc. The predominately black public schools are some of the worst in the nation. The ignorant blacks go out of there way to completely ignore you, or are in such an absolutely depressing and negative state of mind you wish they had. There is way too much race mixing, and Black folk are plain ol’ trying to be as white and “American as they can. The Affluent jobs are unattainable to anti- shuckers and jivers. The Caucasians here are defunct, devoid, and even more brain dead. The blatant racism, and subjugation in the work place is socially accepted by all races, and no one cares. These Negro’s here are bass ackwards!! And they say the South is scary and slow!!! I can’t find anything black owned accept for churches and barbershops, and it’s cold as hell. I am on the first plane out of this racist ignorant place never to return. Pull Columbus off your list!! We deserve much better than to live in a place that is as depressing and complacent as this wretched place. Let white people have Columbus, and yall travel to the warmth.

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  • Michael gourdine

    New York City only has 650,000 African Americans

  • jay

    Dallas,TX is not the city they make it to be. I was told by city hall they dont captlize on education so your degree means nothing here. Ive been looking for a job in the7months move down here nothing…. i hear they hire native Texans

  • Terry

    Amen, sister I’m a black man, it’s a shame see other AA’s doing something we can’t control it. Especially, I just relocated to Memphis, Tn. No way my family and I really decide, to move out of town,… Again!

  • J. Alice

    I am from Memphis, and I’m still wondering why it is on the Top 10 list. It’s a mess down here. We’re in the top 5 for most violent cities, most obese, most poverty per capita, worst school system, and let us not forget public transportation. I am a native of this city and I’m trying to move out of here with my family and start anew.

    • Jaq Young

      I’m in Memphis as well and I think this place is a cesspool, this is not a good place for AA if you’re white with money its nice you got decent weather, low cost of liv but if you are a black man it will be very very hard to get a decent job and most men here don’t care to find a job period, memphis is a big mississippi town racism is strong here on both sides and if you are a professional black person young or old it will be hard to find where you fit in, the women here are very negative and mean they all have that crab in a bucket mentality black people here hate to see another black person improve thier lives its is sad here DO NOT MOVE HERE the whites wont expect much out of you even if you’re educated because so many here are lazy. MOVE YOU WILL REGRET IT.

  • Unknown

    DC..no!!! If your single and have a good paying salaried job lined up. Maybe..
    If your a single AA mom..no!!! Especially if your salary is under $50,000. Gas prices are extremely high, travel is gridlocked every evening and morning commute…
    Plus is..you don’t need to drive living in this city because Metro is condesive. But if you have a family then you do need a car.
    The job market is for the educated professionals. If you have a degree it’s still hard. I suggest having a Masters degree and a Bachelors to make it here.
    I’ve lived here majority of my life and I’m planning to move down south.
    I suppose if you have a job lined up and can afford $1200 plus rent a month then move here. Generally speaking for DC only…not the DMV including (VA, AND MD) The city shouldn’t be number one for raising a AA family. It’s overly expensive to purchase a home, the better schools on Capitol Hill are hard to get your kids into. Your either waitlisted or have to apply through a lottery. Or you pay an arm and a leg for your child to attend a private school. Think about this one long and hard. If you choose DC. Choose northern va, rockville md, bethesda, md or somewhere in the suburbs. DC is too expensive and you have to have two incomes to survive here. Otherwise your going to have a roomate or rely on family for help.

  • Kenny Kendricks

    I find it difficult that ANY city in Ohio could make this list!  Columbus has some serious issues, particularly for Blacks.  Racism is one major issue, here.  The economy is another.  Sure, housing is very affordable if you don’t mind living with lots (and I mean MANY) of abandoned and boarded up houses.  Ohio State University, even with all it’s prestige, has one of the highest rates of college grads who LEAVE the state to pursue their careers elsewhere!

  • Shalom22

    Im from Newark, NJ. I left there over 10 yrs ago, moved 2 Arizona, BEAUTIFUL!! alot of black people are starting 2 move out there. Its comfortable, friendly from all races, maintained and kept up {clean}, affortable in every way. I just ddnt have any family out there and was in a abusive marriage so i moved 2 west nj which is not 4 a black person, very quiet and woodsy though. i will be moving back 2 AZ, the perfect paradise.

  • Toledostarr

    I simply came here for information and the comments made me feel bad for being African American. It is truly sad I’m in the comforts of my own home and can’t even find peace or information online.

  • Mrh23arbors

    I wish magazines and websites would stop saying Columbus, Ohio is a good place for African American families to live… Because it is not I have unfortunately lived here all my life and I hate this racist place. I Will be moving far away from here as soon as I finish college ….3 more months and counting!!!!

    • lovin’ Columbus, OH

      Columbus, OH is greate place to raise a family.  Only those individuals that have never lived anywhere else say negative things about Columbus.  Columbus has a good infracture and is very family oriented.  Racism and crime is everywhere.  So don’t think because you move you will not experience those things.  We also have to remember that a lot of factors go into the decisions, not just crime or racism.

      • K Smitdog55

        LOVIN’ COLUMBUS, OH must surely be a female; probably a single parent, too!

      • MONIA

        SHE WOULD KNOW IF SHE LIVED THERE ALL HER LIFE. OF COURSE A PERSON WHO HAS JUST MOVED IN THE CITY WOULD HAVE TO GET TO KNOW THE UPS AND DOWNS. SO YOUR STATEMENT……………

  • Kalema

    i live in Atlanta and i am doubtful about this list, we should have been given reasons for why these cities were here.  my daughter is being raised in surburbia for better schools but she ends up being a minority in her classes and even though she is gaining academically, she is losing out in other areas.

  • Rosesister15

    i am curious about DC when we see how neglected schools are, is that info correct???

  • T.S.

    What I expected from the  respondents to this list were, helpful suggestions of places surrounding these cities.  I am sure most of us want good schools, wages/salary, jobs-a-plenty, culture etc…if and when we want to enjoy them. I don’t necessarily want to be in the midst of any city.  But I’d like the surrounding suburbs or quiet area.  So access to the city, but not in it– per se.  Of all the cities on the list, the DC metro area takes the cake.  Especially, the NoVA (Northern Virginia) area.  The only drawback, you pay for what you get. 

    Va has the best schools. DC not so much.  You can take a drive of 30-45 minutes and be in the middle of culture arts, whatever you wish.  The salaries are great. You can build your individual career quickly.  This is the best place for the educated.   The Cons: cost of living for area, esp NoVA, there is always going to be racism-so get that out of your minds.  We live in America.  This country was built on the back of racism.  So it’s just about money. If you have it, you do ok.  The trick is, how to get it.  Plan to make the money and go from there.  Again, best place(seriously) on that entire list-DC Metro. 

    The list should look more like this:

    1. Washington DC Metro–Yes, if you can afford it. Suburban areas provide Great  schools. Great pay. Jobs are plentiful and pay by degree. Most educated people in country; Diversity; Culture; Arts & Entertainment;  Government Center.   Unemployment DC proper- 10.1%     DC Metro Area (DC/MD/VA)-  Unemployment  5.5% (No, I don’t live in D.C.). 

    2.  Birmingham, AL–This is actually a decent place if you can deal with the history and change of pace. 6.8%

    3. Raleigh Durham/CH-  Wages are lower, but cost of living is ok. The city makes it up by taxing  
          everything, every year. 8.0%

    3. Atlanta– Yep, hype; No jobs, lots of traffic, no money-unless you bring it there. Don’t expect to live the good life right away. Unemployment 9.4%

    4. Dallas, TX-Crowded, jobs plenty, mid-range cost of living, no state taxes; Unemployment 7.1%

    5. Houston, TX–Jobs plentiful, way more over crowded than Dallas, traffic/congestion; Unemployment 7.3% 

    7. .Columbus, OH–Friends that have lived here tell me ‘Uhm, No way!’  Bad area for AA’s. Midwestern. Unemployment 7.7%

    8. Memphis, TN–Unemployment 8.8% I don’t personally know anything else. My bias is that it’s TN and not necessarily Nashville.  :-)

    9. 6. Charlotte, NC–no jobs, Subject to the same limitations and characteristics  of Raleigh/Durham, however, it’s a larger city. Up to you for  this one. Home of Bank of America. Unemployment 10.3% 

    10. Jacksonville–Been there. No! No! No!  Not for AA’s.  Double Summers.  Very Soggy/Rainy State. 9.2% Unemployment.  
    No city in Florida is for AA’s or anyone that wants to make money outside of travel and tourism. Very Low Wages. I mean no disrespect when I say this. This is only factual.    If you’re Latino/a-Spanish or bilingual Spanish/English-then yes. If you’re retired and you bring your money, then yes. If you own a business then yes.  (I live in Florida). 

    Good Luck!

    • Vljones66

      I am planning to visit VA this summer. I heard it has a lot to offer African Americans. What I consider of most importance is education (schools), safe neighborhoods, not over populated, decent jobs growth and exposure to culture. I currently live in Erie PA and it was the worst move I have ever made. I grew up in the south in a small town and wanted out and had family in Erie so decided to move here. Somebody “SHOOT” me. I need some help. I really don’t know anyone that resides in VA so l am doing my own research.

    • lovin’ Columbus, OH

      I’m not from Columbus, OH, but I’ve been here for 16 eyears.  Columbus is a great place to raise any family.  The job market is good, the city is very diverse, and opportunities exist.  It is not a party town, but there are always things to do wether it’s family or adult activities.  Those who say negative things have lived here all of their lives and haven’t lived anywhere else.   

  • Jarvisjr75

    I prefer to raise my family in mixed neighborhood. I currently live in Knoxville and it is predominately white, but its has good schools and pretty peaceful. The job market isn’t that good, but cost of living isn’t bad. Not a lot of black culture but that’s for parents to teach. We are from SC but we like it here and plan on staying. I prefer to raise my kids in a city like this.

    • Antonia Thompson

      I agree parents should teach about history, but culture is about living an expierence.

  • Mwilliams12

    Thank you for the list.  I have been looking for better cities to raise my black family.  I currently live in a city that is majority white and very racist.  I went to school for medical assisting, dental assisting, wedding and event planning as well as paralegal and i still can’t find a job in either of my fields and yes I graduaed from them all.  I know that I am more than qualified for the positions but get looked over by someone who has no degree or anything else, its time for a change.    Unfortunetly, it seems that every post I read about blacks and etc someone always has to get on their and make the poll a negative poll.  Keep your negativity to yourself.  Thank you again for the information.

  • Kelly

    yes, but all those cities are full of crime

  • Orlando Coombs

    The thing I’ll say is this. All them
    Cities on the list in Black Enterprise
    Is great and inspiring, but have their downside
    But we as black people must focus more on our successes
    And less on our failures. The negative hype about us is endless
    And yes these problems do exist but we
    Also got many successes as a people to very proud about.
    All the negative hype is among the lower class of our people, and
    Every race of people in this country has their
    The largest underclass is poor white trialer trash in
    Apalachin Mountains in Kentucky and West Virginia, and Virginia
    And Tennessee. Poor White Communities are worse than black ghettoes
    But its kept quiet and pushed under the rug.Many
    Whites themselves confirm this fact many times over and
    I’ve seen it with my own 2 eyes.look it up and see for yourself
    Every race got its underclass: lazy,shiftless,uneducated, and criminal minded
    Neandrathals barely members of the human race.
    Ass backward and uncivilized. So let’s look at the positive
    And tune the negative out. Peace and Love.

  • http://GOogle ive

    Also i dont think so many americans now days care so much about ethnic diversity.Im from california,very intergrated, people interact very well,but when it comes down to buisness,jobs,entertainment etc. you get different views,as well as fake smiles and fake hand shakes.schools not so good, gangs off the chain,every race,economy backwards,and try owning a home,besides the weather,diverse of people,and urban quality, which a plus, dont make it know better ether.large or small progressive community do

  • http://GOogle ive

    That’s all true!! i think the black family situation is worsen, mainly because no one never talk about it, but to many kids having kids espicially in the ghetto neighborhoods.that’s what lead poverty,crime,drop out rates,and self hatred, same for hispanic americans i agree! But the true topic is best metro for black families, lot of them is better than other metro when take place demographic,not so much ethnic groups.

  • common thought

    Or have we removed ourselves so far from that humane black society in which well brought up adults could see a child doing something wrong and spank there butt and send them home and the parents spanked there butt as well and everybody went to church on Sunday and we all had cookouts as a community. That’s the black society the created the civil rights movement, biggest threat to our families at the that time was church bombings and now it’s a fatherless and/or uneducated black man/boy with a gun, pit bull, AIDS or a liking for young children, that values a ignorant rapper backed by a big corporation that profits from the erosion of black families. But I think this list is a great idea and should be on the web but with a little more thought. I’ve been to most of these cities and can tell you that they are not the BEST places for any Family, but some do have their good parts.

    • MONIA

      AGREE TO DISAGREE. YOU ARE SO CORRECT. THESE CITIES ARE NOT A GOOD PLACE TO TRY AND RAISE A FAMILY. THE BLACK RACE IS NOT THE ONLY RACE WITH HIV/AIDS, OR WITH GUNS, PITBULLS, AND IGNORANT RAPPERS. THE BLACK RACE HAS IN SLAVED SELF. AND IS SO SAD WITH NO UNITY.

  • common thought

    I think us Americans of African descent look at things that doesn’t affect the family life, and concentrate on thing that affect how we adults feel and want to live. The public school systems in most of the cities on the list are really bad and are breeding ground for negative black youth. Another thing is look and the rate of sexual assault on minors in Jacksonville alone, how can we raise our families in a place where we can't even feel safe letting them walk home from school. Most of these places are major metropolitan areas and the list doesn't specify suburban or surrounding areas and the intercity is typically not the ideal place to raise a well rounded family. I looked at some other lists, including forbs and found the grading criteria more suitable for family life but didn't take in account the black experience and what would make that place safe, stimulating, and relevant for proud black families and this list missed the mark as well,(continuedon next comment)

  • Darrell W. Roberson

    The African-American Black Queen birthing & raising our children are what makes this world worth livin…recognize and keep them above all this bias rhetoric…and everything else will follow in stride. They are and always will be "Life" and a breath of fresh air to a world gone mad…Simply to say read your bible and heed it's "Will" for us all…

  • http://Google ive

    That is so very true, i never understand why certain people get on these sites that dont have anything to do with their well being. But turn a positive topic into a negative one. insane or just ignorant

  • DrNorma

    Additional thought: I am surprised that some non-blacks racism is so behind the times. We have extremist groups from every section of the earth that would seek to see America fall, especially white America. The only group that infuriates certain people to post are a small group of black people looking for suggestions from other black people for decent places to raise a family? Madness!

  • http://Google Ive

    ha ha ha ! wow i guess some people will never get it,probably mad because we have a different president in the white house! Or america becoming a multiethnic majority i dont know. But every group has an agenda,not everything is the same,people have favorites,and different needs.some people like areas spread out like dallas,some want more of a city like DC. As well as culture or lifestyle, of course good schools and less crimes thats common since you might have the education that you inherited but not common knowledge dam. ms edum o for get it

  • TWO Master Degrees

    It amazes me how people can turn something so innocent as a list into a racist topic. It's unfortunate that in 2011 how much ignorance & hate still exists. Anyway, thank you for the list. It is very informative to highly educated Black Americans who are looking to relocate their families to areas where Blacks are excelling.

    • MONIA

      wOULD YOU LIVE IN THESE CITIES. YOU SAY THAT ITS IGNORANCE, THEN WHY IS IT ALL CITIES THAT ARE HIGH IN CRIME THAT IS LISTED FOR BLACK FAMILIES?

  • http://GOogle ive

    i do agree with that comment detroit gets bad press,but thats media the reality detroit has the most black owned buisnesses in the nation by percentage government is run by black americans,social political and earning stand point is progressing and obama contributing alot in the midwest cities.plus detroit have a nice waterfront only thing need more public transportation

  • Tekey

    Well I cant speak for Gary but I lived in Detroit for four years then I moved to Florida and I want to go back home to Detroit. I am a lpn and I made the most money in DETROIT I am tired of the D getting a bad rap If you want to do anything in life or accomplish educational goals you can do it in Detroit I cant wait to go back HOME to the D. lol

  • G Marie

    I think the point is to acknowledge THRIVING African American cities. I cannot speak personally about Detroit, but I know for a fact that there isnt much enterprise in Gary.

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  • joseph

    What about Detroit? I hear that it's mostly black, and comming back.

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  • Deanna

    Why is Atlanta constantly on these list? I am a native of Atlanta. Lived in this city all my life. I am a college graduate with a pretty good career. Atlanta is full of"hype" both economically and socially. The job market is terrible. Traffic is horrible. The dating scene is horrible. What kills me about people who move here…they expect instant success! They see other black people living in nice homes, driving nice cars, and dining at the most "fabulous" restaurants that this city offers and they get caught up! It takes hard work people; and trying to keep up with the Joneses is not the answer people! When these people finally realize it takes hard work to achieve these "luxuries" its too late. If you move to Atlanta or any city have sensible plan of action

    • The one

      About time someone spoke the truth. Atlanta is all about status. Most people own these nice houses and cars but are thousands in debt. Heck, I can buy a 5 year old Range Rover for pennies on the dollar just to look cool. That doesn't mean I am rich,

    • Rod

      Same thing with Houston. I lived there for 3.5 years and was treated terribly.

  • http://GOogle ivory

    I dont think that was apropriate’it was acknowledging more vibrant communities and culture.lifestyle.and buisness.which sometimes these communites dont get reconized only negative staments like you had put out. But you want to no cities you be interest in?hears the list portland austin pittsburg phoenix salt lake boulder minneapolis boston probably to diverse.fargo nd. Millwauke denver seattle san fran that might have to many chinese americans? i know they love the city but the majority dont like it no more i wonder why.

    • edu-ma-cated girl

      I came across your comment while searching for great neighborhoods for families. I thought that maybe I'd find something in this post about the actual raising of families. Above all else, schools should be at the top of ANY parents priorities. I think your grammar alone speaks volumes to why most caucasians would prefer to raise their families away from these "Top 10" for african americans. I recently moved to Jacksonville, FL and I can tell you right now…there's not much for "culture, lifestyle OR business." It has some of the worst schools in the nation. What Jacksonville does offer for the poor black community is plenty of people just like them. Poor english, poor ethics, plenty of places to loiter, be lazy and rude, and other things that black people are stereo-typed for in general. I think it is such a shame that a list like this even exists. You people (ya, I just said that) complain about not being treated equal, yet you create lists for black people, groups for black people…heck, you people even get hired for jobs you aren't qualified for, or into universities you could never afford, SIMPLY because you are black. THAT is what is wrong with this country.
      The best place to raise a family…black, white, asian, indian, or purple, green and blue…is as far away from large groups of "african-americans".
      And just to back up my claim…in case you really are in denial…check out the crime statistics for these cities. Then right next to it, note the percentage of population by race. Take note of the overcrowded jail systems…and then note the ethnic background breakdown of the inmates.

      • weverley

        Are you for REAL??? You need to educate yourself about race relations in America(past AND present) then… COME AGAIN!!!! Your ignorance is shameful!

      • Yuppers

        Edu-ma-cated girl- Lets tell the truth. Your daughter married a black man, had a black baby and ran away from your ignorance. You are so desperate to find her that you fell on this list after you got your next door neighbor to show you how to use a computer. I hate to tell you but this site and most of the people that visit it are above your intelligence, most likely above your pay grade, and are not easily hurt by people like you. I hope you find your daughter.

  • http://GOogle Ive

    TO ebony or ignorant

  • Ebony

    This is a great list, now I know which cities to avoid. If you could next put up the top 10 for white families that’d be great, or would you consider it racist?

    • Tired of Stupid

      WOW!!! I almost forgot how ignorant some people can be!!! Actually, we need to know what city YOU are in so WE can avoid that city, Ebony. You obviously have some unresolved hurt or pain stored up in your heart to take an innocent list like this and turn it into something ugly. I do pray that you and people like you get some help with your inner issues.

    • MRS. K

      Are you serious? God does not like ugly, but after a comment like yours, I am sure he is not pleased. It is people like you that keep the division of stupidity strong, the sad part is you hide your face behind the internet. I feel so sorry for you, and will keep you in my prayers, I hope God does not judge you the way you judge others.

    • Mmda223

      Since white people are the “majority” I’m sure they’ll do fine anywhere.  After all whites are the main ones who became rich from the FREE labor of slaves.  Maybe if blacks could be reimbursed for ALL the hard work location wouldn’t matter. But I’m sure you already know this…

  • http://Google ivory

    I believe indianapolis should of been on the list because its one of the fastest growing cities among black americans.also produce a large black middle class families; income level among one of the highest its diverse 2nd after columbus and vibrant black history madame cj walker was the first black millionare women.