Why a family-friendly cities index?
Canadians are more mobile than ever. Those considering relocation can consult a growing list of indices evaluating the best cities in which to do business, to play sports, to get an education, to experience the arts…the list goes on and on. This index is about putt ing all the important family-friendly factors together into one place. Choosing where to raise a family means taking many diff erent factors into consideration.
A good business environment with a solid economy is important, but if the cost of living in a given city is exceptionally high, the advantages of a growing economy are diminished. A strong sense of community is likewise important, but if this is achieved through high tax rates, again, the drawbacks may outweigh the benefits. Day to day costs of housing, food and utilities, gas and transportation make a critical difference, as does the amount of income consumed by governments; there’s little benefit for the average Canadian to a thriving community in which few can afford to live.
The freedom of families to make their own choices, close-knit and healthy communities with low crime rates, education options and economic strength —all these and more are part of what makes a place great for a family to live.
A family-friendly city will attract more families, who will contribute to the community themselves. Healthy, thriving families help create great cities as much as a city can ever off er a package of goods to attract families. The two reinforce each other.
We live in an era where a heightened sensitivity to individual rights may lead us to believe the family—stable marriages and healthy kids—matters less. The reality is that healthy marriages are as relevant today as ever, precisely because Canadian statistics show that fewer of us are getting married, and more of us are raising children in common-law unions or as single parents.1 Families are the heart of our nation, our provinces and our cities and when families break down, our communities and our economy suffer.2