Leander is the top city in Texas to raise a family, according to a study released by SmartAsset, a national mortgage and financial organization.
SmartAsset said it gave Leander its top family ranking after analyzing data from more than 85 cities across the Lone Star State.
"We are honored to be recognized as the State's number one family-friendly community,” said Mike Neu, Leander's public affairs officer. “It speaks to the high quality of our young city and its people, and we believe this standard will continue as the city grows. It's one of many reasons I'm proud to call Leander my home."
Being named the number one place to raise a family is sure to have a positive impact on the already growing real estate business in the Leander area.
"Leander tops our list of the best places to raise a family in Texas," the SmartAsset announcement said. "In order to find the best cities in Texas to raise a family, we looked at factors like the graduation rate, percent of population age 19 or younger, Advanced Placement participation rate and percent of students scoring highly on AP tests."
In order to find the best cities to raise a family, SmartAsset looked at eight factors. Data on high school graduation rates; the percentage of students proficient in math and reading; the percentage of the population who are under the age of 20; the percentage of people living below the poverty level; the unemployment rate; the crime rate; the annual cost of child care for an infant; and housing costs as a percentage of income.
"We are tickled pink," said well-known Leander real estate broker Don Hemingway of Crystal Falls Realty. "This is the right time, and Leander is the right town."
Leander also offers some of the best education opportunities, according to SmartAsset.
"The city has a graduation rate of 96 percent, the seventh-highest rate in the study. And Leander kids aren’t just graduating, they are excelling,” the SmartAsset report said. “About 33 percent of students take at least one AP exam, and over 73 percent of students who took an AP exam scored well. For both of those metrics alone, Leander ranks in the top 10."
Leander’s steady growth was also a factor. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Leander was the fastest growing city in the nation from 2014 to 2015 of all cities with a population over 15,000. From 2010 to 2015 Leander grew by more than 42 percent.
"We have good schools, medical care and a growing retail marketplace," said Hemingway. "The growth is phenomenal. Our great school district saw all of this growth coming and prepared for it. So did the city; they were planning for this growth 15 years ago and they certainly deserve a pat on the back."
Two other area cities also made SmartAsset's best place to raise a family rankings. Georgetown was No. 8, although SmartAsset cautioned that the city has higher property tax rates than other nearby cities. Round Rock was ranked No. 9 and SmartAsset noted that, at $1,250 per month, the city has one of the area's lowest median housing costs.