Got kids? Bring them on down to Tucson.

Two cute Tucson kids/Ryn Gargulinski

Two cute Tucson kids/Ryn Gargulinski

Old Pueblo is the top place in Arizona for families to thrive, according to BusinessWeek’s annual “Best Places to Raise Your Kids” rankings.

Tucson hit Arizona’s top spot, with the runners up being Yuma and Casas Adobes.

We have a feeling the ranking committee has never been to Yuma.

We also have a feeling they may not have come to Tucson, either – or at least tried to get anywhere on a bus if they did.

“It’s (also) a relatively affordable place to live,” the report said of Tucson, “with more than 100 parks, a good public transportation system, and many public and private golf courses.”

Tucson school yards are counted as parks, by the way.

But the golf courses are important. We know how much kids love to golf away their Saturday mornings.

The ranking focused on towns that have a population of at least 45,000 and a median income of $40,000 to $125,000. BusinessWeek picked one top spot from each state, and two runners up, if applicable. Alaska’s Anchorage had no runners up.

Natural sandbox option/Ryn Gargulinski

Natural sandbox option/Ryn Gargulinski

Towns were then judged on their air quality; family income; job growth; theaters; diversity; household expenditures; crime rate; number of schools and their performance; museums and those school yard parks.

Based on those categories, it’s obvious why Tucson made the cut. Our air quality definitely beats out places like Los Angeles. We only get air quality warnings when there is a blinding, dusty wind or massive brush fires in the distance spewing ashes into our atmosphere.

Families usually make enough to live on – as long as they still have their jobs. But we are not sure why the job growth category didn’t kick us out of the mix altogether, as it seems Tucson jobs are shrinking.

The report mentioned University of Arizona as being one of the biggest employers, but it failed to mention the school’s hiring freezes.

For theaters, we got the Fox, The Loft and that cheapie place with $2 tickets at Grant and Swan roads.

Household expenditures often lack snow pants, furry boots and ski masks.

Pima Air and Space Museum probably got us hovering near the top in the museum category, and bless those school yards, as they helped us kick butt in the parks category. Tucson also has six dog parks, eight if you count the two in the county.

Not bad.

The rankings also left out some other reasons why Tucson is a great place to raise kids:

Bilingual studies. Children will automatically be immersed in the study of the Spanish language, hopefully learning key phrases, like “Your mother wears combat boots,” from their classmates.

Natural sandbox. Never mind those chintzy plastic backyard boxes, Tucson has a glorious sandbox created by God. Kids can find hours of pleasure in the dry riverbeds and washes, like the diapered child I once saw frolicking in the sands of the Rillito. All the rocks, glass shards, coyote feces and horse manure makes for some very interesting mud pies.

Less environmental dangers. Sure, we have prickly, eye-poking cactus and those pesky killer rattlesnakes, but there is absolutely no chance a kid will drown in the ocean or be swept out to sea. Few Tucson children are injured from slipping on ice or getting lost and buried in the snow.

Even though I am poking fun, I think Tucson can rock for anyone.

wb-logolilWhat do you think?

Is Tucson an awesome place to raise kids? Why or why not?

What about Yuma or Casas

What criteria would you use for ranking a place good for kids?

Where were you raised? Was it good for kids?

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