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American cities with the biggest families
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American cities with the biggest families

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Over the past several decades, American families have gradually been getting smaller. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of households with children under 18 hovered between 45 and 50 percent during the baby boom of the 1950s and 1960s. Today, just 26.4 percent of American households have children under 18.


Over the same time period, the average number of children per household also declined—a trend that has, in part, caused overall population growth in the U.S. to slow to its lowest level in over a century. Among family households with kids, the average number of biological children under 18 is 1.85, well below the replacement rate of 2.1 births per woman.

While the national trend points to a decline in the number and size of families with children, there is significant regional variation. For example, Utah is the only state in which the average number of children under 18 is greater than 2.1. Utah also has the largest share of households with children under 18, at 33 percent. Conversely, East Coast states tend to have fewer children per household and fewer households with kids, with Maine and West Virginia reporting just 1.71 and 1.72 children under 18 per household, respectively.


To find which metropolitan areas have the biggest families, researchers at Lattice Publishing analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Its researchers calculated the average number of children under 18 in households with children under 18 and the percentage of households with children under 18. In addition, the researchers looked at the difference in median household income between households with children under 18 and all households. To improve relevance, metropolitan areas were grouped into cohorts based on population size: large metros (1,000,000 residents or more), midsize metros (350,000-999,999 residents), and small metros (less than 350,000 residents).


Similar to the state-level trends, the largest families tend to be located in the West or the Midwest, and no major population centers in the Northeast made the list. Here are the metropolitan areas with the largest families.


Large Metros With the Biggest Families

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1. Salt Lake City, UT

  • Average number of children in households w/ children: 2.12
  • Percentage of households w/ children: 32.5%
  • Median household income (households w/ children): $81,048
  • Median household income (all households): $69,904

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

2. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

  • Average number of children in households w/ children: 1.96
  • Percentage of households w/ children: 29.8%
  • Median household income (households w/ children): $67,478
  • Median household income (all households): $61,785

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

3. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ

  • Average number of children in households w/ children: 1.94
  • Percentage of households w/ children: 25.1%
  • Median household income (households w/ children): $71,103
  • Median household income (all households): $61,114

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

4. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI

  • Average number of children in households w/ children: 1.92
  • Percentage of households w/ children: 27.9%
  • Median household income (households w/ children): $101,512
  • Median household income (all households): $75,409

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

5. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI

  • Average number of children in households w/ children: 1.92
  • Percentage of households w/ children: 25.5%
  • Median household income (households w/ children): $82,228
  • Median household income (all households): $59,958

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

6. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

  • Average number of children in households w/ children: 1.89
  • Percentage of households w/ children: 31.2%
  • Median household income (households w/ children): $74,159
  • Median household income (all households): $65,258

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

7. Memphis, TN-MS-AR

  • Average number of children in households w/ children: 1.89
  • Percentage of households w/ children: 24.6%
  • Median household income (households w/ children): $58,962
  • Median household income (all households): $51,792

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

8. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

  • Average number of children in households w/ children: 1.88
  • Percentage of households w/ children: 31.3%
  • Median household income (households w/ children): $76,409
  • Median household income (all households): $67,070

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

9. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV

  • Average number of children in households w/ children: 1.88
  • Percentage of households w/ children: 23.3%
  • Median household income (households w/ children): $63,261
  • Median household income (all households): $56,424

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

10. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI

  • Average number of children in households w/ children: 1.87
  • Percentage of households w/ children: 26.5%
  • Median household income (households w/ children): $84,421
  • Median household income (all households): $68,768

Large Metros With the Smallest Families

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1. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL

  • Average number of children in households w/ children: 1.69
  • Percentage of households w/ children: 21.9%
  • Median household income (households w/ children): $62,613
  • Median household income (all households): $53,694

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

2. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

  • Average number of children in households w/ children: 1.73
  • Percentage of households w/ children: 32.2%
  • Median household income (households w/ children): $144,541
  • Median household income (all households): $115,978

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

3. Providence-Warwick, RI-MA

  • Average number of children in households w/ children: 1.74
  • Percentage of households w/ children: 23.2%
  • Median household income (households w/ children): $80,795
  • Median household income (all households): $64,222


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4. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

  • Average number of children in households w/ children: 1.74
  • Percentage of households w/ children: 26.2%
  • Median household income (households w/ children): $126,943
  • Median household income (all households): $99,573

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

5. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT

  • Average number of children in households w/ children: 1.75
  • Percentage of households w/ children: 24.2%
  • Median household income (households w/ children): $97,528
  • Median household income (all households): $75,491

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

6. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL

  • Average number of children in households w/ children: 1.76
  • Percentage of households w/ children: 19.5%
  • Median household income (households w/ children): $67,988
  • Median household income (all households): $52,744

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

7. Pittsburgh, PA

  • Average number of children in households w/ children: 1.76
  • Percentage of households w/ children: 19.9%
  • Median household income (households w/ children): $84,939
  • Median household income (all households): $58,368

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

8. Birmingham-Hoover, AL

  • Average number of children in households w/ children: 1.76
  • Percentage of households w/ children: 22.6%
  • Median household income (households w/ children): $68,981
  • Median household income (all households): $53,534

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

9. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH

  • Average number of children in households w/ children: 1.76
  • Percentage of households w/ children: 25.6%
  • Median household income (households w/ children): $115,978
  • Median household income (all households): $85,654

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

10. New Orleans-Metairie, LA

  • Average number of children in households w/ children: 1.77
  • Percentage of households w/ children: 21.5%
  • Median household income (households w/ children): $64,240
  • Median household income (all households): $51,364

Methodology & Detailed Findings

There are large differences in income between families with children and families without children. The median household income for families with children under 18 is nearly $14,000 higher than the median income for all American households. However, there is no clear correlation between the median income of households with kids and the average number of kids in those households. In other words, cities with more affluent parents do not have a higher average number of kids per household or vice versa.

As Baby Boomers reach retirement age and birth rates continue to decline, the U.S. population is rapidly aging. An aging population can change the fabric of the U.S. economy through impending labor shortages and increased demand for healthcare services. However, there are other factors that can mitigate its effects. Data from Pew Research Center shows that women in the U.S. are putting off having children until later in life, but are more likely to have children than they were 10 years ago. In addition, immigration has helped offset declines in population growth, and the immigrant share of the population is near a record high.


Statistics on family size and income were derived from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey PUMS 5-Year Estimates. For the purpose of this analysis only biological children living with at least one parent were included. Additionally, vacant housing units were excluded from the analysis.

Metropolitan statistical areas were sorted according to the average number of children under 18 in households with children under 18. In the event of a tie, the location with the higher percentage of households with children under 18 was ranked above. To improve relevance, metropolitan areas were grouped into the following population size cohorts: large metros (1,000,000 or more), midsize metros (350,000-999,999), and small metros (less than 350,000).

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