The 10 Best Detroit Suburbs To Raise A Family

Ranging from small towns, cities, and villages, Detroit's suburbs have great schools, lower homeowners insurance rates and other perks.

After examining data on 59 suburbs in the Detroit metropolitan area, we compiled a list of Detroit's best suburbs to raise a family based on their school score and park score. The school score reflects the percentage of high school students who scored "proficient" or "advanced'" on state tests from MI School Data, while the park score uses data from Southeast Michigan ParkFinder.

1. Royal Oak

Population: 57,236

Percent of students meeting state academic standards: 78 percent

Number of parks: 56

Royal Oak has a prime location for commuters, as it sits adjacent to Woodward Avenue, Detroit's main drag, and two major interstates, I-696 and I-75. Maintaining a small town vibe with metropolitan flair, Royal Oak's amenities include its downtown strip, parks and more. The population represents a diverse mix of ethnicities, age groups and incomes. The joint effort of a proactive city government and Downtown Development Authority are behind the city's thriving central business district, and the downtown plays host to special events including the massive Arts, Beats & Eats festival. 

2. Novi

Population: 55,224

Percent of students meeting state academic standards: 76 percent

Number of parks: 34

Novi has excellent schools, quality public services, safe neighborhoods and natural scenery. Novi is home to more than 60 Japanese businesses and at least 14 from Germany. Located near four major expressways, Novi is near health care, technology and automotive industry jobs. The Twelve Oaks Mall and The Fountain Walk offer a collection of restaurants, entertainment activities and a movie theater.

3. Livonia

Population: 96,942

Percent of students meeting state academic standards: 53 percent

Number of parks: 70

Although Livonia is Michigan's ninth-largest city, it still maintains a sense of small town community. The western suburb is home to commercial and industrial sectors, restaurants and retail stores. Livonia residents are near Laurel Park Place, an upscale fashion mall with 74 stores at 6 Mile Road and Newburgh Road. 

4. Troy

Population: 80,980

Percent of students meeting state academic standards: 74 percent

Number of parks: 20

Troy is at the center of Oakland County, north of Detroit and only 20 minutes from downtown via I-75. Troy has two golf courses and shopping centers, including the luxury Somerset Mall, which has retailers such as Prada, Gucci, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. Troy also boasts a great public school district that produces with high test scores.

5. Birmingham

Population: 20,103

Percent of students meeting state academic standards: 72.5 percent

Number of parks: 21

Located between Detroit and Pontiac, Birmingham is surrounded by a cluster of suburban cities such as Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, Royal Oak, Troy and Beverly Hills. The city is known mostly for its concentration of wealthy residents. Residents enjoy a small town vibe with the benefits of an urban and affluent area. The high property value provides great amenities and a downtown area with a collection of high-end shops and services. Birmingham has nearly 300 retailers, including restaurants, clothing stores, gift stores, salons, spas, antique shops and art galleries.

6. Rochester Hills

Population: 70,995

Percent of students meeting state academic standards: 61.2 percent

Number of parks: 34

Rochester Hills boasts a well-educated population. Rochester Hills is a zoned community with a Master Land Use Plan and is home to a wide variety of corporate headquarters in areas such as computer technology, electronic research, development and manufacturing, precision machine tool fabrication, structural engineering and many more.

7. Grosse Pointe Farms

Population: 9,479

Percent of students meeting state academic standards: 78 percent

Number of parks: 3

Since its establishment in 1892, Grosse Pointe Farms has provided a beautiful, upscale suburban community on the shores of Lake St. Clair with standout homes, excellent schools, and safe neighborhoods that are a short ride on Jefferson Avenue or I-94 from downtown Detroit. 

8. Grosse Pointe Park

Population: 11,555

Percent of students meeting state academic standards: 78 percent

Number of parks: 2

Grosse Pointe Park sits on the border of Detroit and the other Grosse Pointe communities. Filled with beautiful homes near Lake Saint Clair, Grosse Pointe offers beautiful scenic views, a waterfront park with two outdoor pool  and a private marina. The community is part of a high-performing school district and has private school options as well. The popular small business district has quaint shops, boutiques, salons, art galleries, coffee shops and a variety of bars and restaurants. 

9. Northville

Population: 5,970

Percent of students meeting state academic standards: 77 percent

Number of parks: 9

Northville has a historic downtown and neighborhoods with top-notch schools, historic buildings, a plethora of parks and quality city services. The 19th-century homes and historic sites draw visitors from across Michigan. Northville's greatest attraction may be its numerous parks and trails. 

10. Sterling Heights

Population: 129,699

Percent of students meeting state academic standards: 51 percent

Number of parks: 39

There's no doubt Sterling Heights is one of the best suburbs to raise a family, providing a quality of life with exceptional neighborhoods, a great library, and several beautiful parks. In addition to low crimes rates and taxes, Macomb County's Sterling Heights has a number of activities geared toward children. The city hosts major events such as the Sterlingfest Art and Jazz Fair, which attracts more than 100,000 people.

Our Methodology

Benzinga recorded the percentage of high school students who scored "proficient" or "advanced" (0-100) in all subjects on state tests (M-STEP, MI-Access, and SAT) for the 2017-2018 academic year for each Detroit suburb. In some areas, there was more than one high school, so the average was calculated. Alternative, adult education and technical high schools were not counted. The data was taken from MI School Data, which is hosted by the State of Michigan. Benzinga scored each city based on the percentage and gave it a 0.667 weight in the final score.

Using data from Southeast Michigan ParkFinder, Benzinga recorded the number of parks in town, which include the following categories: trails and fitness, sports and games, winter recreation, water recreation, outdoor recreation, amenities and facilities. Benzinga scored each city based on the number of parks and gave the score a 0.334 weight in the final score.

Population data was taken from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 findings and was not used in the rankings.

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Photo by OmidGul/Wikimedia. 

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