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St. John, Chesterton, Munster and Dyer rank among the best places in Indiana for families

Veterans Civic Park behind the Town Hall in St. John. The town was named one of the best places in Indiana to raise a family.

St. John, Chesterton, Munster and Dyer were ranked among the best places in Indiana for families to live.

The personal finance website WalletHub's 2019 "Best Places to Live in Indiana for Families" named Fishers, Zionsville and Carmel as the best communities for raising kids in the Hoosier state.

“In a WalletHub analysis, Indiana outranked 30 states in socioeconomics and 38 in affordability when it comes to raising a family,” WalletHub said in a news release. “And when it comes to health care openness and access, Indiana’s is one of the better states for parents and their kids.”

But the study found some cities in Indiana are more “family-friendly” than others.

“To determine the places in Indiana that are most conducive to family life, WalletHub compared more than 70 cities in the state across 21 key livability indicators,” WalletHub said in the news release. “Our data set ranges from housing affordability to quality of school system to unemployment rate. Read on for the full ranking, experts’ take on certain family matters and our detailed methodology.”

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St. John ranked 12th statewide, and was first in Indiana in socioeconomic rank and second in education, health and safety, but 76th in family life and fun. St. John had the lowest violent crime rate, the third-lowest divorce rate and the fifth-highest median family income adjusted for cost of living, earning it the top spot in Northwest Indiana despite having some of the least affordable housing in Indiana.

Statewide, Chesterton was 14th among the best places for families to live, Munster 19th, Dyer 21st, Crown Point 22nd and Valparaiso 26th. Dyer and Crown Point had two of the lowest violent crime rates in the state.

Further down the list, Portage placed 44th, Schererville 46th, Highland 48th, Cedar Lake 49th, Merrillville 51st, Hobart 53rd and Griffith 57th. LaPorte came in 61st, Lake Station 66th, Michigan City 73rd, Hammond 76th, East Chicago 77th and Gary 78th.

Gary, which was dead last in the ranking, finished 78th in socioeconomics; 77th in affordability; 72nd in family, life and fun; and 67th in education, health and safety. East Chicago placed last statewide in affordability for having the lowest median family income adjusted for cost of living.

East Chicago, Gary and Michigan City ranked among the highest percentage of families living in poverty, while Michigan City and Gary also had some of the highest divorce rates in the state.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.