Best counties to raise a family in New York

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (STACKER) — Known in other parts of the world as shires, provinces, or territories, the United States’ counties (also known in certain states as boroughs or parishes) date back to the 1600s, when settlers first came to find freedom from British rule. Today, those counties remain, with the 50 states divided into several, each with its own unique makeup.

For people looking to find a home to raise a family in, choosing a county is an important decision. Most families place affordable homes, safe neighborhoods, a quality school system, and family-friendly activities at the top of their wishlists.

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to raise a family in New York using data from Niche. Niche ranks counties based on a variety of factors including cost of living, schools, healthcare, recreation and weather.

The list features counties that boast some of the top schools and fun, family-friendly activities for every season. Keep reading to explore the best counties to raise a family. Maybe you’ll find one that suits your brood.

Daniel Case // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Genesee County

– Population: 57,808
– Median home value: $119,800 (72% own)
– Median rent: $747 (28% rent)
– Median household income: $60,524
– Top public schools: Byron-Bergen Elementary School (B+), Wolcott Street School (B+), John Kennedy Intermediate School (B+)
– Top private schools: Notre Dame High School (B+), St. Joseph Elementary School (unavailable), St. Paul Lutheran School (unavailable)
– Top places to live: Batavia (B), Le Roy (B+), Pembroke (B)

Benjamin D. Esham (bdesham) // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Livingston County

– Population: 63,591
– Median home value: $129,400 (75% own)
– Median rent: $798 (25% rent)
– Median household income: $59,510
– Top public schools: Avon High School (A-), Caledonia-Mumford Elementary School (B+), Livonia Senior High School (B+)
– Top private schools: Lima Christian School (A-), St. Agnes Elementary School (unavailable), Genesee Country Christian School (unavailable)
– Top places to live: Dansville (B-), Geneseo (A-), Lima (A-)

Eric Richards // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Sullivan County

– Population: 75,116
– Median home value: $172,800 (68% own)
– Median rent: $890 (32% rent)
– Median household income: $57,426
– Top public schools: Sullivan West Elementary School (B), Sullivan West Secondary School (B), Livingston Manor Elementary School (B)
– Top private schools: Fallsburg Cheder School/Bais Yaakov (unavailable), The Homestead School (unavailable), Talmud Torah Imrei Burech (unavailable)
– Top places to live: Wurtsboro (C+), Monticello (C), South Fallsburg (C-)

Marduk // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Steuben County

– Population: 96,422
– Median home value: $99,600 (73% own)
– Median rent: $695 (27% rent)
– Median household income: $53,663
– Top public schools: Corning-Painted Post High School (A), Hugh W. Gregg Elementary School (A-), Frederick Carder Elementary School (A-)
– Top private schools: Corning Christian Academy (B), Alternative School for Math & Science (unavailable), All Saints Academy (unavailable)
– Top places to live: Gang Mills (A), Painted Post (A), Corning (A-)

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#21. Oneida County

– Population: 229,959
– Median home value: $127,700 (67% own)
– Median rent: $766 (33% rent)
– Median household income: $56,027
– Top public schools: New Hartford Senior High School (A), Perry Junior High School (A), Robert L. Bradley Elementary School (A)
– Top private schools: Notre Dame Junior/Senior High School (A-), Holy Cross Academy (B-), Notre Dame Elementary School (unavailable)
– Top places to live: Clinton (A+), Washington Mills (A-), Whitesboro (B+)

Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#20. Jefferson County

– Population: 112,842
– Median home value: $149,900 (56% own)
– Median rent: $987 (44% rent)
– Median household income: $52,685
– Top public schools: Calcium Primary School (A), Indian River High School (A-), Antwerp Primary School (A-)
– Top private schools: Immaculate Heart Central Junior/Senior High School (A-), Faith Fellowship Christian School (C+), Immaculate Heart Elementary School (unavailable)
– Top places to live: Black River (B+), West Carthage (B-), Carthage (C+)

Fred Hsu // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Ulster County

– Population: 178,665
– Median home value: $230,500 (68% own)
– Median rent: $1,112 (32% rent)
– Median household income: $64,304
– Top public schools: New Paltz Senior High School (A), Onteora High School (A), New Paltz Middle School (A-)
– Top private schools: Woodstock Day School (A-), Mountain Laurel Waldorf School (A), Kingston Catholic School (unavailable)
– Top places to live: Hurley (A-), Tillson (B+), West Hurley (B+)

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#18. Broome County

– Population: 193,188
– Median home value: $117,000 (65% own)
– Median rent: $776 (35% rent)
– Median household income: $52,226
– Top public schools: Vestal Senior High School (A), African Road Elementary School (A), Vestal Hills Elementary School (A)
– Top private schools: Seton Catholic Central High School (A), Ross Corners Christian Academy (B-), Central Baptist Christian Academy (C+)
– Top places to live: Endwell (A-), Port Dickinson (A-), Chenango Bridge (B+)

Mihai_Andritoiu // Shutterstock

#17. Niagara County

– Population: 210,820
– Median home value: $125,600 (71% own)
– Median rent: $703 (29% rent)
– Median household income: $55,522
– Top public schools: Primary Education Center (A), Starpoint Middle School (A), Lewiston Porter Senior High School (A)
– Top private schools: Christian Academy of Western New York (B), St. John Lutheran School (A), DeSales Catholic School (unavailable)
– Top places to live: Youngstown (A-), Rapids (B+), North Tonawanda (B)

Matt H. Wade // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Rensselaer County

– Population: 159,185
– Median home value: $188,700 (63% own)
– Median rent: $973 (37% rent)
– Median household income: $68,991
– Top public schools: Red Mill School (A), Green Meadow School (A), Bell Top School (A)
– Top private schools: Emma Willard School (A+), Hoosac School (A+), The Doane Stuart School (A+)
– Top places to live: West Sand Lake (A-), Averill Park (B+), Hampton Manor (B+)

UpstateNYer // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Schenectady County

– Population: 154,859
– Median home value: $169,600 (66% own)
– Median rent: $945 (34% rent)
– Median household income: $65,499
– Top public schools: Niskayuna High School (A+), Rosendale School (A+), Hillside Elementary School (A+)
– Top private schools: Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons School (B+), Mekeel Christian Academy (B), St. Helens School (unavailable)
– Top places to live: Northside (A-), Union Street (A-), East Glenville (B+)

Daniel Case // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Ontario County

– Population: 109,511
– Median home value: $161,800 (74% own)
– Median rent: $896 (26% rent)
– Median household income: $64,944
– Top public schools: Victor Senior High School (A+), Canandaigua Academy (A), Victor Junior High School (A-)
– Top private schools: St. Mary School (unavailable), St. Francis de Sales-St. Stephen School (unavailable), Canandaigua Montessori School (unavailable)
– Top places to live: Canandaigua (A-), Geneva (B), Shortsville (B)

Tim Hettler from New York, NY, USA // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Suffolk County

– Population: 1,483,832
– Median home value: $397,400 (81% own)
– Median rent: $1,742 (19% rent)
– Median household income: $101,031
– Top public schools: Half Hollow Hills High School West (A+), Half Hollow Hills High School East (A+), Ward Melville Senior High School (A+)
– Top private schools: The Stony Brook School (A+), Ross School (A+), The Knox School (A+)
– Top places to live: Cold Spring Harbor (A+), Stony Brook (A+), Dix Hills (A+)

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#12. Erie County

– Population: 919,355
– Median home value: $153,400 (65% own)
– Median rent: $829 (35% rent)
– Median household income: $58,121
– Top public schools: Williamsville East High School (A+), P.S. 195 – City Honors School (A+), Dodge Elementary School (A+)
– Top private schools: Nichols School (A+), Canisius High School (A+), Buffalo Seminary (A+)
– Top places to live: Williamsville (A+), Eggertsville (A+), Clarence Center (A+)

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#11. Albany County

– Population: 306,968
– Median home value: $222,500 (56% own)
– Median rent: $1,022 (44% rent)
– Median household income: $66,252
– Top public schools: Shaker High School (A+), Bethlehem Central Senior High School (A+), Southgate School (A)
– Top private schools: The Albany Academies (A+), Academy of the Holy Names (A), Christian Brothers Academy (A-)
– Top places to live: Menands (A+), Center Square (A+), Westmere (A)

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#10. Putnam County

– Population: 98,787
– Median home value: $358,500 (82% own)
– Median rent: $1,453 (18% rent)
– Median household income: $104,486
– Top public schools: Carmel High School (A), Garrison School (A), Putnam Valley Elementary School (A)
– Top private schools: St. James the Apostle School (unavailable), Green Chimneys School (unavailable), Creative Kids Childcare Centers – Brewster (unavailable)
– Top places to live: Cold Spring (A-), Peach Lake (B+), Putnam Lake (B)

Mwanner // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Orange County

– Population: 380,085
– Median home value: $271,200 (67% own)
– Median rent: $1,259 (33% rent)
– Median household income: $79,944
– Top public schools: George Grant Mason Elementary School (A), Willow Avenue Elementary School (A), Cornwall Central High School (A)
– Top private schools: The Storm King School (A+), New York Military Academy (A), Chapel Field Christian Schools (A)
– Top places to live: Cornwall-on-Hudson (A), Highland Falls (A), Beaver Dam Lake (A-)

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#8. Dutchess County

– Population: 293,754
– Median home value: $282,000 (69% own)
– Median rent: $1,220 (31% rent)
– Median household income: $81,219
– Top public schools: Spackenkill High School (A), Arlington High School (A), Orville A. Todd Middle School (A)
– Top private schools: Trinity-Pawling School (A+), Millbrook School (A+), Oakwood Friends School (A)
– Top places to live: Spackenkill (A), Arlington (A), Crown Heights (A-)

littlenySTOCK // Shutterstock

#7. Onondaga County

– Population: 462,872
– Median home value: $145,400 (65% own)
– Median rent: $872 (35% rent)
– Median household income: $61,359
– Top public schools: Fayetteville-Manlius Senior High School (A+), Jamesville-Dewitt High School (A+), Enders Road Elementary School (A+)
– Top private schools: Manlius Pebble Hill School (A+), Christian Brothers Academy (A+), Bishop Ludden Junior/Senior High School (A-)
– Top places to live: Fayetteville (A+), Liverpool (A), Westvale (A)

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#6. Monroe County

– Population: 743,341
– Median home value: $148,400 (64% own)
– Median rent: $927 (36% rent)
– Median household income: $60,075
– Top public schools: Pittsford-Mendon High School (A+), Brighton High School (A+), Pittsford Sutherland High School (A+)
– Top private schools: The Harley School (A+), Allendale Columbia School (A+), McQuaid Jesuit Preparatory School (A)
– Top places to live: Brighton (A+), Honeoye Falls (A), Fairport (A)

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#5. Tompkins County

– Population: 102,642
– Median home value: $204,600 (55% own)
– Median rent: $1,164 (45% rent)
– Median household income: $60,240
– Top public schools: Ithaca Senior High School (A+), Lansing High School (A), DeWitt Middle School (A)
– Top private schools: Cascadilla School (A+), Elizabeth Ann Clune Montessori School (unavailable), Namaste Montessori School (unavailable)
– Top places to live: Cayuga Heights (A+), East Ithaca (A+), Lansing (A+)

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#4. Saratoga County

– Population: 228,502
– Median home value: $258,300 (72% own)
– Median rent: $1,138 (28% rent)
– Median household income: $84,291
– Top public schools: Francis L. Stevens Elementary School (A), Tesago Elementary School (A), Charlton Heights Elementary School (A)
– Top private schools: The Kings School (B+), Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs (B+), Saratoga Central Catholic School (B+)
– Top places to live: Country Knolls (A+), Saratoga Springs (A), Ballston Spa (B+)

PhotoItaliaStudio // Shutterstock

#3. Rockland County

– Population: 324,422
– Median home value: $443,400 (68% own)
– Median rent: $1,504 (32% rent)
– Median household income: $93,024
– Top public schools: Tappan Zee High School (A+), Laurel Plains Elementary School (A+), Clarkstown South Senior High School (A+)
– Top private schools: Green Meadow Waldorf School (A), Albertus Magnus High School (A), Yeshiva Avir Yakov (B+)
– Top places to live: Piermont (A+), Upper Nyack (A+), Bardonia (A+)

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#2. Westchester County

– Population: 968,890
– Median home value: $540,600 (61% own)
– Median rent: $1,537 (39% rent)
– Median household income: $96,610
– Top public schools: Scarsdale Senior High School (A+), Horace Greeley High School (A+), Pelham Memorial High School (A+)
– Top private schools: Rye Country Day School (A+), Hackley School (A+), French-American School of New York (A+)
– Top places to live: Greenville (A+), Chappaqua (A+), Ardsley (A+)

littlenySTOCK // Shutterstock

#1. Nassau County

– Population: 1,356,509
– Median home value: $493,500 (81% own)
– Median rent: $1,772 (19% rent)
– Median household income: $116,100
– Top public schools: Jericho Senior High School (A+), Great Neck South High School (A+), Syosset Senior High School (A+)
– Top private schools: Friends Academy (A+), Portledge School (A+), The Waldorf School of Garden City (A+)
– Top places to live: Great Neck Plaza (A+), Jericho (A+), Great Neck Gardens (A+)

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