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14 Best U.S. Cities for Childfree Living

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Via: FallenPrincesses.com

The numbers don’t lie—Americans simply aren’t making as many babies as they used to. Despite the immense societal and family pressures on people to have children, more and more men and women are choosing to live a childfree life. Some do it for economic or professional reasons, some for environmental reasons, and others choose it because they value their sleep and free time.

There are plenty of articles out there ranking the best cities to raise kids, but we were curious which cities were best for those who don’t want kids at all. So we took a look at American cities with unusually low numbers of children, interviewed a handful of advocates of the kid-free lifestyle, and picked the fourteen cities with the most upside. We weighted it in favor of cities with great nightlife, restaurants, travel options, and activities where the sound of children laughing is absent. Here are Estately’s 14 Best U.S. Cities for Childfree Living…

14. ITHACA, NY

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VIA: QUICKMEME.COM

Ithaca has a sizable university population, but even that doesn’t account for the ridiculously low number of children—just 8.2 percent of Ithaca’s population. Perhaps city residents welcome new neighbors with gift certificates for free vasectomies? While this is bad news for locals trying to resell their BABYBJÖRN baby carriers in online mommy forums, it does mean fewer human petri dishes (kids) spreading their germs on mass transit. Truthfully, Ithaca is great place to wait out cold and flu season.

13. MADISON, WI

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VIA: FAKEPOSTERS.COM

One thing the childless-by-choice crowd enjoys, and enjoys a lot of, is peace and quiet. With children making up only 17.5 percent of Madison’s it’s no wonder the city is the 10th quietest in America, according to Men’s Health. This silence allows childfree locals to save their hearing for live music at the High Noon Saloon. The hilarious Amy Vansant, who writes the blog Kid-Free Living, says, “The best aspect of not having children is silence. Whenever we visit our nieces we’re stunned by the chaos and noise. Parents don’t even notice it. I’ve had whole conversations with my brother while his youngest was literally jumping up and down on his face screaming something about a Disney princess. On the downside, parents are developing ninja-like abilities to concentrate and I’m getting more and more weak minded.”

12. MIAMI BEACH, FL

tony-montana_1336658523Miami Beach is where famous rappers, actors, and pro athletes do their public celebrating. It is not where they push junior around in a stroller while wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “World’s #1 Dad.” This party spot for the rich and famous comes alive at bedtime, so it’s no surprise only a mere 12.8 percent of the town is children. Home to the famed South Beach neighborhood, Miami Beach was recently named Maxim magazine’s #1 U.S. Party City, and not because its packed with Chuck E. Cheeses.

11. LAS VEGAS, NV

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Las Vegas is the city that never sleeps, a town dedicated to gambling, drinking, and other adult-only vices. So it’s surprising that so many people there actually have children, especially since the town is called Sin City.

First, the bad news for the childfree:  Las Vegas is filled with parents who ignore the slogan “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” Just like elsewhere these moms and dads spam the Facebook pages of their childfree friends with pointless updates on their baby’s diaper rash every seven minutes.

Now, the good news:  The blissfully childless can avoid these people, and their FarmVille/baby shower requests, simply by stepping into any of the city’s dozens of casinos. And since raising a child costs roughly $235,000, the money saved buys a lot of poker chips and trips to the buffet. Take some photos of the fun. Put it on Instagram.

10. NEW ORLEANS, LA

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There are thousands of parents in this country who gave into the pleading of their children and endured the trauma of a Justin Bieber concert. And it doesn’t matter how many Hurricanes or Sazeracs a person drinks, that experience can never be erased from one’s mind. The mere thought of it is enough to justify a DIY vasectomy. In contrast, imagine the childfree crowd in New Orleans going out any night of the week to see some of the country’s best live music, content in their certainty they’ll never end up at a One Direction show unless they lose a bet.

9. BOSTON, MA

PILGRIM-COUPLE-TURKEY-On-Colorful-Vintage-THANKSGIVING-PostcardThe birthplace of many of our nation’s Founding Fathers, Boston is also home to many who’ve chosen not to become fathers. Only 16.8 percent of Boston’s population are children, partly because so many of the city’s professional men and women have opted not to have kids. Instead of enduring the agony of childbirth, Boston’s non-parents seem to seek out pain by investing far too much of themselves in their pro sports teams.

8. PORTLAND, ME

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Until the day the city’s hipsters start having babies ironically, Portland will remain a paradise for those living the childfree lifestyle. Portland routinely shows up on lists of best cities for young people and hipsters, and now they’re appearing on this list of cities filled with people depriving their parents of becoming grandparents.

However, the money these childless folks save on dance lessons and hockey skates makes it more likely they can afford a tropical escape during Maine’s frigid winter. This trip won’t be to Disney World to endure a child’s epic meltdown in the line for Splash Mountain, but instead it will be someplace where they serve cocktails with little umbrellas and nobody asks, “Are we there yet?”

7. PITTSBURGH, PA

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VIA: THEDISTRACTIONNETWORK.COM

While moms and dads in the suburbs catch up on Mad Men after the kids are asleep, Pittsburgh residents devoid of parental duties can hang out in bars and toast to their wild, un-sewn oats. Not only does Pittsburgh boast an incredibly low number of people under 18—just 16.3 percent of the population, but it’s also has the country’s fourth most bars per capita. With this kind of access to booze, and no responsibilities at home, it’s no wonder Pittsburgh is Business Insider‘s fourth most hungover city in America. The upside is daddy doesn’t have to lie about why he has a headache in the morning because daddy isn’t a daddy at all.

6. SANTA MONICA, CA

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In Santa Monica, the key to maintaining a bikini-ready beach body is apparently to never get pregnant. The extremely fit locals are simply not prolific breeders, with children making up a paltry 14 percent of the city’s population. Instead of catching the colds their children bring home from preschool, residents instead catch waves at the beach, and comedy shows and live music performances at local clubs. It is true the children are our future, but future populations won’t feature much DNA from Santa Monica.

5. PORTLAND, OR

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VIA:  THECHIVE.COM

Juggling kids and a career is one thing, but imagine juggling kids with a part-time job, band practice, daily trips to the dog park, home brewing classes, and operating an Etsy store selling your own healing crystals? It’s no wonder tired, clichéd Portland stereotypes like this aren’t opting to locally source a bunch of babies. While some argue the local hipsters shunning baby making are simply exhibiting yet another display of selfishness, many intentionally-childless locals will counter that the decision is anything but selfish. Contributing another consumer to this exploding human population that’s crowded on a resource-limited planet is the ultimate in selflessness (or so the bumper sticker might read). And given the amount of people moving to Portland these days it’s not like the city is in danger of running low on people. If you’d like to be Portland’s plus one please read this first:  37 Things to Consider Before Moving to Portland.

4. NEW YORK, NY

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VIA: TIME.COM

When it comes to kids in New York City, Manhattan is pretty barren, but the other four boroughs produce enough children to raise the city’s percentage of kids to 21.6 percent. That’s a lot higher than most cities on this list, but New York is still a childfree paradise because there are so many places to avoid the sounds of children laughing and playing. There’s the theater, pro sports, world-class dining, and thousands of other activities childfree folks can enjoy without needing to line up a sitter. Plus, with the cost of housing so high it’s no wonder many residents avoid the expense of passing on their DNA altogether.

Kid-Free Living‘s Amy Vansant, whose ideal city is one that’s half bars and half quiet-reading areas, says New York is her #1 city for childfree living. “If I had unlimited money, New York would be my ideal city. I would eat out every night until my doorman had to roll me into the service elevator to get me home.”

3. WASHINGTON, DC

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VIA: CHILDFREE HUMOR

Turn on CSPAN for live footage from Congress and you’ll see Washington, DC is already teeming with squabbling, sniveling babies who can’t play well with others. No wonder many residents of our nation’s capital have chosen to permanently sequester their own sperm and eggs.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the Washington, DC-area is the third most educated city in America, it came in third on DINKlife.com’s Top 5 U.S. Cities for DINKS, and it’s inhabited by a large number of career professionals.

2. SEATTLE, WA

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VIA: POPHANGOVER

Sure, Seattle has a reputation as a socially frigid city inhabited by nerds not known for their breeding prowess, but research indicates that’s not why the population is only 15.4 percent children. The low birthrate actually has more to do with the high number of affluent and educated professional men and women. It turns out they don’t produce as many babies, which is why some Seattle high schools have been converted into condos for young professionals—(pictures here).

While Seattleites may lack children, they’re willing to love and care for others, provided those “others” are dogs. Seattle is Estately’s #3 Best U.S. City for Dogs and there are actually more mutts than children in the rainy city.

Extremely tolerant of non-traditional lifestyles, Seattle is a city where childfree residents don’t get hassled much by coworkers regarding when they’re going to have kids. In place of raising babies, locals find sleep deprivation in the thriving music scene, and in locally-created 21-and-over events like Smash Putt—a traveling putt-putt golf course with booze.

1. SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Snapshot 8:7:13 1:22 PMVia: Coloribus

While San Francisco parents plead with their kids to eat their peas, the city’s childfree residents enthusiastically fill the seemingly empty hole in their lives with world-class cuisine. The City by the Bay has some of the country’s most innovative chefs, as well as more restaurants per capita than any other American city. From farm-to-table restaurants to tasty Chinese takeout shops, dining out means great cuisine and rarely encountering a shrieking child throwing a hissy fit because he/she can’t throw the silverware on the floor. Residents also get to skip the parade of Saturday morning kids’ shows, and instead go out for leisurely brunches with friends.

“San Francisco is the best city for childfree living,” says Karen Foster, author of No Way Baby! Exploring, Understanding and Defending the Decision NOT to Have Children. “As the frontrunner in alternative lifestyles, you have to do a lot more than not have kids to be considered odd in San Francisco. I lived there from age nineteen to thirty-two and was never once asked when I was getting married and/or having babies. It’s a place where the childfree may roam free.”

What do you think? Did we forget a city? Let us know in the comments.

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Other articles by Estately…

17 Best U.S. Cities for Hippies

18 Best U.S. Cities for Bros

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  • WhatsTheAgenda

    Funny that you only measure the ‘cities’. 1 mile across the border of any of these cities, (1 minute by car), there are multiple children , to each household. Young people come to cities to find mates, then exit out of the noise and air pollution to a more normal place to leave in.

  • http://www.scoutzie.com/?utm_source=disqus&utm_medium=display_name&utm_campaign=disqus_display Kirill Zubovsky

    I find that photo of a converted high-school really interesting. The way they created an ‘office’ space seems really claustrophobic to me. In Asia, for instance, you’re likely to see similar design (although smaller), but with one huge different. The ‘office’ part in this photo would’ve been the bedroom. After all, you’re sleeping, you don’t need much space, just the mattress.

  • http://www.scoutzie.com/?utm_source=disqus&utm_medium=display_name&utm_campaign=disqus_display Kirill Zubovsky

    Good point. Although, 1 minute outside of San Francisco, is still San Francisco. In traffic, even 30 minutes outside might still be SF :P

  • LollieShopping

    I’m childfree. I live in Vegas. And it’s AWESOME. (For me, anyway…)

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  • VeggieTart

    I live in DC. Somehow I’m blocks from three schools. And it’s “sowing wild oats”, not “sewing”.

  • cldfreedc

    Thanks Estately for taking Childfree seriously … in a fun way :). I have not heard of Estately before, but I love the fact that your folks are open-minded for business with a sense of humor as well. Love your other article titles.

  • ChildfreeZone

    DC should NOT be on this list! My friends and I have attempted to take advantage of so many summer city offerings – concerts in the park, movie nights, festivals, markets – and 9/10 times they are overrun with unsupervised kids and toddlers. It’s like DC’s entitled parental set got together and decided these events are to serve as their collective free daycare where they can let their offspring run free whilst mommy and daddy sip their chardonnay. Ugh. Nightmare.

  • Maggie Leslie

    There is no deeper pit of hell than working at Wolf Trap during a Raffi concert

  • Angela LaFrance

    Me too – moving here was the best decision I’ve ever made!

  • kbmsu

    Tempe & Scottsdale come to mind.

  • Rk

    Go san francisco #1!! Im pretty sure the term DINK was born here

  • Thb

    It’s misleading to label Washington, DC in your headline as the number three city for childless living, and then describe “the Washington, DC Area” in your text. As you may know, Washington, DC is surrounded by Maryland and Virginia suburbs, so does your data include these two separate states?

  • Ryan_Estately

    Yeah, that is misleading. The data is just for the District of Columbia (17.3% of population is under 18) – http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/11000.html – and the suburbs definitely see a higher percentage of children. Although, it was interesting that Alexandria, VA (17.1%) and Arlington, VA (15.7) both had smaller percentages than DC did, and are worthy of note.

  • Ryan_Estately

    That’s exactly why we didn’t mention suburbs on this list. They don’t have the nightlife of the cities and there are certainly far more families there. Although, it’s interesting that this is starting to change as more and more families move back to urban areas.

  • Darin Raynolds

    In Santa Monica the cost of living is so high and most apartments are small. Family sized apts are super expensive and houses are impossible even for a 2 income family. So folks in my building get by with Murphy and bunk beds, squeezing 3 to 1bdrm and 5 to 2bdrm. Til the kids get to old then its off to San Fernando Valley.

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  • KG18

    the photo for NY is also interesting…. there are beaches in NYC – but they don’t look like that (Breezy Point did – but it got washed away)… Looks more like Fire Island or The Hamptons.

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  • BlackPot

    Live in Madison, Live in San Fransisco. Family is from Seattle than moved to Portland. Like all those cities and have visited them all in the last couple years. I live in Denver now. Not sure what makes those cities better child free cities. I am child free and the amount of things to Denver between clubs, concerts (Red Rocks is just the beginning), outdoor activities(can you bike through a canyon that is park land or go downtown from your front door?) etc I can’t really think what those towns have over where I live now.Again nothing against where I’ve lived before . Just don’t think the list means anything at all.

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  • D

    I’m surprised that Austin, Texas is not on the list! So much to do there and seemed like a low breeder population.

  • scottwalkerwatch

    Living in Madison and describing it as a place where there aren’t a lot of kids is a tad misleading. We have a governor who arrests 14-year olds for singing in his Palace by his Palace Guards. There are a lot of kids here who, thanks to Walker, will be die-hard Democrats after seeing what he has done to this city and state.

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  • CarterSatherford

    I wish there were more childfree communities that didn’t have to support a school system. Our school taxes are outrageous and I think it’s ridiculous that a couple who has never had children has to pay for other people’s kids. Especially people who live in an apartment with 3-4 kids. The revenue of the taxes for that apartment does NOT make up for the cost of sending those kids to the school district. The parents should pay school taxes per kid.

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  • DrM

    My husband (37) and I (33) are child free and happy but we living on Long Island, NY which is DEF NOT child free ! Glad NYC is on the list and maybe one day we will move into NYC. Ithaca was interesting to have on the list. My profession requires a NYS license and so I’d like to stay in the state to maintain licensure.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/robkn79 Robbie Nelson

    Because I see a lot of breeders with their brats at Santa Monica Pier, I never expected that area to be Child Free! lol

  • Katie H.

    Well that’s a little off topic. I lived in Madison for 12 years, and LOVED it!! I live in The Unfortunate State of Texas now (far southern part, to boot) and I can tell you that living child free in Madison was SO much more accepted (i.e. I was never called selfish or evil) and being a woman with a job other than, “stay at home mommy it’s the hardest job in the world!!” is actually looked highly upon. I know it is a little liberal and out of touch with reality sometimes, but there are a LOT of good things. Be happy you are there.

  • Katie H.

    LOVE Denver and Portland!! Can’t wait to move there someday….

  • Robin

    Highly Disagree on the Boston. I live just south of the city. Most of the city’s population are college students coming and going so they don’t count. Everyone else is just dieing to pop out kids. Every time you meet a normal, educated, outgoing couple they get pregnant and move to the suburbs. Or they are empty nesters which is the same as having kids.