According to new research, Cedar Rapids is the best city in the country for children. Cedar Rapids is one of three Iowa cities in the Top 20, but a runaway number one.

The study is based on 13 different benchmarks and was focused on metro areas with populations of more than 200,000. The 13 gauges, if you will, were:

  • Graduation Rate
  • Percent of Students Proficient in Math
  • Percent of Students Proficient in Reading and Language Arts
  • Infant Mortality Rate
  • Child Mortality Rate
  • Percentage of Children without Health Insurance
  • EPA Air Quality Index
  • Water Quality Violations
  • Child Poverty Rate
  • Median Home Value
  • Percentage of Population Under Age 20
  • Number of Kid-Friendly Entertainment Establishments
  • Intergenerational Mobility, economic opportunity measure created by Harvard researchers

Cedar Rapids is number one, in large part due to the schools. The metro area has an 87 percent graduation rate and eight in 10 children are proficient in math while nearly three of every four students scores well in reading and language arts. The city also features the fourth lowest poverty rate for children in the entire country, with 11% below the poverty line. Clearly, that's still 11% too high but half the average of the largest 200 metropolitan areas in the United States.

After getting all the information gathered, each metropolitan area was ranked on the 13 benchmarks and the average was given an index number. Since Cedar Rapids ranked #1, it was given a 100. Davenport came in #20 with a 76.08 index and Des Moines was third. Here's the top five on the list and their index.

  1. Cedar Rapids                                        100.00
  2. Sioux Falls, South Dakota                       92.46
  3. Des Moines, Iowa                                   91.59
  4. Lincoln, Nebraska                                    90.05
  5. Rochester, Minnesota                              90.01

 [SmartAsset]