How family-friendly is your city?

Suncorp Bank has conducted a study of Australia’s 30 biggest cities to find out the best place to raise a family. You might be surprised who came out on top.

When you have kids, it’s amazing how your priorities change. The home that was once perfect for the two of you starts to feel much smaller. Or it might not be located in a very child-friendly neighbourhood. 

But what about the city you live in? Does the shift in your priorities change the way you feel about that too?

Suncorp Bank’s recent study took into account ten key criteria including unemployment levels, crime rates, broadband in the home, access to health services, schools, childcare, volunteer work, house prices and disposable income.


Here are the winners in the family friendly medal table, and how the major cities fared:





    Launceston (TAS)


    Canberra (ACT)


    Toowoomba (QLD)


    Albury/Wodonga (VIC/NSW)

    Equal 5th

    Adelaide (SA)

    Equal 5th

    Perth (WA)


    Hobart (RAS)

    Equal 8th

    Darwin (NT)

    Equal 8th

    Bunbury (WA)


    Bundaberg (QLD)

    Equal 14th







The survey results suggest that increasingly the larger, stressful, crowded urban jungles and under-serviced Eastern seaboard capitals are being upstaged by regional cities as the most family-friendly in Australia.

The results reveal for the first time that many regional cities have a better balance of job opportunities, housing affordability, income, school sizes, health services, broadband access and lower crime rates.

This is the ideal mix for families when it comes to some of the fundamentals and show up our international hubs like Sydney and Melbourne, which fall short on many of these measures.

Despite a relatively low average income and broadband take-up, Launceston emerged as the number one city thanks to its low crime rate, less crowded schools and lower average cost of housing.


 Summary of the key findings 

  • Launceston is Australia’s number one ‘family-friendly’ city, ahead of Canberra.
  • Of the ‘big three’, Melbourne is ranked 14th, ahead of Sydney (23rd) and Brisbane (24th).
  • Queensland is the most family-friendly state, with six cities in Australia’s top 20 family friendly cities.
  • The Tasmanian city of Burnie is Australia’s healthiest city while Launceston enjoys the least crowded schools.
  • Queensland’s regional hotspot Toowoomba is the employment capital of Australia.
  • Adelaide is Australia’s safest city, with the lowest levels of crime.
  • Canberra is the volunteer capital of Australia, with the city's population clocking up more community work hours than any other city.


Queensland places extremely well with six cities in the top 20, while cities in Tasmania and the ACT topped seven of the 10 key indicators used to measure family-friendliness.


Survey methodology 

Each city was systematically ranked for each of the ten indicators on which the index was based. The indicators were then divided into two categories (Primary and Secondary) and given weightings based on the added desirability of the primary indicators. Each of the indicator’s raw scores were tallied and ranked from one to thirty, with one being the most desirable score and thirty the least. All scores were then totalled to form the Family Friendly City Index.

Data used in the index was gathered from a combination of official government sources including the 2011 National Census, Australian Bureau of Statistics, State Police Crime Statistics and the Public Health Information Development Unit.


Important information

This information is current as at 1 March 2013 and may be subject to change. It has been prepared without taking into account a person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. For that reason, before acting on this information, a person should consider its appropriateness having regard to their own objectives, financial situation and needs. Where the information relates to the acquisition, or possible acquisition, of a particular product, a person should read and consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) in deciding whether to acquire, or continue to hold, the products.

The products referred to are issued by Suncorp Portfolio Services Limited ABN 61 063 427 958 AFSL 237905 RSE licence number L0002059. Various products and services are provided by different entities of the Suncorp Group. The different entities of the Suncorp Group are not responsible for, or liable in respect of products or services provided by other entities of the Suncorp Group.

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