In a kid's perfect world, Christmas morning dawns snowy and cold. Presents are piled high beneath the tree, stockings are stuffed to bursting with candy, and later on, when you're ready to try out your new toys, there are lots of other kids to play with. In the spirit of the holidays, my Martin Prosperity Institute colleagues and I developed this new list of the best places to be a kid on Christmas morning. It's based on four key criteria: (1) the number of children under age 14 (from the American Community Survey) (2) toy and game stores per capita, (3) candy stores per capita (both from the U.S. Census Bureau's County Business Patterns), and for that white Christmas, (4) the probability of having snow on Christmas Day (from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center).
With 26 percent of its residents under age 14, two candy stores, six toy stores, and a better than eight in 10 chance of having a white Christmas, Logan, Utah, gets top billing, closely followed by Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Fairbanks, Alaska, Billings, Montana, and Ogden, Utah. Sixth-place Niles-Benton Harbor, Michigan, is the only one of the top 10 cities that isn't located in a Rocky Mountain state; only it and Appleton, Wisconsin, are east of the Mississippi. Five of the top 20 are in Utah; Idaho, Colorado, and Alaska account for two each. But whether your city made the top 20 or not, Christmas morning is most kids' idea of paradise—and that's something that no statistics can do justice to.
Top 20 Best Places to be a Kid on Christmas
1. Logan, Utah 2. Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 3. Fairbanks, Alaska 4. Billings, Montana 5. Ogden-Clearfield, Utah 6. Niles-Benton Harbor, Michigan 7. St. George, Utah 8. Pocatello, Idaho 9. Denver, Aurora-Broomfield, Colorado 10. Anchorage, Alaska 11. Colorado Springs, Colorado 12. Rapid City, South Dakota 13. Salt Lake City, Utah 14. Appleton, Wisconsin 15. Flagstaff, Arizona 16. Reno-Sparks, Nevada 17. Provo-Orem, Utah 18. Bend, Oregon 19. Joplin, Montana 20. Spokane, Washington