Where is the best place to live?
For some, the image of a remote tropical isle might immediately spring to mind. For others, it might be a peaceful cabin with a view of a clear mountain lake. Some might want a penthouse view of a bright city skyline. Each to his own.
But for most of us, the “best place” to put down some roots usually involves far more practical concerns – family, jobs, schools, health care and any number of more mundane criteria.
But it is something we all think about. We dream; we plan; we compromise.
To assist with these life-changing decisions, CNN and Money magazine publish a list of the “Best Places to Live” each year.
In even-numbered years, the list ranks the top cities. In odd years, the list focuses on the nation’s small towns between 10,000 and 50,000 in population.
In this year’s list of 50 small towns, Evans was ranked 43. At the top is Sharon, Mass., a town of about 19,000 people about 30 miles south of Boston.
The list is generated from a combination of economic and census data as well as crime statistics and student test scores from public schools.
This list also has a lot of caveats - one of which is that there can be no more than three places per state and one per county. Money also ensures that the list is spread geographically across the U.S. It seems the strategy is to design a list that will get the most attention from other media (which helps their advertising and marketing plans).
Still, it’s good that we are on the list. Right? Lots of people pay attention to it Some might even use it when making plans for their next move.
I agree. Anything that brings us positive attention is a good thing. As long as we understand that it really doesn’t mean very much.
In some ways, it seems nonsensical.
Evans was on the list before, in 2005, ranked at 32. The next three times it was published – 2007, 2009 and 2011 – Evans didn’t make the top 100. Martinez, however, made the list in 2007 and 2009.
That’s seems odd, but it’s not unusual for the “best places” list. Towns and ranking vary widely year to year. Since 2005, 297 different towns have been included in the biyearly list, but only three -- Peachtree City, Ga., Papillion, Neb., and Louisville, Colo. – have made it every time.
More than a third of towns on the list have only made it once. Bainbridge Island, Wash., was ranked No. 2 in 2005 and hasn’t been heard of since. In 2007, Claremont, Calif. was No. 5 in its lone appearance. Warren, N.J. magically appeared at No. 6 in 2009 and vanished afterward. In 2011, three towns leaped into the top 20, only to fall off the map in this year’s list.
I’m no statistician, but this doesn’t seem right. You would think that towns would either migrate up and down or on and off the list in an incremental fashion, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Sure, anomalies would occur, but with this list, anomalies seem to be the rule – not the exception.
Who says we are 43rd? I’d like a recount.
One thing this list doesn’t include are intangibles, like where can you get a good pulled-pork sandwich? I’d wager, not in Louisville, Colo.
For my money, Evans is as good, if not better, than any of these so-called “best places” on the list. I’m sure they are all fine towns, but what we have here is mighty fine as well.
Let’s see what we can do about keeping it that way.