The Best Places to Live in America, Castle Rock's #40
From cities to towns to neighborhoods, here's where you should — and can afford to — settle down. See all 100.
by Shaina Mishkin, Prachi Bhardwaj, Olivia Raimonde, and Chloe Wilt
Photo Credit: NickLucey.com
View the entire list at: http://money.com/money/collection/best-places-to-live-2019/
How MONEY Chose the Best Places to Live 2019
To create MONEY’s Best Places to Live ranking, we looked only at places with populations of 50,000 or greater. Places with 300,000 or more people were broken down into neighborhoods, and from there we considered only neighborhoods with estimated populations between 5,000 and 200,000 people. We eliminated any place that had more than double the national crime risk, less than 85% of its state’s median household income, or a lack of ethnic diversity. This gave us 1,796 places.
We then collected nearly 160,000 different data points to narrow the list. We considered data on each place’s economic health, cost of living, ethnic and economic diversity, public education, income, health and safety, ease of living, and amenities, all provided by research partner Witlytic. We put the greatest weight on economic factors, housing, health and safety, diversity and cost of living. Quality of life, education and local amenities were also critical components.
Finally, reporters researched each spot, interviewing residents and searching for the kinds of intangible factors that aren’t revealed by statistics. To ensure a geographically diverse set, we limited the Best Places to Live list to no more than four places per state and one per county. States were only represented once per every 25 places. Places that made the list last year were not included in this year’s ranking.
Rankings derived from more than 80 separate types of data, in the following categories:
- Economy — based on local unemployment rate, historical job growth, projected job growth and the level of employment opportunities available, among other factors.
- Cost of living — based on tax burden, insurance costs, commuting costs, medical spending and income adjusted for cost of living.
- Diversity — based on racial makeup, racial integration, and economic diversity within a place’s population.
- Education — based on math and reading test scores and local and county level high school graduation rates.
- Housing — based on measures indicating affordability, supply and distress, including median home sale price in 2018, properties sold in 2018, utility and home cost of living indexes, and the property foreclosure rate, among other factors.
- Health and Safety — based on the number of hospitals and clinics, the number of mental health providers, dentists, doctors and primary care physicians, property and violent crime risk and homicide and drug overdose rates.
- Amenities — based on the number of leisure activities in the town and surrounding area, including bars, restaurants, museums, sports complexes, and green spaces.
- Ease of living — based on commute times, weather, and other factors.