Best Places to Live

June 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: United States 
Boulder, CO | Pearl Street
Image by lawgeek via Flickr

Whether you’re a couple looking for your first house or an individual looking to relocate to a new city, you have a lot of concerns when it comes to finding your ideal place to live. There are plenty of considerations to take into account, ranging from simple considerations such as weather and climate to more complex concerns. Far more subtle than geographic location and temperature patterns are the reputation of local schools and organizations, the demographic make up of the community, convenience, and the specific attributes that you are looking for in a city. There are a number of web sites and magazines that attempt to rank the best places to live in the United States and the world, which often use similar methodologies based off of the preferences of individuals and demographic groups.

One of the most important variables in determining the quality of life of a location, area, or community is the reputation of the local schools, service businesses, and other organizations. The educational opportunities of a town are of particularly great concern to relocating families, both on the primary and secondary levels. Suburbs of large cities often have an advantage in this area, since they usually boast better funded school districts as well as a wider selection of colleges and universities. For families that have elderly dependents, the ready availability of high quality nursing homes is critical. Equally important are sports leagues, civic improvement organizations, and athletic clubs.

The physical location and demographic background of a city also goes a far way into determining whether the community is one of the best places to live. Most families are uncomfortable with living in an excessively isolated location, simply because there are fewer places to shop and dine as well as fewer things to see and do in general. Some individuals place a higher weight on a particular socioeconomic status, while others prefer a certain demographic breakdown in terms of diversity. One might also consider the availability of public transportation and major interstates and traffic arteries.

The simple truth is that it is extremely difficult to say with confidence that one city or town is the “best” place to live in the nation or the world. There are of course a number of organizations that attempt to do exactly this, including the Cable News Network, Forbes Magazine, and Sperling’s, but they rarely reach a consensus on any particular community. For example, Relocate America’s top ten list focuses on medium sized and large cities while the top ten list compiled by Sperling’s emphasizes small cities and suburbs. Perhaps more helpful are rankings that emphasize a particular group’s preferences or theorized ideals. These include rankings based off of the ratio of males to females and vice versa, income levels, affordable real estate, and job market. There are even best places to live lists based off of “manliness”, romantic airports, and levels of crime. You can even find rankings personalized to your preferences that recommend a great place to live just for you and your family.

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