BusinessWeek recently released its 2011 America’s Best Place to Raise a Family rankings. College-town Blacksburg, Virginia took top honors, breaking a 2-year win streak for the Chicago, Illinois region.
In 2009, suburban Mount Prospect, Illinois placed first. Last year, it was Tinley Park, Illinois.
The BusinessWeek report employs data from real estate information firm Onboard Informatics to make its rankings, compiling data across categories such as education, crime, and jobs plus access to parks and affordable homes. All selections are limited by population; all selections are home to 50,000 residents or fewer. Median incomes are within 20 percent — plus or minus — of the state’s median income levels.
BusinessWeek names one winner in each state. The winners in the 10 most populous states and their nearest “big city” are listed below
1. California : East San Gabriel (Los Angeles)
2. Texas : Wells Branch (Austin)
3. New York : Hampton Manor (Albany)
4. Florida : Niceville (Fort Walton Beach)
5. Illinois : Morton Grove (Chicago)
6. Pennsylvania : Cecil-Bishop (Pittsburgh)
7. Ohio : St. Henry (Dayton)
8. Michigan : Spring Arbor (Jackson)
9. Georgia : Hoschton (Atlanta)
10. North Carolina : Tryon (Spartanburg, SC)
The winners in all 50 states can be found on the BusinessWeek website.
Rankings like the BusinessWeek America’s Best Place to Raise a Family can be useful for home buyers , but like everything in real estate, statistics do not apply to every home equally. Even within the “best towns”, there are areas in which school systems are better, crime figures are lower, and amenities are more plentiful.
Therefore, before you make the decision to buy a home, talk with a real estate agent who has local market knowledge. It’s the most effective means to get data that matters to you.