Why do people choose to live where they do? With a country as big and diverse as the United States is it possible that most people can agree on the best place to live? Money Magazine and CNN/Money (2005) just published their Best Places to Live 2005 study. According to Money, Moorsetown, New Jersey is the best place to live in the whole country. Money says Moorestown has, “a Main Street made for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post”. Moorestown also has, “Top schools”, “Good Jobs” and “Nice homes at reasonable prices”. Moorestown sounds like a great place to live but, would everyone put it at the top of there list?
Money started their survey with 40,000 places (not necessarily official cities or towns) across the United States. Money based their survey on data collected from the US Census Board, the Bureau of Labor, the IRS, and other sources. Money only considered places with more than 14,000 people, above-median household income, and population growth and real estate appreciation over the past 5 years. These filters narrowed their list to 1,231 places. Money then rated each place based on criteria in eight areas. These areas were: affordable housing; plentiful leisure activities; plentiful cultural options; low pollution; low crime rate; low auto insurance; short commute time; and access to quality health care. The Money study also focused on areas considered most important for people raising families. Money gave economic, education, and safety factors twice the weight they gave to other social and leisure factors. Finally, Money visited the top places and interviewed residents to make the final ranking.
The issue of the “best place to live” caught my attention because the town where I live, Tolland, Connecticut, was ranked 29th on the Money Magazine list. The town proudly displays this recognition on their Home Page.
Tolland is 29th in the Top 100 Best Places to Live in the U.S.
(Town of Tolland, n.d.).
The local weekly newspaper (Ciparelli, 2005) wrote a front page story about the honor of Tolland being 29th on the list. Tolland is a small town in north-eastern Connecticut about 25 miles from Hartford, 75 miles from Boston, and 120 miles from New York City. Tolland has a population of about 15,000 people spread over 40 square miles. Why did Tolland make the list? According to Ciparelli, Tolland scored well in several key criteria used by Money Magazine.