The name of the community, its County, State, and Zip Code. Also contains the
population of the community, as well as the land and water area in square
The overall score for each place or city is computed by taking the individual
scores for each factor, and multiplying by the weights, chosen by the user.
Thus, the contribution of each factor ranges from a minimum of 0 to a maximum
of the factor weight (in percent). The total score, ranges from 0 to 100, with
100 being the best.
The median value of a house in this community, obtained from the US Census for
the year 2000. The median appreciation value was computed from various
government and real estate appreciation data. The median value in 2003 was
estimated from the previous numbers.
In addition, the lower and upper quartiles (25th and 75th percentiles) for the
value of a house, for the year 2000, were obtained from the census; as well as
the breakdown of the number of houses in a particular price range.
The median value of when the houses in a community were built, as well as the
breakdown of the number of houses built in each decade.
The percentage of owner occupied dwellings in each community, as well as the
number of dwellings occupied by both renters and owners.
Number of Rooms
The median value as well as a breakdown of the number of houses of each size.
The median rent, the median rent as a percentage of household income, the 25th
and 75th percentiles of the rental costs, and a breakdown of the number of
rents in each price category. Number of Houses – The total number of houses,
the percentage of houses considered to be in an urban area, and the numbers of
urban and rural houses.
The number of houses which use each type of fuel for heating.
Cost of Living
Cost of Living
The median mortgage payment, as well as the average annual homeowner expenses,
both as a dollar amount and as a percentage of the house price. Average annual
homeowner expenses consist of property taxes, utility costs, and homeowner
insurance. This group also contains sample auto insurance rates, food expenses,
and the overall median cost of living, as computed from the various
subcategories. Non-volatile information comes from the Bureau of Labor
Statistics. The “Score” is a normalized representation of the overall cost of
living based on an income of $50,000 for a family with 2 children and 2 average
cars. A score of 100 represents the US median.
In this group are the state and local sales tax rates for non-food items, the
sales tax rate for food items, and the total amount of sales tax likely to be
spent in a year.
Federal, state, and local information is based either on the default profile of
an income of $50,000, married, two children, or on whatever profile a user
enters. The bracket indicates the bracket for the particular profile, while the
effective percent and amounts indicate what percentage of their income a
typical family would actually pay. If you want to get customized data please
fill in the user profile. We will not save your data anywhere!
Median household and per capita income, as well as a breakdown of the number of
households at each income level in this community. Data obtained from US
Median age of the residents of the community as well as a breakdown of the
number of residents of each age group.
This group has the median size of a family, the total number of families as
well as a breakdown of the number of families of each size. The same
information is also present for non-family households. All of the information
was obtained from the 2000 Census.
Average years of schooling of the adults in a community and a breakdown by the
number of people at each education level. The completion of high school is
assumed to be 12 years of education, a bachelor’s degree assumed to be 16
years, etc. Information from the 2000 Census.
Gives the total number of students in school, the percentage of students
attending private schools, and a breakdown by the number of students in each of
the categories. Information from the 2000 Census.
Standardized testing is now being used by virtually the entire nation. Most
states have their own standardized tests by which communities within a state
may be assigned a “score”. Most states conduct tests in elementary, middle, and
high schools, and most states have scores for Mathematics/Science and for
English Language Arts (ELA). In addition, most states participate in a
nation-wide standardized test. When combined, this information can lead to a
normalized score for each level and subject, as well as a combined Achievement
Index, which indicates the overall level of a community’s schools. All of the
numbers are on a scale from 0 to 100.
The Fundamentals index, on a scale from 0 to 100, gives an indication of how
much effort is spent on public schools in a community. It is calculated from
the other fields in this group. Those include how much is spent, per student,
on direct education (Program Expenditures), and also the overall cost, per
student (Total Expenditures). The total costs, for all students, are also
available. Finally, there are the student to teacher ratio, the high school
drop out rate, and the total number of teachers in the school system.
Crime rates are usually given in the number of crimes per 100,000 population in
a year. The violent crime index is the combination of the number of murders,
rapes, and assaults. The Property Crime Index is the combination of motor
vehicle theft, larceny, robbery, and burglary. The Crime index is the
combination of all of these crimes.
The government computed Air Quality Index (AQI) provides an indication of the
air quality in a community. We list the number of days that the AQI was in the
“Good”, “Moderate”, “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups”, “Unhealthy” categories,
in a single year. On a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 is best and 100 worst, we
also show the median AQI value, the maximum AQI value during the year, and the
90th percentile value (AQI was below this value 90% of the time).
Water quality data is derived from information available through the EPA. All
drinking water comes from a particular “water system”, most of them public, but
some private. All such water systems report to the EPA any violations of
bacteria levels, etc. The number of violations in CWS type water systems for
the last ten years is used. We show the percentage of water systems in a county
which had violations, the average number of violations per such system, and the
percentage of the population affected by the violations. Multiple instances of
the same violation show up in the average number of violations per system,
whereas different kinds of violations are counted separately in the percentage
of systems affected and the percentage of the population affected. It is thus
possible for these percentages to be greater than 100. We believe that the
percentage of county population affected by water quality violations is the
best criterion to use.
Gives an indication of the availability of medical care in a community. We
present the number of various doctors’ offices and hospitals within a 25 mile
distance, as well as an aggregate Medical Site Index, which is a weighed sum of
the numbers above.
The number of cooling and heating degree days for a given community, as well as
the mean temperature, the average minimum and maximum temperatures in January
and July, all in degrees Fahrenheit; and finally the average yearly
precipitation in inches.
Shows the median commute time in minutes. Also gives a breakdown of the number
of commuters with each range of commute times.
Shows the distance to the nearest major highway. Please note that for many
communities in densely settled areas, the difference between living on one end
of town and the other may be larger than the distance given here. This group
also lists the nearest major cities.
A breakdown of how many people commute using each method.
Shows the number of airports within a 25 mile distance of a community and the
distance to the closest Amtrak station.
Shows the number of restaurants, within a 25 mile distance of a community.
Shows the number of theatres, museums, libraries, churches and colleges and
universities within a 25 mile distance of a community. Also, an index, ranging
from 0 to 100, with 100 being most and 0 least.
Shows the number of various stores, and malls within a 25 mile distance of a
community. Also, an index, ranging from 0 to 100, with 100 being most and 0
Shows the number of beaches, lakes, forests and woods, and parks within 25 mile
distance of a community. Also, an index, ranging from 0 to 100, with 100 being
most and 0 least.