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Community Info

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 miles.

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.
House Value
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.
Year House Built
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.
Occupied Housing Units
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.
House Heating Fuel
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.
Sales Taxes
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.
Income Taxes
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!
Household Income
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 Census.
Population Age
Median age of the residents of the community as well as a breakdown of the number of residents of each age group.
Household Size
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.
Education Level
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.
School Enrollment
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.
School Scores
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.
School Info
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.
Air Quality
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
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.
Commute Time
Shows the median commute time in minutes. Also gives a breakdown of the number of commuters with each range of commute times.
Closest Major Highway
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.
Commute Type
A breakdown of how many people commute using each method.
Mass Transport
Shows the number of airports within a 25 mile distance of a community and the distance to the closest Amtrak station.
Entertainment and Culture
Going Out
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 least.
Nature and Recreation
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.
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