17 November 2006

Accolades and Irony

Businessweek.com posted a story by Maya Roney yesterday about the 25 best affordable suburbs in the United States. Columbia makes the list as a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland. Although it is unclear how the suburbs were ranked (an associated slideshow indicates the cities are listed alphabetically), being one of the top 25 in affordability certainly adds to the Money Magazine “Best Places to Live in America” accolade earlier this year.

A Quick Note:
Yes, I am fully aware of the irony that the article was published on the same day as the Howard County report on affordable housing was released, and its subsequent finding that the amount of affordable housing is alarmingly inadequate. It is a good thing that we are looking to make the entire county, and Columbia, more affordable for families of all economic levels.
The basis of affordability is stated as follows:
Working with Portland (Ore.)-based Web site Sperling's Best Places, BusinessWeek.com came up with a list of 25 affordable suburbs near the nation's largest metro areas. These suburbs may not have the greatest schools in the country, or the lowest crime rates, but most of them do better than average in
these categories. The average secondary test scores index among our featured suburbs is 114, and the average violent crime index is 54 (with 100 being the state and national averages, respectively).

These suburbs don't have the cheapest housing around, either, but none have median home prices over $619,000 (Santa Clarita, Calif.) or cost-of-living indexes over 172.1 (West Nyack, N.Y.). Sperling calculates that 100 is the national cost-of-living average. New York City, for example, has an average of 256.2. Paw Paw, W. Va., a town of less than 600 people with an average household income of around $25,000, has a cost of living average of 70.9. The suburb on our list with the lowest median home price and cost-of-living index is Coralville, Iowa, with $171,600 and 96.9, respectively.

So let us take our place on the stage for this award, but understand that we have a lot of work to do after the ceremony is over.

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