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The Livability Score

The Livability Score is a score out of 100 that was designed to help people quickly and easily evaluate the quality of an area. The score consists of 7 different categories and dozens of data points across multiple data sets.

Ranking more than 35,000 cities, neighborhoods, zip codes and addresses isn’t easy; some might even say it’s impossible. Our Livability Score is created from science, data and statistics. Although we are unable to capture the smell of your favorite old school diner or the relationships that you’ve created with your friendly neighbors, we’ve done our best to create an overall score that reflects the things that make an area a great place to live.

Each category (amenities, cost of living, crime, education, employment, housing and weather) is scored individually based on data in the methodology below. A letter grade is assigned to each category in order to easily evaluate the score.

  • A+83–100
  • A80–82
  • A-77–79
  • B+74–76
  • B71–73
  • B-68–70
  • C+65–67
  • C62–64
  • C-59–61
  • D+56–58
  • D53–55
  • D-50–52
  • F0–49
Amenities

The amenities score provides an overview of the availability of local amenities in close proximity to an area. The algorithm searches for all amenities in the categories below within a 2 mile (30 minute walk) radius to the center point of a location. Higher scores are awarded to the areas with the most nearby amenities from each of the following categories.

  • Groceries17%
  • Food & Drink17%
  • Shopping13%
  • Coffee Shops13%
  • Schools12%
  • Parks8%
  • Entertainment8%
  • Fitness Facilities6%
  • Public Transportation3%
  • Libraries3%

Source(s):
Google Places

Cost of Living

The cost of living score provides an overview of the affordability of an area. The score takes into account the overall cost of living index (goods and services, housing, groceries, utilities, transportation and health care) as well as the state sales tax and state income tax rates. The overall score is calculated based on comparison to the national average.

Overall cost of living index (85% of the cost of living score).

  • Goods and Services33%
  • Housing30%
  • Groceries13%
  • Utilities10%
  • Transportation9%
  • Health Care5%

State Sales Tax and State Income Tax (15% of the cost of living score).

  • State Sales Tax53%
  • State Income Tax47%

Source(s):
C2ER
United States Government

Crime

The crime score provides an overview of the overall safety of an area. The score takes into account both violent crime (murder, rape, robbery, assault) and property crime (burglary, theft, vehicle theft). Higher weights are given to violent crimes as they are more severe. For comparison purposes, crime rates are normalized per 100,000 residents. The overall score is calculated based on comparison to the national average.

  • Violent Crime65%
  • Property Crime35%

Source(s):
FBI Uniform Crime Report

Education

The education score provides an overview of the quality and level of public education in an area. The education score is based on school test scores as well as the overall education level achieved. Higher scores are awarded for higher average test scores and higher education levels achieved. The overall score is calculated based on comparison to the national average.

  • School Test Scores80%
  • Education Level Achieved20%

Sources:
2016 United States Census Bureau American Community Survey
National Center for Education Statistics

Employment

The employment score provides an overview of the economic strength of an area and availability of jobs within that area. A small portion of the score also takes into account the availability of public transportation in the area. The overall score is calculated based on comparison to the national average.

  • Income Per Capita30%
  • Median Household Income30%
  • Unemployment Rate30%
  • Public Transportation Accessibility10%

Source(s):
2016 United States Census Bureau American Community Survey

Housing

The housing score provides an overview of the affordability, home values and appreciation rates of an area. Housing affordability measures the median home and rent price to household income ratio, lower ratios will receive higher scores. Home appreciation rates over the last 5 years and median home price (higher home prices receive higher scores) complete the rest of the score. The overall score is calculated based on comparison to the national average.

  • Home/Rent Affordability Ratio40%
  • 5 Year Home Price Appreciation Rate40%
  • Median Home Price20%

Source(s):
2016 United States Census Bureau American Community Survey
Zillow Research

Weather

The weather score provides an overview of the overall year round weather based on the nearest weather station data. Average monthly temperatures and monthly precipitation are factored into the overall score. The overall score is calculated based on the variance of the average monthly temperature which is based on 72°F. The precipitation score is calculated by comparing the monthly precipitation to the national average. To calculate the score the last 15 full years of data is used.

  • Average Monthly Temperature80%
  • Monthly Precipitation20%

Source(s):
National Centers for Environmental Information (NOAA)