Sunday, December 9, 2007

11 Nebraska Towns - Best Places to Raise Kids

The November 16 issue of Business Week lists the 50 best places to raise kids in the U.S. Nebraska led with 11 towns. Interestingly, I've been to all but one of them at some point in my life. And, interestingly, one of the towns is only 20 miles or so from here.

So how did BW come up with these places? First, the researcher looked at the number of public and private schools in the area and the reading and math scores from those schools and how they stack up against the State's average.

Then, the researcher looked at the cost of living. BW lists the criteria including food and beverages, cost of repairs, insurance, mortgages, rent, etc. Now, I have to admit, the town near me that made the list probably does have a low cost of living to an extent. But there isn't a grocery store. In fact, the closest store is 22 miles. Sure, there's a mini-mart that has overpriced groceries that will do in a pinch. But wouldn't that make the cost of living escalate?
And I know the rent/mortgage situation is low; we own a house there.

Another category is cultural and recreational activities. Hmmm. Cultural meaning relating to Nebraska and the sand hills? Or cultural meaning something refined? That's a stretch, in my opinion (for the town nearest me), but it's interesting because in the other towns listed, I know they have active organizations that "create" events. Or they are close to an area that offers entertainment.

Crime rates were also taken into account.

For an aerial overview, click here. The slide show offers a "look" at the town and pinpoints on a state map where the city is located. Only problem I see is that several of the pinpoints are pretty inaccurate. It shows Newcastle by Lincoln. In actuality, Newcastle is in the northeastern range, near Sioux City. And Waverly appears to be by Grand Island, but hey, I guess the actual slide of the town is what's important. There are some interesting comments on the post page also. Nebraska towns and rankings include:
  • Davenport - 44
  • Arlington - 41
  • Loomis - 39
  • Oakland - 38
  • Diller - 37
  • Newcastle - 36
  • Petersburg - 32
  • Bartlett - 22
  • Lawrence - 17
  • Waverly - 6
  • Arapahoe - 5

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