Best Places to Live? Start With Chesterbrook
What’s the best place to live in Greater Philadephia? According to Niche.com, that honor belongs to Chesterbrook, the eighth-best place to live in the country.
But it’s not the best place to live in Pennsylvania. That honor went to the Centre County community of College Township, which ranked one notch above Chesterbrook.
The two communities scored at the top of the heap in Niche.com’s 2016 “Best Places to Live in America” rankings, which rate the top 100 communities in the nation and in each state.
Niche.com ranks communities each year according to weighted assessments of a number of factors for which it collects data. From most weight to least, they are:
- Cost of living: housing, food and fuel (greatest weight)
- Education: percentage of residents with bachelor’s degrees or higher (weighted equally with the next two factors)
- Public schools: average quality grade for public schools serving the community, weighted by number of students in each school
- Real estate: strength of the local real estate market as measured by housing price trends, affordability and homeownership rates
- Socioeconomic and demographic diversity (weighted equally with the next three factors)
- Health and fitness: overall well-being and access to health care
- Nightlife: access to bars, restaurants and cultural amenities
- Shortest commute: Average length of commute along with percentage of residents who walk, bike or use public transportation
- Crime and safety (weighted equally with all the factors below)
- Family amenities: Access to parks, libraries, cultural and outdoor amenities
- Jobs: opportunities for employment and economic stability
- Outdoor activities: access to and use of outdoor amenities
- Weather: general year-round conditions
Niche then assigns letter grades to each factor.
“Chesterbrook scored very highly in many of these factors, earning an A+ in education, public schools, and health and fitness,” said Niche.com marketing spokesperson Jessica Hair. “Chesterbrook also earned many A’s in factors like real estate, diversity, family amenities, jobs, and outdoor activities.”
Its cost of living grade was a C, however, and its weather a C-plus, which is odd considering that the other four Philadelphia-area communities that placed in the national top 100 all got B-minus grades for their weather. One, Tredyffrin Township (which includes Chesterbrook), landed in the top 25, placing 21st. Three others placed in the top 100: Narberth (31), Devon (69) and Ardmore (97). No New Jersey communities ranked in the top 100.
Within Pennsylvania, six of the top 10 communities were on the Main Line, including Lower Merion Township as a whole; an additional three were in Centre County and the tenth was the Harrisburg suburb of Camp Hill. Ten of the other 15 communities in the top 25 are also in the Philadelphia suburbs (see the full list). No South Jersey communities ranked among the top 25 in that state, though three in Mercer County did: No. 2 West Windsor Township, No. 4 Princeton and No. 11 Princeton Junction.
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