First Selectman Mike Tetreau announced today that MONEY Magazine has chosen Fairfield, Connecticut as the 44th “Best Place to Live” in America in its 2014 “Best Places to Live” edition. West Hartford, which ranked 45th, was the only other community in Connecticut to earn this prestigious honor.
This year, MONEY Magazine chose the 50 best municipalities throughout the nation with populations between 50,000 and 300,000 using 50 factors including local economy, housing market and schools.
In choosing Fairfield as one of the “Best Places to Live” in the country, MONEY magazine noted, “About third of Fairfield residents brave the 75-minute commute to New York City via express train during the week. The payoff: weekends in a (town) with a thriving downtown, lively restaurant scene and five miles of beaches on the Long Island Sound coastline. The schools are among the state’s best (the town’s two high schools are in the top 25 in the state), and Lake Mohegan is a popular hiking and fresh-water swimming spot. And though home prices have steadily climbed since the recession ended, Fairfield is more affordable relative to neighboring towns in the county. The commute to NYC got easier in 2012 when a new rail station opened offering plentiful parking, unlike the station in the center of town which has a years-long waiting list. There’s also a strong local job market thanks to two locally-based Fortune 500 companies, General Electric and tea-maker R.C. Bigelow.”
First Selectman Tetreau said, “In this 375th anniversary year, our entire community should be so proud of not only receiving this incredible honor, but earning it more than once over the past few years. With our excellent school system, strong local economy and a community that offers the best value and is more affordable than neighboring towns in the county, Fairfield has something to offer for everyone.”
Data for Fairfield’s ranking included population, median family income, projected job growth, median home price, average property taxes, colleges, universities, reading test scores, and math test scores. Additional data included quality of life such as air quality index, public safety, and the percentage of the population who commute, walk or bike to work. Regarding leisure and culture, data included restaurants, public golf courses, libraries, and museums.
According to MONEY Magazine, “Starting with a pool of 781 cities, we used data from Onboard Informatics and other sources to comb through several criteria, looking for a sense of community and other intangibles. Then, we narrowed down the list further to 100 places by excluding places with a median family income of more than 210% of the state average or a median home price of $1 million or more. Then, we used a proprietary formula to rank the remaining cities (or towns) according to 45 factors in eight categories: economic opportunity and jobs, housing affordability, education, crime, health, arts and leisure, ease of living, and diversity. We give the most weight to the first four factors, and evenly represent the major regions of the country (West, Northeast, Midwest, South) limiting our final list of 50 to three places per state and one per county.”
The 50 “Best Places to Live” in America appears in the Magazine’s September 2014 issue and can also be found online at http://time.com/money/3312356/fairfield-ct-best-places-to-live/.