The Top 100 places to live in AmericaEach year Money magazine conducts a survey of the top 100 places to live in America. Many states can’t even crack the list—more than half fail to place even one city within their boundaries in the top 100. In 2011 Maryland had the distinction of finding three of its cities on this enviable list.
The Best Places to LiveThe survey ranks “best places to live” on a number of criteria. Chief among these is levels of stress experienced by residents—which may be linked to crime rates and availability of good jobs; also important area availability of good schools, and access to the amenities and benefits of being near a larger city or major metropolitan area without having to live in the midst of the metro areas congestion, crime and high costs of living. Other factors cited in the survey include economic strength, good climate and recreational opportunities.
Three Maryland Cities that make the List
Montgomery VillageClocking in at #40 on the list of top 100 places to live is Montgomery Village, Maryland. Situated near Baltimore but classified as a suburb of Gaithersburg, this large, planned community lies in the middle of an unincorporated section of Montgomery County. The population is approximately 40,000 and is considered a fairly affluent area—a reputation bolstered by its location near the Maryland “technology corridor with its high paying technical jobs. The Montgomery Village schools are well regarded and low stress living is enhanced by the planned nature of the community, with no fewer than six law enforcement agencies servicing the area, crime is low. Housing prices are high—as might be expected from a prime location between Baltimore and Washington D.C.
EldersburgEldersburg, in Carroll County is ranked as the 67th best place to live in the US by the survey. Eldersburg claims a population of just over 31,000. Eldersburg’s close proximity to Washington D.C. makes it a popular “bedroom” community for professionals, federal and contract workers who commute to the nation’s capital daily. Once a thriving farming region, recent decades have seen a steady influx of families moving into the area and yet the rural appeal of the town is maintained by its small size and its location nestled in scenic, rolling hills. Public schools in Eldersburg are ranked as among the best in the state; housing prices—again due to the proximity to the very high cost District of Columbia are higher than average, but the economic health of the area is excellent, which supports the higher real estate costs.
CroftonThe third Maryland community in the top 100 is Crofton, which comes in at number 82. Crofton, situated in Anne Arundel County started its existence in 1965 as planned, gated community equidistance from both Washington D.C. and Baltimore (20 miles to each). With a population of only slightly over 20,000, Crofton is situated around a scenic 3.5-mile scenic loop that includes two elementary schools, the town hall, and a country club and which is famous for its jogging, cycling and walking opportunities. Crime is low and the schools are among the best in the state. Housing prices however are reported as being “significantly” higher than the statewide average.
While one man’s paradise can be another’s purgatory, the criteria cited by Money magazine’s survey identify the most important factors that go into making a particular location among the “best places to live in the United States. Not everyone can move to these oases of domestic tranquility, but for those relocating due to job or schooling reasons to Maryland’s Baltimore-D.C. area, these three cities rank among the best places to live in Maryland.