Looking for a "friendly" place to live? Look no farther than your own back yard.
Forbes and Nextdoor.com teamed up to analyze 500 small metro areas with populations under 150,000--they call them towns--to rank the top 15 friendliest places, citing Sammamish, WA, as number one in its inaugural ranked list.
What makes Sammamish the friendliest town in America? Tell us in the comments.
According to Forbes, the study analyzed "data from the U.S. Census, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, and City-Data.com." Using that data, "we ranked the towns based on four data points: percentage of owner-occupied homes (studies have shown a direct correlation between homeownership and neighborhood stability); the crime rate; charitable giving; and the percentage of college graduates (research has found that college-educated folks typically display more civic engagement, with higher rates of voting and volunteering). Nextdoor then conducted qualitative surveys among its membership in the towns that rated the highest to help finalize the ranking of the top 15."
Using those metrics, Sammamish came out tops for being a connected community.
According to Forbes:
Nearly 90% of households (including Chung’s) own their homes. Unemployment in the town of 46,700 people is a relatively miniscule 5% thanks to the major corporations headquartered nearby like Costco, Starbucks and Microsoft. Sammamish’s crime rate is roughly 90% lower than the national average and residents laud the quality of the local school system. Combine that with an array of events that offer residents the chance to connect regularly, including a weekly farmers market, the Sammamish Days and Nights Jazz Music Festival, Shakespeare in the Park, and an annual Arts Fair, and perhaps it’s not surprising that the city’s official motto is “Building Community Together.”
However, there's a downside to all that positive karma, too, Forbes said. The cost of living in Sammamish, as in other towns on the list, is high, in large part due to a strong housing market--the median home price is $535,000.
The other towns in Forbes' top five include Orinda, CA (No. 2) Fishers, IN. (No. 3); Seal Beach, CA. (No. 4), and Westerville, OH (No. 5).