Chesterfield Business News Archive
Chesterfield Ranks 17th in US for Quality of Life
A study by American City Business Journals (ACBJ) says Chesterfield County,
VA offers the nation's 17th best quality of life. ACBJ used 20 statistical
indicators to rate living conditions in all 3,141 counties and independent
cities across the country.
ACBJ's report is more comprehensive than traditional quality-of-life studies,
which usually only focus on metropolitan areas and omit smaller communities.
This study includes data for every county and independent city in the nation.
The study used statistical information from the 2000 census.
The state of Virginia had four counties in the top 20 and eight counties included
in the national top 50. An article outlining the study and the methodology
used is available online at www.bizjournals.com.
The results are naturally of interest to companies looking to locate and expand.
But quality of life rankings will not outweigh critical economic factors such
as the availability of workers and access to markets.
The ratings formula compared each county's performance against the U.S. county-by-county
averages in 20 categories, yielding an overall quality-of-life score. Counties
with upper-income families, large homes and well-educated adults received high
marks. But several qualities unrelated to affluence were also rewarded, including
racial diversity, family stability and short commuting times. Overall scores
ranged from a high of 18.99 points to a low of minus-16.04 points.
Listed below are the 20 categories that ACBJ used to produce the ratings.
The letter in parentheses indicates whether the category's top score went to
the county with the highest (H) or lowest (L) figure.
- Stability -- Percentage of residents who have lived in their current homes
for at least five years. (H)
- Work in neighborhood -- Percentage of workers who walk to their jobs or
work at home. (H)
- Work within county -- Percentage of workers who work in the same county
where they live. (H)
- Short commutes -- Percentage of workers who live less than 15 minutes
from their jobs, minus the percentage who commute 45 minutes or longer. The
listed figure is the difference between these two groups, expressed in percentage
- Transit availability -- Percentage of workers who commute by public transit.
- Young adults -- Percentage of residents between the ages of 25 and 44.
- Racial diversity -- Percentage of residents who are minorities (blacks,
Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans) minus the national average (30.9
percent), expressed as an absolute value. The listed figure is the local
deviation from minority representation in the nation as a whole, expressed
in percentage points. (It is not the percentage of local minorities.) The
lower the deviation, the more closely a county mirrors the nation's diversity.
- Poverty -- Percentage of families living below the federally designated
poverty level. (L)
- Unemployment -- Percentage of civilian workforce that is unemployed. (L)
- Top-level jobs -- Percentage of workers who have jobs in management or
professional occupations. (H)
- Income -- Median household income. (H)
- Home value -- Median value of owner-occupied homes. (H)
- House affordability -- Comparison of median home value and median household
income, expressed as home value per $1,000 of income. (L)
- Property taxes -- Comparison of median real estate taxes and median household
income, expressed as real estate taxes per $1,000 of income. (L)
- New housing units -- Percentage of existing homes built since 1980. (H)
- Big houses -- Percentage of homes with nine or more rooms. (H)
- Homeowner rate -- Percentage of homes owned by their occupants. (H)
- High school grads -- Percentage of adults 25 or older who hold high school
- College grads -- Percentage of adults 25 or older who hold bachelor's
- Graduate degrees -- Percentage of adults 25 or older who hold master's,
doctoral and/or professional degrees. (H)
Date Posted: 5/26/2004
<< Back to News Archives