The 24/7 Wall St. this week ranked Hoover as being in the top 30 cities in which to live in the United States.
The website reviewed data on the 550 cities with populations of 65,000 or more and considered variables such as employment growth, crime rates, educational attainment and housing affordability. 24/7 Wall St. named the top 50 cities in which to live and put Hoover at No. 28. Hoover was the only city from Alabama on the list and one of 15 in the South. The labor market was a key consideration in the website’s rankings. In order to be considered, a city needed positive employment growth between 2011 and 2013. Seventy cities did not meet this standard, but Hoover had a 2.17 percent employment growth in that time period, according to 24/7 Wall St. Hoover’s unemployment rate of 3.8 percent in 2013 was lower than in all but eight cities reviewed and ranked as the fourth lowest rate among the top 50 best places to live. The national unemployment rate in 2013 was 7.4 percent. The 24/7 Wall St. website eliminated any cities with an unemployment rate of more than 9.8 percent, which excluded more than 100 cities from consideration. Just 5.7 percent of the people in Hoover lived below the poverty line in 2013, versus 15.9 percent nationally. Hoover’s median household income was $70,583 – far higher than the national median but twice as high as the median home value in Alabama, according to 24/7 Wall St. The cost of living in Hoover was in line with national averages, the website said. Cities with median household incomes less than 90 percent of the state median income received a lower score, and cities that had median incomes exceeding 150 percent of the state median also were penalized for imposing high-income barriers on potential residents. Of cities with 65,000 people or more, Hoover ranked among the safest in the United States, with a violent crime rate of just 104.5 incidents per 100,000 people, based on FBI data from 2012. Roughly half the 550 cities examined were excluded from consideration for the top 50 because they had property or violent crime rates that were at least 25 percent higher than the 2012 national rates. According to the RealtyTrac housing market data site, “quality of education is the No. 1 issue home buyers ask about,” so the 24/7 Wall St. website also evaluated cities based on average test scores in their schools compared to their state average and the percentage of adults age 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree (56 percent in Hoover). Hoover’s overall education score was the 22nd highest among the top 50 best places to live, though not necessarily the 22nd highest in the nation. Other factors considered, to a lesser extent, by 24/7 Wall St. were the environment, available leisure activities and infrastructure. Hoover’s environment score ranked 28th among the top 50, taking into account factors such as air quality, average temperatures and amount of rainfall. The city ranked 23rd among the top 50 in leisure activities, considering the availability of restaurants, bars, libraries, museums, theater companies, sports teams, golf courses, parks, playgrounds and zoos. Hoover ranked 43rd among the top 50 in infrastructure. The website considered things such as the accessibility of airports and hospitals, the percentage of residents who use public transportation or walk to get to work, and the average commute time to work. In Hoover, the average commuter spends 24.4 minutes getting to work, which ranked the city 27th among the top 50 cities in commute time. Go to the 24/7 Wall St. website for more details on each of the top 50 best cities in which to live, or read more about the website’s methodology in conducting the rankings. Read more… View current houses for sale in Hoover AL
For most single mothers, it would seem that the bigger the city, the better the opportunity—more jobs, better public transportation systems and a larger community for support.
But a NerdWallet survey based largely on U.S. Census Bureau data has found places outside America’s largest cities seem to offer more for single moms to thrive: social stability, economic opportunity and affordable child care.
The growth of single-parent families in the U.S. is well documented and deeply debated. Less discussed is what kind of communities are best at supporting the nearly 25 million children being raised primarily by one parent. To find out, NerdWallet analyzed U.S. communities with populations of more than 50,000 residents against several key factors that affect single mothers the most.
Our analysis sets out to answer three main questions:
Can a single parent make enough to cover rent (or mortgage) and child care? As every working parent knows child care costs are astronomical. So we considered each community’s median income, median housing costs and average day care costs for an infant and a 4 year old. We found wide variations in average day care costs from state-to-state using a 2013 study by Child Care Aware of America and the Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R).
Is the community stable? Poverty is a major issue for single-parent families. The census estimates that nearly half of all families living with single mothers (who make up nearly 85% of single parents) are living in poverty. We gave more weight to communities such as Towson, Maryland, which had the lowest number of single mothers below the poverty line—just 4%. The city with the highest number of single mothers below the poverty line was Delano, California, near Bakersfield. There, 68.2% of all single mothers are raising their children below the poverty line.
Can single parents have a decent quality of life? We also looked at other key quality-of-life indicators for single moms: commuting times (knowing that longer commutes can raise child care costs and hurt quality family time,) the overall strength of schools—based on data from Greatschools and whether you would be likely to find other families with similar structures for support.
And what about dads? NerdWallet took the same methodology and swapped in data points relevant to single fathers. There were some limitations, since census data doesn’t count the percentage of single fathers living below the poverty line, but our analysis still offered some insight into the lives of single fathers. Check out our list for single fathers.
Trends and takeaways:
Single families represent a major demographic shift for communities everywhere. The number of families with children under 18 headed by single parents in 1960 was 8.2%. By 2012, 28% of all U.S. children lived in a home headed by single parents, according to census data.
Income opportunity and stability are major concerns for single parents: Nearly half of all the 20 million children living with one parent live below the poverty line, according to 2013 census data.
The city with the highest percentage of single fathers versus the entire population in our data set was Hanford, California at 2.1% of total population.
The city with the highest percentage of single mothers versus the entire population was Camden, New Jersey at 7.9% of total population.
For more information on the full ranking click here.