Colorado is known for its superb outdoors culture: activities like skiing, hiking, rapids and horseback riding are readily available across the state. These recreational activities make the state particularly family-friendly, as do the area’s quality schools, affordability and economic growth.
As we studied cities and towns across the Centennial State and identified the best for young families, we asked the following questions:
Does the town have good public schools? We measured schools’ academic performance with ratings from GreatSchools. This non-profit compares a given school’s standardized test scores to the state average to obtain a rating on a 1 to 10 scale (10 representing the highest score). Higher ratings led to a higher overall score.
Can you afford to live there? We looked at both average home values in each town and ongoing monthly home costs, including mortgage payments, real estate taxes, insurance costs, utilities, fuel and other bills. Lower costs led to a higher overall score.
Is the town growing and prospering? We assessed a town’s economy by looking at average household income and income growth over the last decade. Higher income and greater growth led to a higher overall score.
5. Castle Rock
Named for the prominent rock formation that overlooks the town, Castle Rock is cherished for its small-town hospitality. Residents are attracted to the area by its diverse recreational opportunities, panoramic views and the town’s laid-back but lively vibe. Parks comprise 27% of Castle Rock’s total land area, and in summer months, the town organizes weekly family-friendly entertainment events, such as Splash in the Park, outdoor movies and a farmers market. Castle Rock is proud to host both WineFest, a July outdoor event with wine tasting and live jazz music, and the Colorado Artfest, a juried international fine arts show with more than 180 artists, live main-stage entertainment and cultural exhibits.
The overall score for each city was derived from the following measures:
- GreatSchools city rating. GreatSchools city ratings are calculated by averaging the weighted overall rating for each school in the city (weighted by the number of students enrolled at the school)
- Median home value from the U.S. Census (2011 ACS, data set DP04, half-weighted)
- Monthly homeowner costs from the U.S. Census (2011 ACS, data set DP04, half-weighted)
- Median household income from the U.S. Census (2011 ACS, data set DP03, half-weighted)
- Income change between 1999 and 2011 from the U.S. Census (data sets P053 and DP03, half-weighted)
- 57 Colorado cities and towns designated as places by the U.S. Census were included in this analysis. Only places with a population greater than 10,000 were considered.
View article in it’s entirety at http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/family/best-towns-colorado-young-families/
by MIKE ANDERSON on JULY 30, 2013