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Cumberland Valley lands 10 of the ‘Top 15 Places To Live in Central Pennsylvania’

According to Pennlive.com, 10 of the Top 15 Places to Live in Central PA are located in Cumberland County, including the #1 town, Camp Hill.

Cumberland County towns/townships in the Top 15 includes Silver Spring Township (#13), Hampden Township (#12), Shiremanstown (#10), New Cumberland (#9), Wormleysburg (#7), Mechanicsburg (#6), Lemoyne (#5), East Pennsboro Township (#4),  Carlisle (#3), and Camp Hill (#1).

Just outside the Top 15 is Upper Allen Township (#17) and Monroe Township (#18).

Here is what Pennlive had to say in regards to rankings and how they were determined:

“We started by poring over information from government sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing; state resources including thePennsylvania Department of Education; and other sources such as Walk Score, which uses a methodology to figure out the walkability of various areas.

Various points were pulled and condensed to fit into broad categories — affordability, amenities, crime, diversity, schools and transit — determined by the very scientific method of polling readers. Those same readers gave their opinion about what was “most” important when it comes to choosing a place to live.

Every municipality was compared to a midstate average because it gives a better sense that state or national averages of how they stack up compared with another community. Essentially, it’s comparing an apple to an average apple rather than a whole fruit basket.

But there are other things that people use to determine where they live that are immeasurable — locations near family, a friendly neighborhood or a general sense of place. Those are intangibles that no ranking or scorecard can really take into account.

Ultimately, PennLive came up with the following system:

  • Affordability — based on the U.S. Department of Housing’s affordability index, median home value, median rent prices and property taxes;
  • Crime — based on self-reported crime statistics to the Pennsylvania Unified Crime Reporting System (if no value existed for an area an average of Pennsylvania State Police statistics was used), calculated out per capita;
  • Schools — based on graduation rate, post-secondary enrollment from the district, student-teacher ratio, SAT scores and 2012 PSSA scores;
  • Diversity — based on a calculation which determines the likelihood of finding a person of a different race or a Hispanic person in a pool of 100;
  • Transit — based on average commute time and walkability score; and
  • Amenities — based on parks, access to healthcare and necessity stores, libraries and an entertainment score.

Each data point was given a score and then calculated to create a score for each category.

The affordability index, median home value, median rent prices and property tax rates each make up 25 percent each of the overall affordability score. Violent crime accounted for 70 percent of the overall crime score, while non-violent crime made up 30 percent.

Graduation rate and post-secondary enrollment made up 25 percent each of the schools score; student-teacher ratio accounted for 30 percent and test scores made up 10 percent each. Transit scores were made up of equal parts commute time and walkability scores.

Scores were given in each category on a 5-point scale, with affordability comprising of 30 percent of the final score; schools making up 25 percent; crime making up 15 percent; diversity and transit making up 5 percent each; and amenities making up 20 percent for the top 30 municipalities.”

To see more on the methodology, click here. To see the entire rankings by Pennlive, click here.

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