There are numerous ‘Best Places to Live’ rankings on the web, but none of them look beyond statistics to crown their winners. No statistic can predict the relations you build within your neighborhood. That is why those rankings are best left as diversions, used only to reinforce our convictions, or to provide some anecdote we might use against a rival town.
The rankings do not tell you of the unique ways that a town grows on you. The more ties you make to the community, the more affection you feel towards your neighborhood. Little things, like meeting neighbors in church, driving your kids and their friends to soccer, learning the name of your barber, make a new town home to you.
There are many ways to build community ties. For example, joining a PTA/PTO committee is a great way to get involved in your local parent community. The school directory is a great resource for parents who wish to contact other parents to navigate school-related as well social activities of their children.
Start using your child’s school directory. Volunteer for a PTA/PTO event. The more involved you get, the higher your neighborhood will rank in your personal ‘best places to live’ rankings.
To their defense, those rankings do go through a ton of interesting statistics. How would the ‘percentage of bicycle fatalities that are under age 16’ (parenting.com) affect your decision to move to Boston? Or moving to West Virginia, given that according to Gallup, ‘West Virginians are the most miserable in the USA’.