Stephen Henderson meets with Mark Tressler, vice president of product development for Niche, to discuss the 2015 list of best suburbs to raise a family in Michigan and why some of Metro Detroit’s most well known suburbs didn’t make the list. The reasons they discuss:
- Using hard data: Niche compiles their lists at national, state, county, and regional levels using a combination of resident reviews and objective government data. Tressler says that relying on hard data is vital to accurate rankings because local perceptions and biases become defensive whenever cities, towns, and suburbs are ranked above and below others.
- Ranked and graded: For the rankings of best suburbs to raise a family, the key factors were public education, crime and safety, community involvement, housing, age of residents, and access to family necessities. Each of these and their related subcategories received a letter grade to measure how good a suburb is for young families. Although a suburb may be ranked lower on the list, the overall grades of these categories may not be significantly different from one higher up. Tressler says factors related to attracting younger families were weighted more than those used when simply ranking the best suburbs in Michigan overall.
- “Why isn’t my hometown listed?”: Tressler says one of the main causes of confusion for people who ask this question is the way Niche classifies the difference between suburbs, towns, and cities. Niche uses the following population restrictions for urbanized areas in the making of its lists:
- Suburb = 1,000 – 5,000 residents
- Town = 5,000 – 100,000 residents
- City = 100,000 or more residents
According to Niche’s website, because of these and other restrictions, out of the data collected from 11,372 suburbs across the country, Niche graded 11,196 and ranked only 3,250 suburbs.
Hear the full conversation by clicking the audio link above.