What Neighborhood Should You Live In?

Choosing where to “settle down” can be a daunting task. How are the schools? What’s the crime rate? How high are the taxes? Lucky for me, I suppose, is that I am not too interested in settling down anywhere – I kinda like moving every couple of years. But for many people, the idea of buying a home and getting settled for the long term is definitely a big goal on the To-Do list. If you haven’t already found your perfect place, you may want to check out the website NeighborhoodScout.com which lets you search neighborhoods across the U.S., using criteria like housing appreciate rates, crime scores, and school ratings. For example, I searched for my favorite place I have ever lived, Santa Monica, CA, and here is some of what the report came back with:

– Santa Monica is a larger medium-sized coastal city (ie. on the ocean or tidally-influenced rivers) located in the state of California. With a population of 84,084 people and 19 constituent neighborhoods, Santa Monica is the 76th largest community in California.

– Of important note, Santa Monica is also a city of artists. Santa Monica has more artists, designers and people working in media than 90% of the communities in America. This concentration of artists helps shape Santa Monica’s character.

– One thing that you will notice about Santa Monica is that there is a good-sized population of people who are young, single, educated, and upwardly-mobile career starters. Many singles consider Santa Monica a good place to live without being in a really big city, with opportunities for friendships and fun with others like themselves.

– Santa Monica is a very ethnically-diverse city. The people who call Santa Monica home come from a variety of different races and ancestries. The most prevalent race in Santa Monica is White, followed by Asian. Santa Monica also has a sizeable Hispanic population (people of Hispanic origin can be of any race). People of Hispanic or Latino origin account for 13.50% of the city’s residents. Important ancestries of people in Santa Monica include English, German, Irish, Russian, Italian, Iranian, and Polish. Santa Monica also has a high percentage of its population that was born in another country: 24.85%.

– Population 84,084
– Number of homes & apartments 47,863
– Home Ownership:
–27.75% Owner Occupied
–65.22% Renter Occupied
–7.03% Vacant
– Median Home Value $1,138,229
– Median Rental Price $1,542


And while I would have to pay a fee to get the full data report, just this info alone gave me a feel for what kind of place Santa Monica is – even if I had never been/lived there. It would be very easy to look up potential places to live for free, just to get a general idea of what kind of community it is. But for the fee, you get full data information along with Scout Reports – reports they have done like America’s 5 Best Elementary, Middle and High Schools;
Affordable Neighborhoods with Great Schools; Most Dangerous Cities; Safest Cities; Best Public Schools. Pretty cool info, if you are a family looking for a new place to settle down.

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Comments (8)

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  1. Monevator says:

    It sounds a cool service. But surely they are missing a trick – they should let you say what is your favourite area, then find matches by that data near to where you have to move to!

    They can send me a check later. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Ted says:

    I love it! We are having a tough time deciding where to move to. A lot of our friends, church, places we like to go, preschool, and better schools are in one town right by us. But if you live 5-10 minutes outside of that town you can save money on taxes and 20-30,000 on the house. So its a tough choice for us! We want to move there, but need to save for another 3-4 years before we can get the down payment ready for the house. Craziness.

  3. Ron says:

    That’s a cool site.
    I’m trying to convince my wife that after the kids get grown and move off, we should sell everything, buy a small motorhome and just travel wherever we want. Visit the kids and grandkids, visit Alaska, drive up the coast (either of them). Everything can be done online anyway and having a house somewhere just means I’ll have to worry about it. Campgrounds are cheap and I kinda like the idea of living like a turtle with my house on my back! haha!

    She isn’t convinced … yet. *sigh*

  4. David says:

    Ron, I am thinking of doing that now, at 37. It’s on my list of life possibilities, since all my work is online and I can work from anywhere. Why be tied down to one location!

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  7. Marge says:

    Do double check their info. My neighborhood came up as “since it is a small town… no public transit” Which is amusing since two train lines and two bus lines run through here and two bus lines. We chose our street because it is three blocks from train and two blocks from bus (which connects to the crosstown bus 10 min south)
    I also would look at taxes, but avoid an area that didn’t spend on its schools. Even though my children are grown.