Midwest Dominates National Survey

smartasset.com recently evaluated 494 small cities located near a big city and ranked Delaware, Ohio, as the third-best in the nation.

smartasset.com has named Delaware, Ohio, as the third-best small town near a big city in the nation.

Wordy title. But still a cool distinction.

smartasset.com evaluated every community on three factors – jobs, affordability, and livability – and then ranked the 494 communities based on those criteria. Brownsburg, Indiana was first, followed by Hebron, Kentucky in the two communities that out-paced Delaware.

The first two were seen as much more affordable than Delaware. In fact, Delaware was only in the top-10 of the livibility score category.

Columbus, Cincinnati and Indianapolis communites dominated the top-10. With every community located within those metro markets. Other Columbus communities to make the list included Johnstown (7) and Canal Winchester (8).

Methadology According to smartasset.com

Definitions of suburbs according to population constraints vary, but for the purposes of our study, we considered neighboring suburbs with a population between 5,000 and 100,000. This left us with 494 suburbs, which we compared across three categories and a total of 13 metrics:

  • Jobs. For our jobs score, we considered five metrics: median household income, five-year income growth, 10-year employment growth, job diversity and unemployment rate. Job diversity measures the variety of industries available in a place using the Shannon index. Data for all metrics comes from the Census Bureau’s 2020 5-year American Community Survey.
  • Affordability. For this score, we looked at housing costs relative to income, home value-to-income ratio, average effective property tax rate and estimated annual cost of living for an individual. Data for the first three metrics comes from the Census Bureau’s 2020 5-year American Community Survey. Cost of living figures come from the MIT Living Wage Calculator.
  • Livability. This includes the high school graduation rate, dining and entertainment establishments as a percentage of all establishments and violent and property crimes per 100,000 people. Data comes from the 2022 County Health Rankings and the Census Bureau’s 2020 5-year American Community Survey. Crime data comes from the FBI and is for 2020; missing crime data was supplemented by NeighborhoodScout.com.

In our book Delaware is number one; but number three is pretty cool too.