When you think of “caring” places in the U.S.—places where people look after one another, where the crime rates are low, and there’s a general sense of hospitality — do you picture someplace in the South? Maybe the Midwest?
But what about those other often overlooked, caring communities? Where are the most caring ‘burbs?
Well, today at the Movoto Real Estate Blog we’ll tell you just that. Starting with our winner, Silver Spring, MD, here are the 10 most caring suburbs in the U.S.:
1. CDP of Silver Spring, MD
2. City of Georgetown, TX
3. City of Cupertino, CA
4. City of Alexandria, VA
5. City of Frederick, MD
6. CDP of Columbia, MD
7. City of Shelbyville, KY
8. City of Round Rock, TX
9. City of Alameda, CA
10. Village of Skokie, IL
As you can see, there’s a little Southern flavor here, as well as one place from the Midwest; but who knew Maryland was so caring? And California?!
Before you start getting too worked up (yeah, we’re talkin’ to you, Georgia), keep reading to find out how we came up with this list in the first place. Then we’ll take a closer look at our 10 winners.
Just like our other Big Deal Lists, we started this one by paying a visit to the U.S. Census Bureau, where we gathered up a total of 109 of our nation’s finest suburbs. Just to be clear, for the purposes of this analysis, we defined a suburb as any large population center near one of the nation’s 50 largest cities. We also took into consideration whether or not the place was called a suburb on Wikipedia, in the list of inner-ring suburbs, or in any official capacity.
Then, we used sources like the U.S. Census, the 2012 Uniform FBI Crime Report, business listings, and Sperling’s Best Places to look at each of our 109 places in terms of the following criteria:
- Student-counselor ratio
- Crimes per 100,000 people (the lower the better)
- Pet shelters and rescue per capita
- Community services per capita
- Mental health counselors and therapists per capita
- Percent of workers who carpool (caring for the environment)
From there, we ranked each place with scores from one to 109, where the lower scores went to our more caring places. Next, we averaged each city’s rankings into one overall Big Deal Score, where again, the lowest score went to our most caring suburb. That’s you, Silver Spring.
If you’re curious about where your hometown ranked, you can head to the end of the post to check out the top 50 most caring suburbs. If you don’t see your suburb on the list, it may be because it didn’t fit into the requirements or because it just didn’t make the top 50. In which case, you should probably move.
Just kidding! Now, let’s take a closer look at our top 10 most caring suburbs in America!
…But seriously, if you want to move to someplace nicer (literally), just give us a shout. We’re pretty kind. We’ll help you out.
1. Silver Spring, MD
Fun fact! Did you know that Silver Spring, Maryland is the home of comedic genius, Dave Chappelle? And, no joke, in addition to his career onstage, Dave Chappelle is something of a philanthropist. Now we have absolutely no proof to back us up here, but we are 99 percent sure because of his hometown.
After all, Silver Spring has more community services and mental health professionals per capita than nearly anywhere else we looked at (it ranked third and seventh in these categories, respectively).
Plus, with a student to counselor ratio of 14.9 to 1, it’s clear that this ‘burb starts caring for residents early on.
2. Georgetown, TX
Don’t let Georgetown’s southern charm, welcoming downtown, and friendly residents fool you—this place is also really caring!
Of course they care for residents here, like any good southern city should. They have the ninth most community services and the fifth most counselors per student in the country.
But more than that, Georgetown also cares for its four-legged residents. It has the second most pet shelters per person out of anywhere in our analysis.
3. Cupertino, CA
Sure it’s wealthy, and educated, and beautiful, and apparently one of the best places to live in the country, according to Money Magazine… but is it caring?
Of course it is. Why else would we be talking about it?
The reason Cupertino ranked so high on our list was mostly because of its incredibly low crime rate—the sixth lowest of all the suburbs in the nation. This, plus the 16th most counselors and mental health professionals per capita (after all, working at Apple might have its stressful moments) makes Cupertino one caring suburb.
4. Alexandria, VA
This Washington D.C. suburb ranked well in our analysis for a number of reasons. First off, it got an A Plus for its low student to counselor ratio—just 9.8 to 1. To put that into perspective for you, suburbs like Daly City and Seal Beach, CA had a ratio of about 23 to 1.
Alexandria also had the 10th most community service options per capita such as homeless shelters, soup kitchens, the American Red Cross, Goodwills, and much, much more.
5. Frederick, MD
Frederick may be known as “The City of Clustered Spires,” but residents might want to consider “The City of Clustered Counselors.” Or… something clever. The point is, Frederick has a ton of counselors and mental health professionals—in fact, it has the ninth most per person on our list.
Frederick residents don’t seem to only value other people, though. They value the environment, with a whopping 14.63 percent of residents who carpool, and the rest of the animal kingdom, with the 22nd most animal shelters per capita.
6. Columbia, MD
Let’s just put this out there: any place that was actually designed from the beginning to eliminate racial, religious, and class segregation, is a shoo-in on this list. Yes, Columbia! That was actually the reason this community was formed in 1967—well, that, and to eliminate the inconveniences of the then-current subdivision design.
Of course we couldn’t award points for Columbia’s noble inception, but we did give it kudos for its high number of mental health professionals per person (the 10th most), its low student to counselor ratio (the 12th lowest), and the 13th most community services options per person.
7. Shelbyville, KY
Ah, the Gateway to the Bluegrass, also known as an Environmentalist’s Dream Town. Okay, it’s not really called that, but after reading this, you guys might want to tack that onto your list of nicknames.
The reason this city is so earth-friendly is that more people carpool here than any other suburb in our analysis—21.53 percent! Residents also value the lives of those who roam the earth—specifically, those who roam it on four legs. Shelbyville has the fifth most animal shelters per capita.
8. Round Rock, TX
It’s no real surprise that Round Rock made the cut; after all, it is a suburb of Austin, one of the most caring and all around awesome cities in the country. (Okay, I might be a little biased…)
But seriously, this little city just outside of Austin shows almost as much love as its bigger neighbor. Not only does it have a student to counselor ratio of just 15 to 1, but it also—somewhat surprisingly—has some of the most carpooling residents in the country.
9. Alameda, CA
Alameda may seem like your typical absolutely adorable, affluent, utterly charming, and friendly Northern California suburb, but it’s much more—it’s also incredibly caring for its residents. (And you, too, if you decide to visit.)
It has the 11th most community service listings per capita—the Alameda Food Bank, the Asian American Donor Program, and the Boys and Girls Club, just to name a few. Plus, it has the 11th most animal shelter listings per capita, because as any pet owner knows, animals are people too.
10. Skokie, IL
What would a list of caring places be without at least one community from the Midwest, eh? The reason this little/not-so-little-at-all village, as it has a population of about 65,000, and is actually known as “The World’s Largest Village”—anyway, the reason it ranked so well on this list was mostly for its high number of counselors and mental health pros per person.
Its 15th place ranking in that category, plus its No. 24 spot in the student to counselor ratio category, put Skokie at No. 10 on our list. Midwest represent!
Because We Care
You know if Movoto was a suburb we totally would have made this list. After all, we care about you guys. We care enough to keep you entertained, to keep you informed with lists like this one, and most of all, we care about keeping a roof over your head.
Preferably, a really nice roof in someplace warm and welcoming. Maybe some place like Silver Spring.