Rhode Island’s Best Communities 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


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What's the best community in Rhode Island?

What is the best place in Rhode Island to live, whether you're a young single, a starting family, or empty-nesters? What city or town combines affordability, safety, schools, arts, culture and recreation and nightlife in the very best balance? GoLocalProv's 3rd Annual RI's Best Communities takes a close, analytical look at all 39 cities and towns in the state to come up with that very answer. After more than 100 hours of analyzing almost 900 data points, we have the answer for 2012.

Starting today: An entire week devoted to Best Communities 2012

With updated data and formulas, GoLocalProv reveals the very latest look at every community from one end of the state to the other. Starting today, we reveal the rankings, starting from the bottom of the list at #39. Every day we'll reveal more communities, moving up the list toward the Top 10, which will appear on Friday. What day will your town make the list? And at what ranking? Which towns ranked lower than yours? Which ones higher? We'll have more towns every day, all week, plus a full, downloadable chart on Friday comparing all 39 communities. Don't miss a day of it.

How GoLocalProv ranks Rhode Island's communities

To translate "great community" into a quantifiable assessment, we went to the data. With rankings created nationally by leading media sources like Kiplinger's and Money Magazine, we created our own set of criteria for what makes a community great. 

Our researchers spent hours poring over measures from public sources that help define a great place to live. We gathered and assessed housing prices, tax rates, median household incomes, crime statistics, and school performance on standardized tests in elementary, middle, and high schools. We counted places to go out and have fun, from bars and restaurants, to theaters, historic sites and museums, and golf courses. We even counted libraries. (For a full explanation of our methodology and sources, go here.)

New in 2012: A updated formula

Once the data was collected, GoLocal applied its proprietary ranking formula that combines and weighs these measures. New for this year: GoLocal carefully revised its ranking formula for 2012 to get even closer to what we feel defines community best. While education has always been in the Best Communities ranking formula, it now has more weight than in previous years. GoLocal also established separate weightings for arts & culture and restaurants & bars, to allow towns with strengths in one or the other to emerge more clearly. For more on the formula and methology, go here. What emerged for 2012 was a new set of analytical snapshots of our communities - in education, housing, safety, affordability, and culture... and of course, what community combined everything into the best overall package.

What the rankings mean... to you

This is Rhode Island, remember, and we're expecting to hear from you. How do you feel about your town's ranking? What do the measures we use tell you about your community? Join the conversation about RI's Best Communities here in comments, on your town's profile, and on Facebook, here. Share the piece, talk to your friends and neighbors, and enjoy the biggest backyard conversation Rhode Island has ever seen.

And stay tuned all week.

Research by Scott O'Leary, Meia Geddes, Frankie Dobbs, Hannah Strom-Weber and Jake Costello.

For more Best Communities 2012 coverage, don't miss GoLocalTV, fresh every day at 4pm and on demand 24/7, here.


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