Waterloo among best cities for young families

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Consumer advocacy site NerdWallet released its second annual edition study of “Best Cities for Young Families in Illinois” this week and out of 220 places, Waterloo ranked 14th.

Waterloo was the first metro-east city to appear on this year’s list, ranking just one spot higher than Edwardsville.

To create this ranking, NerdWallet analyzed U.S. Census data to assess home affordability, growth and prosperity, education quality and family friendliness.

The study revealed that eight of the top 10 cities on the list have populations less than 25,000. Only places with more than 10,000 residents were analyzed.

Waterloo was listed as having a median home value of $184,300, family income growth from 1999 to 2013 of 75.68 percent, median family income for 2013 of $82,432 and percent of residents married with children of 26.3 percent.

Thirty percent of the total score was calculated by averaging index scores for median home value and median selected monthly owner costs. The lower the costs, the higher the score.

Growth and prosperity are 20 percent of the total score. The two metrics involved were growth in family income from 1999 to 2013 and median family income in 2013. Both were weighted equally and positively.

To measure if an area is a good place for families, which is 30 percent of the total score, NerdWallet looked at the percentage of married couples with at least one child under age 18, and the percentage of families in poverty with at least one child under age 5. The percentage of families with at least one child was 70 percent of the score, while the percentage of families in poverty was 30 percent of the score.

Using data from GreatSchools, every place was assigned a ranking from 1 to 10 for the quality of schools. Education is 20 percent of the total score.

To view the entire list, visit it online.

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