South Bend Area & Indiana Get High Marks in Recent Study
Almost daily, some new report comes from somewhere saying our area is the best at this or the worst at that. Often a ranking of cities or states leads to some good water cooler conversation about the merits of the report and whether we believe it accurately portrays our area or not.
Often if it’s negative, we quickly dismiss it because those doing the report missed some key factor that might have painted our area in a different light. If it’s positive, we want all of our friends and family to know and are quick to share it with our followers.
I do think it’s important to track key statistics about our region. I equate it to checking our vital signs to helping better understand our health. Those frequent checks help us understand if we are making real progress.
Benchmarking ourselves against other communities can also be key helps us know how we are stacking up. Is everyone gaining or losing, or just us.
Recently, the Niche.com released a report related to the affordability of communities across the Country. Indiana led the way with one of the lowest costs of living in the country, placing three cities in the top six and four in the top twenty five. The South Bend area ranked sixth nationally, Ft. Wayne first, Evansville second and Indianapolis twenty fourth.
Niche touts its expertise in helping people make important life decisions. They assist people in things like choosing a neighborhood, college, or K-12 school. They were founded at Carnegie Mellon University and have since grown into one of the largest content startups in the country.
The Niche.com list is based on metrics including home value, property taxes, rent and gas prices. Also factored in were home value to income ratio, median effective property tax, median home value, median rent, monthly housing cost to income ratio, CPI Gas Index, CPI Grocery Index and Rent to Income Ratio. The numbers come from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Our region stacks up well in most of those categories, hence the high overall marks. We lose perspective sometimes and worry about our costs, but when compared with other areas, we do really well.
When you take into consideration those numbers and combine them with other key numbers like a growing population, rising personal income, the highest level of employment in our history, and low unemployment and we’ve got a strong story to tell. Add to that the amount of new capital investment in our communities and growing GDP and there is reason for optimism.
Certainly we don’t receive high marks in every category; we like all communities have our challenges. But how we react to them and address them will be the factor that determines our success. Can we build upon our successes, or will our shortcomings dominate the conversation and derail the area’s progress.
Indiana has one of the top business climates in the Country. Indiana is rich in fine higher education institutions, some of the best in the world. Indiana’s geographic location makes it easy to serve markets in every direction.
A major research University like Notre Dame; strong connectivity via road, train and air; access to major markets, a growing talent pool, and a low cost of business have our area poised for continued growth.
Bottom line, the low cost of living highlighted by Niche is good thing for our area and a big part of why we all live here. Let’s use information like this to show new people all our region has to offer.