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LA ranks second behind Clayton

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Survey > Website rates state’s best communities for young people

By Tris DeRoma

Last year about this time, Los Alamos ranked pretty high on one of “America’s Best Communities For Young People” by an organization called the Promise Alliance.
In October 2013, a website called nerdwallet.com has taken up the mantle. Nerdwallet.com’s staff is currently in the middle of rating communities in all 50 states, and they just completed New Mexico.
In their New Mexico list, Los Alamos was ranked second, right behind Clayton, which seemed to have claimed the top spot due rate of growth, monthly homeowner costs and median home value.
According to nerdwallet.com, the median home value of a house in Los Alamos is $308,000 compared to Clayton’s $86,700. Monthly Owner Costs in Los Alamos is $1,948, as compared to $957 in Clayton. From 1999 to 2011, Clayton experienced a 57.4 percent growth rate as compared to Los Alamos’ 45.9 percent.
Overall, New Mexico is ranking somewhere in the middle as one of the best states for young people, said nerdwallet.com’s spokesperson, Laura Zulliger. The website is about two thirds of the way through its survey.
Mike Anderson, the analyst who is conducting the study, said they based their study on the three most important factors they thought would be important to young families and went from there, including income and quality of schools. Most of the figures came from analyzing the most recent U.S. Census data. For school quality, Anderson said they used Greatschools.org for their data.
“They grade every school across America based on their standardized test scores,” Anderson said.
This is the first time nerdwallet.com conducted the survey. Anderson said they are considering doing it again in 2014. According to Anderson, the survey article has received a lot of hits on their site.
Julie Habiger, spokesperson for the County of Los Alamos was pleased with the news, noting that the Promise Alliance gave similar marks to Los Alamos last year.
“It really doesn’t come as any big surprise that we would receive that honor,” Habiger said. “Because of the safe town we have here, great public schools, lots of outdoor activities and things for families to do, all of those things contribute to a great quality of life here that makes this a great place to live and raise a family,” she said.
Nerdwallet.com was founded in 2009 by Tim Chen, a Stanford University graduate with a degree in economics. The website’s main function is to help people with their finances by providing them with the advice and tools they need to save money, create budgets and make financial decisions. 

For more information on the study, check
http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/2013/best-towns-new-mexico-young-families/