• Kevin Elliott

Rochester Hills among most livable cities

Rochester Hills was the only city in Michigan to be named on Friday, October 13, to the list of "America's 50 Best Cities to Live" as compiled by 24/7 Wall St., LLC, a financial news and opinion company.

Coming in at number 14 in list of the top 50 cities to live in, the authors note the high test scores of city's high school students and the percent of college-educated residents, along with Rochester Hills' low crime rate and soaring home values.

"High school students in Rochester Hills test better than students in any city in Michigan other than Troy or Ann Arbor, and 57.3 percent of adults have at least a bachelor's degree – far more than the 31.3 percent of adults nationwide," the article states. "Rochester Hills is also largely devoid of the violent crime that plagues much of the Detroit metro area."

While comparing a city of about 73,000 residents of an outer-ring suburb to an urban core emerging from bankruptcy with more than a half-million residents isn't exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, officials noted following the release of the report, Rochester Hills leaders rightfully trumpeted its findings.

"Our entire team is focused every day on being the pre-eminent place to live, work and raise a family," Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett said in a news release touting the ranking. "To have those efforts validated both as number one in Michigan and in the top 15 nationally is a recognition our entire community is responsible for."

The city's new release adds to the report, noting that the city is home to two universities and three "blue ribbon" schools, a status of excellence coveted by schools across the nation.

The report's authors note the rankings consider a community's economic strength, unemployment, crime rate, education, housing affordability and median income. The list also considers access to cultural amenities, eateries and other desired attractions.

"Most of the best cities have relatively easy access to similar attractions in nearby major cities such as Denver, Minneapolis, New York and Washington D.C.," the authors stated, suggesting livability is dependent, at least in part, on a city's proximity to a large urban core. The latter is particularly noteworthy when considering 24/7 Wall St. in 2016 ranked Detroit as the second "Worst Cities to Live In" in a list of 50 across the country. The 2016 list provoked the ire of other cities in Michigan, which included "8. Flint, Michigan" and "28. Lansing, Michigan."

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