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Not in the Top 100

Brief by Central Staff

Rural Life – January 1996 – Colorado Central Magazine

Who ranks

Well, we’re safe from one Norm Crampton, who just issued a book called The 100 Best Small Towns in America. No town in Central Colorado made it.

At the top was Essex, Conn. Steamboat Springs came in second. Other Colorado towns on the list were Glenwood Springs, 4th, Durango, 18th, and Montrose, 77th.

To qualify, a town had to have 5,000-15,000 people and sit outside a metropolitan area. Points came from low crime rates and high marks in these categories: growth, income, bank deposits, proportion of young adults, physicians, public school expenditures , and proportion of college-educated residents.

Now ponder Steamboat Springs, the second-best small town in America. The typical house there costs $182,000, which means payments of about $2,000 a month. The per-capita income averages $15,927, which means about $331 a month for the house payment.

So every household needs six wage earners to make the payments — say two parents and a teenager, each working two jobs. Nobody has time for crime. Not much time for domestic disputes, either. How much better can small-town life get?