Scores are assigned to each suburb for every category used in the rankings. Those scores are based on the year’s available numbers. We then add up the category scores, weighting certain categories more than others. Safety and education, for example, are given more weight than property taxes, which is given more weight than environmental infractions.
The Top 20 are those suburbs with the highest combined scores — in other words, the suburbs that perform best in all of the categories combined.
How We Did It
Overall rankings are determined using raw data that is converted into points calculated from the average in each category. Rankings for safety and education are awarded based on the total scores in each category.
Sources: Statistics for the calendar year 2018 are provided by each suburb. Crimes per 1,000 in Richfield Village are based on the combined populations of Richfield Village and Richfield Township, since the Richfield Village police patrol both and do not keep separate village stats.
Sources: Individual school districts and the Ohio Department of Education 2017-18 Local Report Card district data files.
The state’s 26 possible indicators for student performance are based on standardized tests, a gifted indicator that measures how gifted students are performing, a chronic absenteeism improvement indicator measuring the number of students who are chronically absent (missing at least 10% of the school year) and schools’ efforts to reduce that number and an end-of-course improvement indicator measuring the performance and improvement on retaken end-of-course tests. Each school’s possible indicators vary depending on which tests its students take.
The state’s Performance Index rewards the performance of every student, not just those who score “proficient” or higher. The scores range from 0 to 120, with 100 being the goal. The state tests students in reading and math every year from third through eighth grades. It also tests science in fifth and eighth grades.
The state has transitioned from its Ohio Graduation Tests to end-of-course tests. Those include English I & II, math I & II, geometry, algebra, American history, American government and biology. Physical science is still administered in some districts statewide, but because fewer than 600 students were reported as taking this test statewide, we did not include those in our calculations. In our rankings, the end-of-course tests are expressed as an average percentage of all students who scored at proficiency or above.
The state’s value-added ranking measures the impact schools and teachers have on students’ academic progress rates from year to year in math and reading in grades fourth through eighth.
We calculated the students per full-time teacher ratio using the state-reported figures for enrollment and full-time teachers. For more detailed reports on local state report cards, visit ode.state.oh.us.
As a measure of college readiness, we asked school districts to provide the number of Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes offered. In addition, we requested the percentage of seniors from the class of 2018 who took at least one of those classes during high school and who scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP test or a 4 or higher on at least one IB test during high school.
Median Home Sales Price
Sources: The county auditors or fiscal officers’ offices provided figures for valid sales of single-family homes in 2008, 2013 and 2018.
Sources: 2018 rates of taxation are from county auditors, treasurers or fiscal officers and the Ohio Department of Taxation. They include each community’s rollback and reduction for owner-occupied residential property for levies passed before November 2013.
Population, Poverty, Diversity & Owner-Occupied Housing
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2013-2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. Diversity points are awarded based on the suburb’s percentage of minority residents (nonwhite, Hispanic or multiracial), with the most points given to those suburbs closest to a 50 percent balance.
Source: The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s database of reported polluted sites, which is continuously updated and includes reports of polluted sites that the EPA has not fully investigated.
The mayor’s office of each suburb informed us which of the following services are available to all residents: tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball and softball diamonds, indoor or outdoor ice rink, indoor swimming pool, outdoor swimming pool, public playground, recreation center, public skateboarding park, senior services, youth services, free mulch, free leaf pickup, free garbage pickup and recycling programs.
Roads With Sidewalks
Each suburb provided information on the miles of roads and sidewalks. Percentage of roads with sidewalks was determined by dividing centerline miles of roads by half the miles of sidewalks (assuming sidewalks on both sides of the street) and converting to a percentage.
Alternative Commute and Commute Time To Work
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2013-2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
Click here to read the Top 20 cities on our Rating the Suburbs list.