Ellicott City is no stranger to accolades. The city has been ranked in the top 10 of the best places to live in America in 2010 and 2012 by CNN Money Magazine. Now a new study ranks the city as the third best place in Maryland for young families.
The study, performed by researchers at NerdWallet, looked at towns according to factors that young families find important.
Towns were ranked based on growth, income level and the quality of public schools and given an overall score. Eldersburg ranked first, followed by Odenton, Ellicott City, Towson and Severna Park. Catonsville, Annapolis, Frederick, Olney and Rockville rounded out the top 10.
In the case of Ellicott City, researchers pointed to the high median income of $113,312, a 43 percent growth rate from 1999-2011 and high GreatSchools.org ratings for local schools.
Affordability, however, was a drag on Ellicott City and other cities and towns in the state. The average home price in Ellicott City was $523,500, making it the second-most expensive town on the list behind Olney at $524,500.
"Maryland in general is wealthier than most states," said Mike Anderson, the author of the report. "It's absolutely a tug-of-war between higher income and affordability."
The growth of cities was considered a positive for young families; all of the cities in NerdWallet's top 10 had growth of more than 30 percent between 1999 and 2011. Anderson acknowledged that some residents may consider growth to be a negative due to increase traffic or other concerns, but that young families prefer denser and more active and wealthier communities.
"With growth, you also tend to face overcrowding, but in general, young families look for higher income than having more space."
Anderson said Nerdwallet is performing similar rankings for all 50 states and have completed 15. By year's end, he hopes to publish a national ranking.