Home Town Index shows the power of place

Some Americans live in a rootless world of chain stores and network TV. But bowling teams can have the same members for decades in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. In Greenville, Alabama, the churches are packed. And everybody knows your name in the neighborhood taverns of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

A great home town is a place with deep roots. Great home towns have well-attended churches, lively places to meet, handsome historic buildings and lots of locally owned businesses. Their residents are devoted to the Power of Place - and now, a new company has measured that power for every place in the United States.

The first ePodunk Home Towns Index reveals the hidden power of places like Sheboygan and Greenville. They head the list of the best home towns in the U.S., according to the Index released today. The Index also reveals the top home town in every state except Alaska and Hawaii.

ePodunk worked with four academic researchers to combine 11 statistics ranking every county in the lower 48 states. The numbers are designed to reveal the depth of a community's roots and the activity level of its citizens. The researchers examined the highest-ranking counties in detail, then chose representative towns for the final ranking.

The "roots" indicators in ePodunk's Home Towns Index include the proportion of each county's population who stayed in the same residence during two 5-year periods, and the proportion who were born in their current state of residence in 1980 and 1990. The "activity" indicators include church membership; the proportion of residents who belong to churches that have a strong civic mission; and the per-capita number of churches, civic associations, small manufacturing firms, buildings designated as historic, and semi-public meeting places such as bars, cafes, and social halls.

The study was done by Brad Edmondson, ePodunk vice president for content; Michael Irwin and Troy Blanchard of Duquesne University; Charles Colbert of Louisiana State University; and Thomas Lyson of Cornell University.

More on statistical sources

Top place in each state
City State Score
Greenville AL 100
Warren AR 89
Nogales AZ 52
Petaluma CA 51
Wray CO 64
Hartford CT 77
Wilmington DE 62
Bristol FL 62
Washington GA 90
Dubuque IA 89
Boise ID 57
Petersburg IL 83
Decatur IN 90
Seneca KS 86
Princeton KY 91
Winnfield LA 72
Pittsfield MA 90
Cumberland MD 84
Wiscasset ME 74
Bay City MI 87
Redwood Falls MN 85
Union MO 92
Kosciusko MS 92
Fort Benton MT 61
Hickory NC 94
Carrington ND 85
West Point NE 85
Laconia NH 62
Belvidere NJ 67
Taos NM 72
Caliente NV 43
Batavia NY 85
Wapakoneta OH 92
Watonga OK 70
Portland OR 54
Johnstown PA 91
Warwick RI 80
Chester SC 86
Freeman SD 87
Sevierville TN 83
La Grange TX 87
Salt Lake City UT 71
Warsaw VA 92
Saint Albans VT 87
Davenport WA 60
Sheboygan WI 97
Charleston WV 83
Lusk WY 62
Updated February, 2001

Los Angeles, CA

Pros: climate; entertainment-media capital; geographic diversity; beaches.

Cons: Traffic; bad schools; gangs; too spread out.

This is a good place to Enjoy nightlife, including restaurants, bars, clubs.

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