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Indiana Quality of Life Rating Updated


A new report from the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University updates the quality of life rankings for every Indiana county. The Community Asset Inventory and Rankings, originally created in 2012, gives a letter grade for each county in seven major categories. Ball State economics professor Michael Hicks says the index gives counties a tool to let them know how they’re doing in areas that business and households consider when thinking about relocation.

This story by Alex Brown originally appeared in Inside INdiana Business.

Hicks, who also serves as director of the CBER, told Inside INdiana Business there was more variability over time than he originally anticipated.

The categories that counties are ranked on include:

  • People (Demographic & Population)
  • Health of Human Capital/Workforce
  • Education of Human Capital/ Workforce
  • Government Impact and Economy
  • Arts/Entertainment/Recreation
  • Changeable Public Amenities
  • Static Public Amenities

The rankings are determined based on data covering 40 to 60 variables, all of which are available to the public. Hicks said because the variables change slowly, researchers decided to do the index every five or six years, instead of annually.

Researchers also developed a “housing barometer” tool for each county, which evaluates the housing markets in the counties using county-wide home values and the relative growth rate over eight years. 

“The reason for this is that home values really capture everything that’s good or bad in the neighborhood that you live and if you add them up in a county, that gives you a good sense, county overall, how you're doing,” said Hicks. “This is really an independent measure of things like school quality, educational attainment, quality of transportation, and amenities. If you look at that barometer, there’s very few surprises there.”

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