Livable, Lovable Carlisle
Region is one of the country's top-five places to live
by MaryAlice Bitts
May 20, 2010
Dickinson students hit the town. Nestled between an appealing array of restaurants, cafes and specialty shops, the Carlisle Theatre and Performing Arts Center (shown above) offers live concerts, independent films and live theater just blocks from the Dickinson campus.
It’s official: With its thriving downtown area, healthy economy and ample job and cultural opportunities, Carlisle is a great place to be. And now, we’ve got the stats to prove it.
The Harrisburg-Carlisle region is one of the country’s most desirable places to live, according to the Forbes magazine/Forbes.com “America’s Most Livable Cities” report.
The region placed fifth out of 200 metropolitan areas across the country, based on its low unemployment rates, high income growth, low cost of living and vibrant cultural and artistic scene. A fellow Pennsylvania city, Pittsburgh, topped the list; Utah’s Ogden/Clearfield and Provo/Orem regions and Ann Arbor, Michigan filled slots 2-4, respectively.
Breaking it down
Forbes calculated the list based on income and cost-of-living statistics culled from Moody's Economy.com, crime data from the FBI Crime Report, Sperling's Best Places’ leisure reports and unemployment statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to Forbes real-estate journalist Francesca Levy, these elements add up to measure an overall quality of life that is key to Harrisburg/Carlisle’s top-five success.
"The cities on the list aren't big tourist destinations, but they are places where costs are relatively low and quality of life is high," said Levy, as quoted in a May 4 article in the capitol city’s Patriot-News, adding that the top cities feature “a good balance of job security and opportunity, safety and a decent amount of stuff to do. And everyday costs aren't out of control.”
According to the report, college towns often score well because of job opportunities and cultural events generated by higher-education institutions. The Harrisburg-Carlisle metro region boasts eight such institutions, including three in Carlisle alone. Harrisburg-Carlisle also scored high in the “low crime rate” category, coming in at 17. The next-best ranking, 28, reflects the area’s healthy income growth.
Region on the rise
The 2010 ranking represents a significant leap from last year’s already impressive ranking, when the Harrisburg-Carlisle metro region was named 12th in the country. The area also ranked #14 in Forbes’ 2009 Top 100 “Best Cheap Cities” report, based on cost of living, average regional salary, cultural richness, crime statistics and employment rates.
This is no surprise to Dickinson’s president, William G. Durden ’71, a world traveler who is gratified to call Carlisle home.
“The Forbes analysis is further witness to the increasing desirability and importance of what is called ‘fly-over America,’ that vast space between New York City and Los Angeles,” he noted. “Low crime rates, easy outdoor and recreational activities, accessible and reasonably-priced cultural events, a community spirit and a willingness to cooperatively and purposefully confront societal challenges, access to municipal leadership and ready accessibilities to major cities—Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh—all combine to make the Harrisburg-Carlisle area an ideal place to study and live.”
Learn more about the Carlisle region.
Take a photo tour of Dickinson and downtown Carlisle.