Evanston was ranked number 18 in “America‘s Top 25 Towns to Live Well” by Forbes Magazine on May 4. In an article discussing the rankings, Matt Woolsey says the towns, “boast cultural amenities, pro-business environments, highly educated workforces and enviable salaries.” The top five towns are: Boulder, Cal.; Doral, Fla.; Fairfax, Va.; Mountain View, Calif.; and Cupertino, Cal.


The rankings were limited to towns with a population of 100,000 or less. “Characteristics like the number of museums, parks, bars and restaurants, and cultural institutions per capita were considered, as were factors indicative of a favorable business environment. These include patents, venture capital funding, sole-proprietorships, start-ups and small businesses per capita,” says Mr. Woolsey.


“We also looked at the quality of the labor force, including the percentage of the population, the percentage of foreign-born workers and the percentage of people aged 25-34 with bachelor’s degrees or higher; the later two were more heavily weighted as indicators of places so desirable that highly skilled workers from all over the world are willing to move there,” Mr. Woolsey added. “Other factors considered: median income levels, commuting time, distance to highways and airports, and the share of professional workers as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”


The strongest categories listed for Evanston are, “[it] is home to Northwestern University which adds to its dynamic, inventive environment. It’s also 13 miles from Chicago, home to world class businesses. BL-S defined highly skilled workers represent 29% of the labor pool, and the town has $28 venture capital dollars per person.”


The drawbacks listed for Evanston are, “There aren’t that many start-ups in the nearby area (only 0.0024 per capita), which puts it solidly in the middle of towns measured.”