The town of Severna Park is considered one of the best places in Maryland for young families, according to a recent analysis.
Severna Park ranked fifth in a study performed by researchers at NerdWallet, who analyzed towns according to factors that young families find important.
Towns were ranked based on growth, income level and the quality of public schools, and then 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 Severna Park, researchers pointed to waterfront communities and the very high rating of schools. Based on the website Greatschools.com, Severna Park schools earned a near-perfect rating because of students’ high achievement on standardized tests.
Affordability, however, was a drag on Severna Park and other towns in the state. The average home price in Severna Park was $491,600, and homes in other cities in Maryland were even more expensive.
"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.