These stages were defined as Singles (25-29); Mid-Professionals (married, no kids, or single, 30-44); Families (married, with kids, through 64); Empty-Nesters (married, no kids or single, 45-64); and Retirees (65 and above). Cost-of-living factors were weighted differently for different groups, e.g. health care costs were more significant a factor than home ownership affordability for Retirees.
Since the winning cities ranged in population from roughly 300,000 to 4 million, it might be a stretch to consider how Northfield might stack up if measured in a similar fashion. However, the lifestyle factors that were evaluated are just as relevant here, and can indicate our strengths and weaknesses as a community. It also may help us make choices going forward, depending upon what type of vision and values we, as citizens, hold.
The lifestyle factors are:
- For singles: The “bohemian index” and food/drink establishments per capita. The Bohemian indicator shows the concentration of writers, designers, musicians, actors and other arts-related workers, and is a measure of on area’s diversity and cultural amenities.
- For mid professionals: average commute time and creative class wage growth
- For families: crime rate and student/teacher ratio
- For empty nesters: performing arts employees per capita and golf courses/marinas per capita
- For retirees: crime rate and physicians per capita
It would be interesting to use similar criteria for measuring Northfield. Anecdotal evidence would suggest that we’re strong for families and retirees. We might even be okay on the “bohemian index”, except that the whole town seems to go to bed by 9 p.m. (Ross and I have each said, in different ways, that one of the best things we could do for economic development in Northfield is to have a decent nightclub in town. Unfortunately, we probably don’t have the population base to support one. )