Area Second Best N.C. 'Dreamtown'
The Southern Pines-Pinehurst area has been ranked the second-best "dreamtown" in the state and 35th-best in the country by an independent study conducted by American City Business Journals.
"This ranking just affirms what residents already know about Moore County -- that it's a great place to live, work and play," said Ray Ogden, executive director of Moore County Partners in Progress. "Partners in Progress will continue to promote the enviable quality of life here as Moore County's best asset."
Statesville-Mooresville, at No. 27, was the only other area in North Carolina that made the top 50 nationally. Southern Pines-Pinehurst has jumped significantly in just two years, climbing from No. 60 to No. 35.
American City Business Journals (ACBJ) is the largest publisher of metropolitan business newsweeklies in the United States. The company manages 41 papers, including the Triangle Business Journal that covers the Raleigh-Durham area, in addition to several magazines.
ACBJ's study looked at communities with populations of more than 10,000, but less than 50,000 residents, to identify the nation's most attractive areas based on quality-of-life criteria. It gave the highest scores to those with less traffic congestion, solid economies, moderate costs of living, strong educational systems, and easy access to the offerings and attractions of metropolitan areas.
The 2008 ranking was based on selected statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2006 American Community Survey. Those include:
Population growth since 2000: Moore County's 2006 estimated population was 83,162, reflecting an average growth rate of 1.7 percent annually since 2000.
Median household income: $43,616, which has increased 5.8 percent from 2000.
Median house value; $155,900 for single-family, owner-occupied homes, which is an increas of 18.9 percent from 2000.
Percentage of residents who own homes: 76.5 percent.
Percentage of labor force employed in management and professional jobs: 29.4 percent.
Percentage of adults 25 years and older with bachelor degrees: 25.9 percent.
"Moore County is fortunate to have all of those attributes, in addition to exceptional health care, low property taxes, low crime and a wide variety of local cultural and recreational opportunities," Ogden said. "From an economic development standpoint, we've found that the businesses and industries we target for recruitment often rate an area's 'livability' as even more important than incentives, work force, or other needs."
Partners in Progress is the county's nonprofit economic development organization.
The "dreamtown" rankings follow on the heels of independent research firm POLICOM's recent 2008 ranking of the area as 27th in Economic Strength out of 577 micropolitan areas in the United States, reported in The Pilot last month.
Contact John Krahnert at 693-2473 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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