Steamboat Springs ranked No. 11 on list of Colorado cities for young families | SteamboatToday.com

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Steamboat Springs ranked No. 11 on list of Colorado cities for young families

Liz Baldwin hangs out with her son Everett at Little Toots Park on Friday afternoon. Steamboat Springs ranked No. 11 on a list of Colorado cities for young families.

— Sometimes, the loneliest number is 11.

Steamboat Springs came in at No. 11 in a ranking of best towns in Colorado for young families, compiled by consumer finance website NerdWallet.

That's just out of the Top 10 list on NerdWallet's blog, but the full rankings show how competitive Steamboat Springs is as a location to raise a family.

NerdWallet is using a formula based on school ratings, median home values, monthly owner costs, median household income and economic growth from 1999 to 2011 to rank the best cities for young families in a number of states.

"We started with the fastest-growing states because those states have the most opportunity for young families," said Mike Anderson, author of the post.

One-tenth of a point in the overall score separated No. 10 Littleton from Steamboat Springs.

The median home value in Steamboat, according to the 2011 American Community Survey, was significantly higher than the rest of the cities in the Top 10. Coupled with a lower median household income than others with high housing costs, Steamboat dropped out of the 10 best.

The bright spot for Steamboat is, predictably, its schools. NerdWallet used a rating from GreatSchools, which compares standardized test scores to state averages, according to Anderson.

The majority of the cities in the Top 10 were part of larger metro areas. Durango, ranked No. 9, was the mountain town outlier. It had a median home value of $367,700 compared with $571,700 for Steamboat.

"Logistically, they've got a lot of things going for them," local economic analyst Scott Ford said about Durango, listing a passenger rail line and proximity to well-trafficked national parks.

"I'm competitive," said Ford, who in public meetings has encouraged using Durango as Steamboat's closest comparable city. "When Durango beats us, that gets me going. I think we're a better town to live in. … Let's have a race to the top."

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4254 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com