Olive Branch among top places to live near a large city

Photo: The water fountain at the entrance of Old Towne in Olive Branch. (Bob Bakken/desotocountynews.com)

Folks in Olive Branch believe it already, but the DeSoto County city is near the top of the list of another survey, this time about liveability near a major city. 

The study, from SmartAsset, ranks Olive Branch 12th in the nation in this year’s study of “Best Suburbs to Live In Near a Large City.” 

SmartAsset is a website that provides consumer-focused financial information and advice that powers SmartAdvisor, a national marketplace connecting consumers to financial advisors.

“I think it’s just another indication of the greatness of Olive Branch,” said Mayor Ken Adams Wednesday. “We’ve won a number of awards throughout the years. I think it shows our community feel and that we reach out and provide the amenities and community events for our citizens.”

The study uncovered the best suburbs to live in near a large city. Specifically, it compared data for close to 500 suburbs located within 15 minutes to an hour by car of a large city (those with a population of 250,000 or more). 

To determine their ranking, SmartAsset analyzed 13 metrics across three categories: jobs, affordability and livability.

Ranked 12th in the nation overall, Olive Branch scored 76.43 out of a 100 for jobs, 78.10 for affordability, and 69.84 out of 100 for liveability.  

Metrics for the scores and rankings are based on the following:  

  • Jobs. For the jobs score, SmartAsset considered five metrics: median household income, five-year income growth, 10-year employment growth, job diversity and unemployment rate. Job diversity measures the variety of industries available in a place using the Shannon index. Data for all metrics comes from the Census Bureau’s 2020 5-year American Community Survey.
  • Affordability. For this score, SmartAsset looked at housing costs relative to income, home value-to-income ratio, average effective property tax rate and estimated annual cost of living for an individual. Data for the first three metrics comes from the Census Bureau’s 2020 5-year American Community Survey. Cost of living figures come from the MIT Living Wage Calculator.
  • Livability. This includes the high school graduation rate, dining and entertainment establishments as a percentage of all establishments and violent and property crimes per 100,000 people. Data comes from the 2022 County Health Rankings and the Census Bureau’s 2020 5-year American Community Survey. Crime data comes from the FBI and is for 2020; missing crime data was supplemented by NeighborhoodScout.com.

“We’ll promote this on our website and social media as we try to attract businesses, companies and restaurants to let them know what is going on in Olive Branch,” Adams said.

Another DeSoto County city was cited in the SmartAsset study. Horn Lake was ranked 123rd in the country, actocording to SmartAsset. Horn Lake scored 41.94 out of 100 for jobs, 67.62 for affordability and 72.35 out of 100 for liveability.  

While Olive Branch is noted in the survey and Horn Lake was also mentioned, Southaven was not included. A spokesman for SmartAsset said Southaven not being included was due to a lack of available information.  

“Southaven was not included in the study due to a lack of publicly available data regarding its crime rate,” said Ray Marek of SmartAsset in an email. “The FBI did not have sufficient available data for the suburb, and neither did our back up source, NeighborhoodScout.com. As a result, SmartAsset was not able to conduct a full data analysis for Southaven.”

The complete report is found on the SmartAsset website.  

Bob Bakken

Bob Bakken is the most recognized and most trusted name in DeSoto County news and sports reporting, as readers continue to express their appreciation for his accuracy and fairness in the stories he writes. Bob provides content for DeSoto County News and occasionally is heard on the OB Pod podcast talking about area happenings. A former newspaper editor and writer, his award-winning background also includes television news producing, sports media relations, and radio broadcasting.

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