The 2022 list of Top 10 places to live in Colorado from Niche features an intriguing lineup once again led by Holly Hills, an Arapahoe County community that is at the top of this particular list each of the previous two years. It’s also number one on several other niche lists, including the best suburbs in Colorado, the best places to raise a family in Colorado, the best places to buy a home in Colorado, the best places to retire in Colorado, and more, more, more.
But this year’s ranking of the best places comes with a big asterisk. The city of Superior, which was devastated by the Marshall Fire in late December, finished in third place in the state. According to an official assessment conducted in early January, 378 structures there were destroyed in the fire and 58 were damaged, resulting in an estimated real value of residential loss of $152,757,462.
Niche spokeswoman Natalie Tsay confirms that the research leading to Superior’s superior achievement was conducted before the fire, “so none of this would have been factored in,” then adds, “What a horrible tragedy it is.”
As for the best place in Colorado, Niche offers this: “Living in Holly Hills provides residents with a rural feel and most residents own their homes. In Holly Hills there are plenty of bars, restaurants, cafes and parks.Many families and retirees live in Holly Hills and residents tend to be conservative.Holly Hills public schools are highly rated.
Holly Hills also scored high nationally, ranking ninth among Niche’s picks for the ten best american suburbs. Here is the recap:
1. Chesterbrook (suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
2. Penn Wynne (suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
3. Ardmore (suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
4. Los Alamos, New Mexico
5. Carmel, Indiana
6. Great Neck Plaza (New York suburb, New York)
7. Okemos (suburb of Lansing, Michigan)
8. Richmond Heights (suburb of St. Louis, Missouri)
9. Holly Hills (suburb of Denver, Colorado)
10. Brookline (suburb of Boston, Massachusetts)
And these are The Ten Best Places to Live in Coloradodominated by sections of the greater metropolitan area.
1. Holly Hills
2. Cherry Stream
5. North Park Hill
6. Greenwood Village
7. The castle pines
8. Highland Ranch
9. South Park Hill
Tsay, who consulted Niche’s data team to respond Westword‘s questions, says that Holly Hills achieved its status both in Colorado and nationwide because it “performed very well in all areas, but particularly in three factors that collectively make up 25% of the ranking overall of the best places to live in. It received high marks for the quality of its public schools, its suitability for families and also housing.”
She adds that the best communities in Colorado “all had to score well on cost of living, higher education rates, housing, and public schools. There is a lot of competition within the state! In total, these four factors make up 45% of the final ranking. “Click to read the complete methodology used for the list of best places; similar standards are applied to the rankings of the best cities, the best suburbs and heaps of sub-categories.
When it comes to categories in which cities in Colorado have often failed, Tsay acknowledges that many “didn’t do well in affordability and housing. When you look at the Best Niche Places or even the Best cities in America, you’ll notice some of the top-ranked places aren’t necessarily the ones you’d predict, that’s because our methodology is designed to celebrate places that have a lot to offer, but are also affordable.
Nonetheless, the majority of areas in Colorado that earn hi tend to be affluent. Explaining why things happened this way, Tsay insists that “no factor is based solely on household income, but we are aware that many indicators used by town and city rankings (including including ours) can be skewed by a city’s wealth, which is why we don’t just look at the cost of living, but actually consider it one of the two most important factors in ranking the best places to live in. Cost of living and higher education rate each make up 12.5% of the final ranking.
By the way, the city that ranked first in Colorado for affordability is La Junta, in the southeast quadrant of the state. “The city ranked 73rd most diverse in the state and also did very well on the housing front,” Tsay points out. “La Junta is one of many examples of a place that combines affordability and quality.”