NerdWallet’s survey results are cool with Rincon.
The financial education firm based in San Francisco has ranked Rincon as the No. 1 city in Georgia for young families, following its survey of 139 cities.
“At the top of our list is Rincon, which was once a late-19th-century railroad town in the suburbs of Savannah,” NerdWallet said in the release of its survey. “It’s now the biggest city in Effingham County, with a population of 9,074 — and 38 percent of those residents belong to a family household. Median home values are a bit pricier than the state median, but incomes are higher, too, about $71,000 for a median family. The public schools boast an overall GreatSchools score of 9 out of 10. The city caters to active families and its recreation department is planning a new gym and community center.”
“I guess others are discovering what we already knew,” said Rincon City Manager Wesley Corbitt. “Effingham is a great place to raise a family and Rincon is a big part of that. This is a friendly community with one of the best educational systems in Georgia. Besides the attractive housing, cost of living, young family population, many recreational opportunities and great schools, I would add low crime from one of the best police departments in Georgia, lowest utility rates of the surrounding areas, and no city property tax and as well. Rincon is where tranquility and convenience can still coexist. The quality of life in Rincon is no longer a secret. Rincon is growing and we need to all work together to ensure what we enjoy does not change, but get better.”
NerdWallet analyst Jonathan Todd said the survey considered affordability, the local education system, income and income growth and family friendliness. The median home value of $164,000 a year was better than the average of the rest of the top 10 cities. The study looked at median family income and income growth since 1999, to gauge how economically successful the city has been.
“There has been some good economic momentum,” Todd said.
Thanks to its GreatSchools score, Rincon ranked high among its peers in education system assessment. GreatSchools judges schools nationwide. Rincon’s 9 on the 10 scale tied for the highest mark in the state.
“The schools are excellent,” Todd said. “One of the biggest parts of that is the school score, and again, Rincon had one of the highest marks in the state. That’s 20 percent of our overall score. If a town has good schools, they will generally score pretty high on our survey. The second one was the proportion of households with children.”
Rincon also topped the average of the rest of the top 10 in every other parameter, Todd pointed out.
Family friendliness is measured by the percentage of families with school-age children and the poverty rate for households with children age 5 and under.
The survey included cities and towns with at least 5,000 in population.
“It’s from 5,000 all the way up to Atlanta,” Todd said. “It makes it easier to pick out the good towns. Once you get to a smaller size, there is a lot more variables with the data. We wanted a size we feel comfortable with, using the assumptions we use with our methodology.”
Rincon’s population growth of 73 percent since the 2000 census is 10 percentage points higher than the average for the remainder of the top 10 cities. The median home price also is lower than the top 10 average of $170,000 but it is higher than the statewide median price of $145,000.
“Compared to the statewide average, the median home value was quite a bit higher,” Tood said. “Compared to its peers, it’s affordable. Compared to the rest of the state, it’s a little more on the expensive side.”
Another factor in Rincon’s favor was its proportion of family households, those with school-age children. That metric was 38 percent in Rincon, one of the highest marks in the state and double the statewide average of 19 percent.
“Are there a lot of other families with children around? That’s generally going to be a proxy for it being a very family-friendly town,” Todd said.
Cusseta, outside of Columbus, was second on the list, followed by Evans — just outside of Augusta — and Holly Springs, which is in Cherokee County. Richmond Hill was fifth. Five of the top 10, including Holly Springs, are in metropolitan Atlanta, and Rincon’s population is the second-smallest among the top 10. Todd pointed out most of the locales that ranked high had smaller populations by comparison.
Evans, with a population exceeding 31,000, was the largest city on the list, and the average population was just more than 14,000.
NerdWallet does is surveys annually, and this is its second one for Georgia, Todd said.
“Rincon should take a lot of pride in this,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of southern Georgia towns in the top 10, so to be able to break away from that and come out on top is a good feat.”