Lafayette a 'best affordable' community

by Leslie Turk

When it comes to proximity to work and quality of life at an affordable cost, Lafayette Parish ranks among the country's best.
Lafayette may not necessarily be among the most affordable communities in the country, but according to Bloomberg Businessweek, it's in the top 10 when it comes to "America's Best Affordable Places" for 2011.

Bloomberg found 10 communities where proximity to work and quality of life at an affordable price is the status quo. Lafayette Parish is No. 9 on the list that has Cass County, North Dakota, as No. 1. In the exclusive ranking for, Bloomberg Rankings noted: With the economic recovery yet to gain speed, affordable living has become an important consideration for many Americans. Areas that are not only within means, but also safe and close to a steady job market are becoming more attractive to cost-conscious consumers.

Bloomberg Rankings analyzed data on more than 3,000 counties nationwide to select the best affordable place in each state. Metrics such as income, housing expenditure, commute time, educational attainment, ethnic diversity, air quality, unemployment, poverty, and crime were evaluated. Its ranking aims not to single out communities with high-end homes or luxurious living, but to focus instead on desirable places that offer a good quality of life and are affordable to people who earn the area's median income. It pointed out that as quality of life is highly localized, many counties cover a range of neighborhoods, both affordable and expensive.

This list of best places ranges from large urban areas such as Arizona's Maricopa County to sparsely populated suburban and rural counties such as York County in Nebraska. After all, the researchers said, nice places can come in all sizes.

Here's what Bloomberg reported about Lafayette:
Population: 212,684
Median family income: $59,910
Households spending more than 30 percent income on housing: 25.4 percent
Unemployment: 6.6 percent
Adult population with bachelor's degrees: 27.7 percent
Major cities: Lafayette, Scott

The rankings noted that U.S. Census data show the population of Lafayette Parish has expanded quickly, growing by 16.3 percent from 2000 to 2010, above its 15.6 percent growth rate from 1990 to 2000.

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