WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Money magazine named Columbia, Maryland the top place to live in the United States, crowning it “one of the most successful planned communities in the country.”
Located southwest of Baltimore in Howard County, Columbia was founded nearly 50 years ago by developer James Rouse. The community is diverse and its inclusive design—like individual mailboxes nixed for collected stands at the end of each block and several interfaith worship centers—reflect Rouse’s higher intention for Columbia as a melting pot.
“Rouse’s dream of a place where diverse people could live, work and play together has become reality,” Howard County Allan H. Kittleman said during a gathering in Columbia marking the honor.
Columbia also received outstanding marks—ranking in Money’s 95th percentile among 823 places--for job growth and economic opportunity. Columbia’s unemployment rate is 3.5 percent, more than a full percentage point lower than the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s national rate of 4.9 percent. Median household incomes leveled at $100,252 in 2014, the Census Bureau says.
Money magazine recognized Columbia for its superb schools, calling its education system “among the state’s best.” Ninety-five percent of Columbia residents aged 25 and older graduated from high school, 63 percent hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the Census Bureau.