Earlier this year, Forbes magazine ranked Ogden number three in their list of top U.S. cities to raise a family.
Ogden comes in right behind Raleigh, North Carolina and Grand Rapids, Michigan, both of which feature decent economies and low crime rates.
What’s surprising are the statistics that pushed Ogden so high up the list.
The economic statistics aren’t surprising; Ogden rates 16th from the bottom in cost of living in the nation’s top 100 metropolitan areas, and sits 14th from the top in highest median household income. This means families here earn more and spend less in their daily living.
What is surprising is the crime rate, cited by Forbes as “one of the lowest in the country.”
Anyone who knows the history of Historic 25th Street in Ogden would take pause at that statement.
Legends of 25th Street, chronicled in an April exhibit at Ogden’s Union Station, speak of opium dens and shady dealings at the heart of the Ogden community. With the influx of immigrants after World War II, Ogden was quite a different place than at present.
Today, residents tell a different story.
“When someone is in need the community pulls together,” writes local resident Mikaela Shafer for the blog Indie Ogden Utah. “Any given month you will hear about a benefit show, community clean up, charity event or a city project. People care about their community here and want to work together to make it better.”
Shafer helps run the blog Indie Ogden Utah, an online effort focused on spotlighting local businesses, community opportunities and outdoor activities available to Ogden residents.
Shafer joined Forbes in noting the low cost of living in Ogden.
“Not only is housing cheaper but so are lots of other things: dining out, going to local music shows (and) even groceries,” Shafer wrote. “Ogden has a lot of discount and savings stores and local places offer a lot of great deals.”
The ranking system employed by Forbes combined median household total income, the cost of living index, affordability of homes in the area, the number of residents who own their own homes, school quality, crime rate and average commute time.
All of these statistics were chosen by Forbes to reflect factors crucial to raising a family.
Forbes then ranked the top 100 metropolitan areas in the country on these individual statistics and compared across lists. Ogden performed well in all statistics measured.
Other cities in the top 10 included Omaha, Nebraska and Cincinatti, Ohio.
Provo, Utah barely made the cut, coming in at number 10. Forbes counted the high price of housing in the area a strike against it.