WEST CALDWELL, NJ — When "New Jersey Family" created its third-annual list of “New Jersey’s Best Towns for Families,” the Township of West Caldwell was listed as the No. 1 town in Essex County and No. 4 in the state for 2017.
The township shot up to No. 4 from No. 100 on the 2016 list. According to the site’s data, West Caldwell has a population 10,791 with the average home priced at $470,216.
“To come up with our ranking, we looked at the entire state—more than 500 towns in all—and measured each municipality against a host of important factors, including school district quality, crime rates, affordability, commute times, percentage of families who live there, access to hospitals and general lifestyle factors,” the methodology states.
The site describes the Township of West Caldwell “a small community with strong schools and a diverse recreation program,” where both adults and children can take advantage of programs ranging from “twirling and wrestling to volleyball and track.”
Also mentioned as key factors in this ranking were West Essex Park, a 1,360-acre wetlands preserve that runs through West Caldwell and several other towns, and the West Caldwell Public Library, which offers activities for all age groups.
A young couple that recently moved to the township from Montclair told njfamily.com that the real draw for them was the public school district.
“The Caldwell-West Caldwell school district has a reputation for being tight-knit and high-performing,” the site states. “In a nod to the area’s rich history, many of the schools bear the names of presidents—Jefferson, Lincoln, Washington and Wilson. The middle school is named after President Grover Cleveland, who was born in Caldwell in 1837.”
The couple also stated that West Caldwell provides the “best of both worlds” with its proximity to the city with a small-community feel.
Some other towns in the area were ranked as follows:
No. 23 Livingston
No. 24 Essex Fells
No. 25 North Caldwell
No. 30 Caldwell
No. 39 Verona
No. 74 Millburn
No. 88 Glen Ridge
No. 94 Fairfield
No. 100 Roseland
To determine this ranking, New Jersey Family eliminated towns with populations less than 1500, then collected the following data for remaining municipalities:
Average home sale prices (NJ Division of Taxation);
Violent crime and non-violent crime data (NJ Department of Law and Public Safety);
Public high school performance (NJ Department of Education);
Median household income (US Census);
Percentage of families with children under the age of 18 (US Census);
Mean travel time to work (US Census);
Percentage of families with less than 70 percent of one ethnicity to find diverse populations (US Census);
Number of restaurants (Yelp);
Number of hospitals within 10 miles (Health Grades);
Number of grocery/convenience stores within five miles (Yelp); and
Number of NJ’s Favorite Kids’ Docs (chosen by readers) who practice in each town.
To see the full list, click HERE.