County rated as second-best rural place
By CHUCK HAYES Staff Writer
2/1/2007 - Looking for one of the “Best Places to Live in
Rural America?” You’re already there.
“The Progressive Farmer” magazine has released
its third annual listing of “The Best Places to Live in Rural America.”
And number two on the list is Warren County, Pa.
The magazine, based in Birmingham, Ala., has for the
last three years sent representatives into the field to take a look at
“quality of life” indicators in rural counties across the nation.
The top ten “Best Places to Live” are ranked and will
be profiled in the February 2007 edition of the magazine, which has
690,000 subscribers, primarily in the south and midwest.
The “Top Ten Best Places to Live in Rural America” for
2007, according to the magazine, are:
1. Barren County, Ky.
2. Warren County, Pa.
3. Randolph County, Ill.
4. Gillespie County, Texas
5. Union County, S.D.
6. St. Lawrence County, N.Y.
7. Sac County, Iowa.
8. Garfield County, Okla.
9. Amador County, Calif.
10. Pol County, N.C.
The February issue featuring the “Best Places to Live
in Rural America” will be released on Thursday, but in advance
promotional material, Warren County, Pa. is described as “ ... on the
south side of the New York-Pennsylvania border one hour from Erie, the
county is renowned for its rolling hills and vivid seasons.”
“The Progressive Farmer” worked with OnBoard LLC — the
same research firm that works with “Money” magazine to develop its “Best
Places” list — to identify a preliminary list of 300 desirable rural
counties in which to to live.
The selection process involved looking at indicators
and statistics related to quality of life issues such as home and land
prices, crime rates, air quality, leisure activities, education, access
to health care, household income, and household spending.
After the list of candidates was narrowed down,
magazine editors traveled for several months to visit the top counties,
take photographs, interview residents and “get a feel” for each county.
Ten counties were then chosen as the “Best Places to
Live in Rural America.”
Jamie Cole, senior editor of the magazine, said he was
the staff member who personally visited Warren County.
“You have an undiscovered gem there,” said Cole.
Deciding how to rank the ten finalists, said Cole,
“came down to a bunch of editors sitting around a table and arguing. I
made a strong push for Warren County being number one.”
“As far as I’m concerned, if you guys want to say
you’re number one, that’s fine with me,” he said.
Basically, the decision between whether Barren County,
Ky., or Warren County, Pa., should be put at the top of the list came
down to climate, said Cole.
“Their winters are milder,” he said.
Warren County received its highest ratings in the
areas of affordability and schools, said Cole.
“Warren County is so beautiful and has so many natural
resources, yet land and homes are very affordable compared to the other
counties in the ‘Top Ten’” said Cole. “Schools also rated very highly.
Families that had lived in other places were very complimentary about
the schools. They compare very favorably.”
One of the intangibles, said Cole, “was the people of
The Alabama resident said, “I came up there with the
snow flying in October as a stranger and by the end of the week, I had
people cooking breakfast for me. People in Warren County are very proud
to live where they live and you don’t see that everywhere.”
The February edition of “The Progressive Farmer,” said
Cole, will include a 20- to 25-page special section featuring the top
ten communities and even more information will be available on the
The magazine’s special section, Cole said, will
include three or four photographs of life in Warren County, including a
scene of Tidioute in the fall and family life in Sugar Grove and Bear
Lake, as well as an article and statistical charts pertaining to Warren
The magazine’s website, said Cole, will include as
many as 15 photographs of Warren County.
The magazine is only available by subscription, but
all 300 counties will be listed on the magazine’s interactive website (www.progressivefarmer.com/bestplaces)
by region and statistical category.