Ellicott City, Columbia on `hottest places to live' list

December 18, 2003

Two Howard County communities -- Ellicott City and Columbia -- have been labeled among "America's hottest places to live" by a national financial magazine, but there's a catch.

The idea for the statistical analysis of household income, median home prices and population growth rate was to find "those towns with demographics that closely mirrored that of the typical reader: college educated, working professional, well above average median income," according to the CNN Money magazine Web site.

Although many residents complain that growth caused congestion there, Ellicott City ($83,583 income and $248,000 home price) came in 18th. Columbia ($77,033 income and $199,000 home price) was 25th among the 26 top finishers in the "Eastern Region, under 100,000 population" category. Gaithersburg and Olney, both in Montgomery County, were rated 13th and 23rd, respectively, in the same category and were the only other Maryland towns included.

Only areas within 60 miles of a major city, with median household incomes higher than $50,000 and with unemployment rates below the national average were considered.

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