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Like rankings? You’ll love Niche Local.

Shadyside-based company Niche—which operates a research site blending community reviews with hard data about K-12 schools, colleges, cities and neighborhoods across the country—has just launched rankings on its third vertical called Niche Local. The data includes rankings and statistics for every city, metro, county, suburb and state in the U.S.

How does Pittsburgh rank within Niche’s latest national, local and regional data? Here’s a quick summary of Niche’s new findings about the city of Pittsburgh:

·         Pittsburgh is the 21st best city in the US for millennials
·         Pittsburgh is the 53rd best city for job opportunities in the US
·         Pittsburgh is the 20th best city for easiest commute in the US
·         Pittsburgh is the 27th best city for things to do

Criteria used for Niche’s millennials category, which looks at the best cities for young professionals, includes rankings of US cities based on the number of millennials, job opportunities and access to bars, restaurants and affordable housing. According to Niche, a high ranking “indicates that a city attracts millennials with an affordable, diverse community and lots of things to do.” 

For its job opportunities data, Niche ranks US cities based on employment rates, employee and business turnover, and cost of living. According to Niche, a high ranking indicates that “a city has growing businesses and a robust job market.”

Regarding the Pittsburgh metro area and the region’s suburban neighborhoods, Niche released the following statistics:

·         Mt. Lebanon is the top suburb in the Pittsburgh metro area, and is also the 10th highest rated suburb in the state of PA
·         Dormont is the best suburb for Pittsburgh millennials, and also the 3rd highest rated suburb for millennials in the state of PA
·         Franklin Park is the best suburb to raise a family in the Pittsburgh area and the 10th highest rated suburb in the entire US for      raising a family (Aspinwall ranked as 11th)
·         Pittsburgh is the 20th best metro area in the US
·         Pittsburgh is the 22nd best metro area for millennials in the US
·         Pittsburgh is the 13th best metro area for buying a house in the US
·         Pittsburgh is the 9th best metro area to retire in the US
·         Pittsburgh is the 12th best metro area for job opportunities US
·         Pittsburgh is the 24th best metro area for public schools in the US
·         Pittsburgh is the 12th safest metro area

For its top suburb category, Niche ranks US suburbs based on livability using grades for weather, safety, schools and access to activities, jobs, housing, and transportation. And for its safest metro area category, Niche ranks US metros based on assaults, burglaries and violent crime rates (according to Niche, a high ranking indicates that “a metro has low crime rates across multiple categories”).

To create their reports, Niche collects and analyzes dozens of rankings factors from federal, state and local government data sets, and combines them with proprietary Niche data and community reviews about places to live, colleges and K-12 schools.  All Niche reviews and data are scored and standardized so that each place is comparable. The company then assigns each place to a cohort based on population and urban clustering.

Says Niche: “While rankings play an important role in these major life decisions, they’re just a small part. Our rankings help people discover and compare. They’re a springboard to more in-depth research on Niche’s core product—authentic, comprehensive profiles of schools and places.”

In terms of its data about places, Niche explains that: “While our rankings show the Top 100 places for each ranking, we use grades to provide the user with some context to those rankings and also to provide insight into those that did not make the Top 100. In each ranking, it’s important to focus on more than just the number. Given the high number of places included in our rankings, there may not be a large gap between the 15th and 30th ranked place in a given ranking. In reality, both are exceptional when compared to the total population of all places. Grades can often provide greater context because they are assigned based on how each place compares to all others included in the ranking. Grades are determined using the process defined below.”

Founded in 2002 by Luke Skurman and other Carnegie Mellon University students as CollegeProwler.com, Niche is now one of the largest content startups in the country.

To read Niche’s full methodology, and to learn more about the criteria the company uses for each category, how Niche grades and ranks places and the steps it takes to compute these rankings, go here.

Read the entire Niche Local rankings.

Jennifer Baron

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...