Great strides have been made in growing Clinton and attracting businesses to the heart of Sampson, and it appears some outside the area are taking notice.
“It seems the rest of the country may finally be finding out what we already know about Clinton — it is the perfect place to call home,” City manager Shawn Purvis recently stated, responding to rankings from two separate online forums ranking the city among the best towns in North Carolina.
Recent online rankings by NerdWallet and Niche highlighted Clinton as one of the best towns in North Carolina as well as a top place to start a business and raise a family. Purvis recently shared the studies with City Council members, and addressed them in a recent Council meeting.
“You may have seen different links floating around and there are different web polls all the time and surveys that are out there,” Purvis told Council. “Recently we showed up in three different categories. One was best places in North Carolina to start a business, and we were top 20 in that one. And we were also ranked as just in general one of the best places to live — we were 23 in that one — and best places to raise a family we were in top 13.”
The NerdWallet rankings used business climate and local economy attributes such as average business revenues, number of local businesses, median annual income and unemployment rate to come to its conclusion ranking Clinton as the 20th ranked town to start a business in the state.
“With the number of successful businesses calling Clinton home,” Purvis stated, “it is no wonder the city scored in the top 20.”
The survey was based on U.S. Census data covering 121,462 businesses in 115 communities in North Carolina, ranking the communities based on two key metrics.
One was business climate, which made up 65 percent of the overall score and included the average annual revenue of businesses, the percentage of companies with paid employees and the number of companies per 100 people. The other metric takes into account the health of the local economy, which made up 35 percent of the total score. It covered such factors as median annual income, median annual housing costs and the unemployment rate.
NerdWallet analyzed communities with a population of more than 5,000 and with 500 or more businesses, excluding places that lacked data.
At No. 20, Clinton is sandwiched between Oxford and Forest City. Pineville sits atop the rankings, while some other nearby towns listed below Clinton, including Dunn (24), Smithfield (25) and Goldsboro (41).
While it took into account communities with population in excess of 5,000, half of the top 10 places on the NerdWallet list are towns and cities with fewer than 10,000 residents, such as Clinton.
Niche ranked Clinton at No. 23 best town in North Carolina while ranking the city at No. 13 for best places to raise a family.
The Best Towns to Raise a Family ranking took into account key family-centered factors, such as public education, safety, community involvement and access to family necessities, in an attempt to holistically measure how good an area is for families.
The rankings included scores based on education, healthcare, safety and other community factors. In computing its conclusion, Niche collected and analyzed dozens of rankings factors from federal, state and local government datasets, then combined those with proprietary Niche data and community reviews about K-12 schools in each area.
Chapel Hill topped the rankings, with Smithfield rounding out the top 10. Goldsboro was ranked 38th.
For best towns in North Carolina, Chapel Hill again topped Niche’s list. At No. 23, Clinton was sandwiched between New Bern and Boiling Spring Lakes.
“We already know that our location, strong schools, regional healthcare, increasingly vibrant downtown, and recreational opportunities provide our community with a high quality of life,” Purvis stated. “These rankings give our community positive exposure and provide us with an opportunity to share our city with others.”
Along with sharing them with the City Council, Purvis highlighted the rankings in the City of Clinton’s recently-released summer newsletter.
“That is positive for us,” the city manager stated. “We want to make sure we put that out there. Maybe we can start getting recognized for the gem we have here.”
To view the rankings, visit NerdWallet at www.nerdwallet.com/blog and Niche at local.niche.com.