ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball has announced that in Maryland, Columbia has been named the “Best Places to Raise a Family” for 2023 by WalletHub and the “Best Places to Live in the U.S.” for 2023 by Livability. Columbia ranked 13th best in the nation on both lists and is the only Maryland city to make or top the list.

It is humbling to be ranked Maryland’s best place to raise a family and best place to live. These distinctions are a testament to our continued investment in our families, community, and overall quality of life. Having raised my family in Columbia, I have always known what a special place Columbia is to all its residents and visitors. From its top-ranked schools, to its flourishing hub of arts and culture, recreational activities and green space, Columbia continues to thrive and live up to James Rouse’s vision of creating a city that is diverse and welcoming to all who visit and call it home.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

The personal finance outlet, WalletHub compared more than 180 U.S. cities based on 45 key metrics that consider essential family dynamics, such as the cost of housing, the quality of local school and health-care systems, and the opportunities for fun and recreation. 

For its list, Livability compared cities with a population between 75,000 and 500,000. It looked at places where most Americans create dream careers, build families, launch businesses and lead meaningful lives. Livability developed its list based on nearly 100 data points and an algorithm taking into account measures of a city’s economy, housing and cost of living, amenities, transportation, environment, safety, education and health.

With family and community in mind, Ball’s historic $2.16 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget spending plan recently included a record $1.1 billion for the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS), a landmark seven percent increase over FY2023. The budget will allow HCPSS to fully fund the negotiated salary increases for its valued educators and school personnel, to fully fund the opening of Howard County’s first new high school since 2005 and much more.

Ball’s budget also included $22 million in state pass-through funding to renovate the Faulkner Ridge Center to expand universal pre-K services. The County’s commitment to expanding pre-K, in partnership with State and community leaders, is a major step toward the full implementation of the State-mandated Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.

Additionally, in his effort to empower our young people to promote health, healing, growth and safer communities, in May, Ball signed an executive order announcing the members of the inaugural Youth Engagement Leadership Workgroup. With 30 percent of the county’s population 25 years old and younger, this new workgroup will be tasked with coming up with ideas and strategies on issues facing young people in Howard County and advising the County on how to engage with and support its younger constituents.

Finally, the County has continued its partnership with the Regional Transportation Agency of Central Maryland and HCPSS to provide free RTA bus access to students. This program offers students more independent safe modes of transportation to get to jobs and other services and destinations throughout the county. It also is a great example of our commitment to make Howard County more multi-modal

These latest recognitions join Columbia’s long list of accolades, which, within the last year has included Columbia being name one of the Best U.S. Cities for Jobs, Safest Cities in America, Happiest Cities in America, Best Cities for People Living with Disabilities and Best City for Summer Jobs.

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