Our ranking is based on four factors: safety, education, housing values, and ambiance. The first three measures involve data and the objective analysis thereof; the fourth is entirely subjective, reflecting the taste and knowledge of the D Magazine staff.
Because each factor includes multiple statistics (For education, for example, we consider SAT scores, STARR passing rates, the percentage of students who take the SAT or ACT, and the amount the district spends strictly on instruction), we created a scale from 1 to 5 for each statistic, so their relative values could be added together. For mean SAT scores, for example, the lowest score (Lancaster ISD’s 1272) was assigned a value of 1, and the highest score (Highland Park ISD’s 1792) was given a 5. All other scores fell in between. Doing the same thing for STARR scores and other measures, we could combine statistics to create an overall education score.
Safety: 25%. Based on statistics for seven crimes: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft. We gave twice as much weight to the first four, on the belief that having a knife pulled on you is less desirable than having the knives you bought for your third wedding anniversary stolen. Sources: 2012 statistics from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Dallas Sheriff’s Department, Oak Point and Fairview police departments.
Education: 25%. Calculated from the percentage of students passing the STARR tests in 2013, the mean SAT score of the class of 2012, percentage of the class of 2012 taking college admissions exams, and the amount of money each district spent on instructional expenses for the 2011-12 school year. Many cities have students who go to more than one district. If a district has a statistically significant percentage in more than one district, we averaged each district’s numbers based on percentages. Sources: Texas Education Agency and Highland Park ISD.
Housing: 25%. Based on the percentage of owner-occupied homes in a suburb (40 percent of overall housing score) and increased average home sales price from 2011 to 2013 (60 percent of overall housing score). Sources: North Texas Real Estate Information Systems (NTREIS), 2010 U.S. Census.
Ambiance: 25%. Can’t tell the difference between University Park and Highland Park? Wonder what gives McKinney that little somethin’ somethin’ that Frisco just doesn’t have? Think Hurst, Euless, and Bedford all run together (actually, they sort of do)? If you drive by on the highway or only eat at the local Chili’s, sure. But D Magazine staff took a close look at these 65 suburbs (tossing in Dallas for comparison) and gave each a completely subjective ambiance score. Trust. Source: Staff of D Magazine.
D Magazine wishes to thank North Texas Real Estate Information Systems Inc., without whom this story would’ve been statistically improbable.
Notes on our sortable chart: Each educational score category was weighted equally. STARR information comes from 2013. SAT and college exams taken are for the graduating class of 2012. Education expenditures are for the 2011–12 school year. Carrollton education stats are 65 percent Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, 32 percent Lewisville ISD, and 3 percent Dallas ISD, the three districts Carrollton students attend. Corinth education stats are averaged from Lake Dallas and Denton ISDs. Fairview education stats are averaged from Lovejoy and McKinney ISDs. Glenn Heights education stats are averaged from Red Oak and DeSoto ISDs, both districts where Glenn Heights students attend. Irving education stats are 87 percent Irving ISD, 9 percent Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, and 4 percent Coppell ISD. Oak Point’s education stats are averaged from Denton and Little Elm ISDs. Ovilla education stats are averaged from Red Oak and Midlothian ISDs; some students, however, go to Cedar Hill and DeSoto. 2013 population estimates are from U.S. Census Bureau estimates. We obtained Oak Point’s crime statistics from the Oak Point Police Department; Sunnyvale’s from the Dallas County Sherrif’s Department; and Fairview’s from the Fairview Police Department. Those cities do not report crime numbers to the Texas Department of Public Safety, where the rest of the crime statistics are sourced.