Online rankings give Carlinville its due

Online rankings give Carlinville its due

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The Issue: There’s an online list or ranking for just about everything.

Our View: These lists can provide Carlinville residents with an outsider’s perspective of the community.

It’s the oxymoron of the internet. We spend hours staring at screens — phone screens, computer screens, tablet screens — but our ability to focus is contradicted by our inability to read anything longer than a few sentences that isn’t broken up with photos, graphics, bullet points or numbers. Thanks largely to social media, there’s a list for everything.

It’s a simple marketing fact that people like to hear how great they are. They like to know that they live in one of the safest communities in the state. They like to know they’ve successfully avoiding living in one of the region’s top 10 declining communities. If one tries hard enough, just about every community can be placed on one list or another.

Carlinville has landed on its fair share of lists for communities in Illinois. While there’s no doubt that some lists carry more weight than others, arguably the most notable list on which Carlinville is included is the annual list prepared by U.S. News and World Report which lists the best high schools in the nation. Carlinville appears regularly on the list and is a 2016 bronze school. The list recognizes the country’s best 6,517 high schools with gold, silver and bronze medals (figuratively), indicating their level of college readiness. Given there are more than 36,000 public and private high schools in the country, placement in the top one-sixth of them isn’t bad.

U.S. News and World Report also weighs in on colleges and universities. For 2017, Blackburn College landed on both the list for best value in schools, coming in fourth, and finished in 36th place on the list of Midwest regional colleges, which are ranked “according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.”

Niche.com is a website reknown for listing putting communities, by state and nationally, on all sorts of lists. Among the state wide lists on which Carlinville has landed includes the 2016 Best Suburbs to Live in Illinois, where Carlinville places 131st out of 338; 2016 Best Suburbs to Raise a Family in Illinois where Carlinville places 163rd out of 338; 2016 Best Suburbs to Buy a House in Illinois, where Carlinville places 46th out of 338; 2016 Safest Suburbs in Illinois, where Carlinville places 218th out of 254; 2016 Surburbs with the Best Public Schools in Illinois, where Carlinville placed 184th out of 338; 2016 Most Diverse Suburbs in Illinois, where Carlinville placed 222nd out of 338; and 2016 Best Suburbs for Millennials in Illinois, where Carlinville placed 180th out of 338.

Apparently, Niche.com thinks every community in Illinois is a suburb of someplace. It also is apparently confused about the number of suburbs in the state.

A website called Onlyinyourstate.com is also proficient at making lists and rankings, among which is a list of the Top Small Towns in Illinois Where Downtown is the Place To Be. The short list puts Taylorville, another area town, in the top spot and ranks Carlinville at No. 4. The sites claims, “These towns are doing it right when it comes to having a lively downtown area.” Good job, Carlinville.

Late last year, Onlyinyourstate.com put together a list of the 11 Most Enchanting, Magical Christmas Towns in Illinois. What’s interesting about this list is it puts all Illinois communities on the same playing field, no matter the size. Carlinville comes in 11th on the list, behind considerably larger cities like Chicago, Naperville and Rockford.

Sometimes small-town living can seem very limiting. It’s important to remember that, comparatively, Carlinville is a pretty darn good place to live.