Los Angeles County ranked Stevenson Ranch ahead of Castaic, and then, Santa Clarita, in a look at cities and unincorporated communities this week.
A county report released Wednesday ranked the area based on health, knowledge and wages, according to data gathered by county officials.
All the areas were given an overall American Human Development score, which put Stevenson Ranch in eighth place of 106 overall with 8.75 of 10 points.
All 106 areas were divided into five categories based on their numbered score, including “Glittering, Elite Enclave, Main Street, Struggling and Precarious.”
Stevenson Ranch and Castaic both landed in the “Elite Enclave” category, and Santa Clarita was placed in the “Main Street” category.
“I think it puts us in pretty good company,” Don Fleming, who has lived in Stevenson Ranch for 14 years and serves on the West Ranch Town Council said. “What makes Stevenson Ranch and the Santa Clarita Valley great are the communities and the people that live here. I’m really excited about this valley and its future.”
Castaic was ranked 16th overall with a score of 7.81.
“I would not choose to live anywhere else,” former Castaic Area Town Councilman Flo Lawrence said, who has lived in the area since 1998.
The city of Santa Clarita, matching their years of cityhood, was ranked 30th with a score of 6.65.
“Santa Clarita is certainly different from the community I grew up in,” Santa Clarita native and Mayor Cameron Smyth said. “It is more diverse than the one I grew up in, and we are better from that diversity.”
Though, the mayor also noted the rankings will be skewed considering population, with Santa Clarita being the third largest in the county.
“Given the size of our city to the other areas studied, it validates that Santa Clarita remains one of the best places to live,” Smyth said.
“The Portrait of Los Angeles County” report was conducted in collaboration with the Southern California Grantmakers, the Los Angeles County Office of Child Protection, Department of Children and Family Services and Department of Public Health.
All the cities and communities were ranked by their average income, and of the three Santa Clarita Valley areas, Stevenson Ranch ranked the highest.
In Los Angeles County as a whole, Stevenson Ranch ranks 8th in income and ranks 3rd in the 5th Supervisorial District at an average $63,247 a year.
Those in Castaic are ranked seventh in the district with an average of $47,795 annually.
“I think Castaic is emblematic of ‘Middle America,’” Lawrence said. “We are bound together by education, community, religion and sports.”
Santa Clarita locals make an average $40,271 annually, placing them 10th in the district.
“The diversity of our population is going to reflect a diversity in our income and housing,” Smyth said.
Locals were also ranked based on the average level of education, and of communities in Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s 5th District, Stevenson Ranch ranked highest of the three areas, in fifth place with an 8.2 score.
Of those in this community, 50.9 percent have at least a bachelor’s degree and 20.4 percent have a professional or graduate degree. School enrollment is 91.7 percent in Stevenson Ranch, which refers to the percentage of school-age population, between the ages of 3 and 24.
Castaic residents had a 6.23 ranking for education, placing them 16th. Of those in Castaic, 32.8 percent have at least a bachelor’s degree, 8.7 percent have a professional or graduate degree and school enrollment is 86.4 percent.
For Santa Clarita residents, they were ranked 20th in the district at a score of 5.94. Among those in Santa Clarita, 32.7 percent have at least a bachelor’s degree, and 10.4 percent have graduate or professional degree. School enrollment is 84.1 percent.
“Santa Clarita is one of the most highly educated in the state, and we have extremely low unemployment,” Smyth said. “Santa Clarita is a changing community. You are going to have a more diverse education level.”
Within specific categories, overall health was ranked based on the longest life expectancy.
Castaic residents are expected to live the longest lives in the 5th District, according to county data, and have the third-longest overall, with the average person living to 88.9.
Those in Santa Clarita live to an averaged 84 years old, placing them 10th in the district.
“I think that’s certainly higher than national average,” Smyth said, referencing the U.S.’s 78.74 average lifespan. “We are one of healthiest and happiest and that should come as no surprise.”
Stevenson Ranch locals live third longest in the district, at an average age of 86.2.
“The people who live here are more laid back,” Fleming said, “and have a better idea of what they want.”