I’ve had a bunch of people wonder why I decided to move my family to a remote area of Vermont. Well folks, it’s because of… data.

As I pondered “where in the United States do I want to raise my two daughters” I decided to answer the question by creating requirements and a dataset to determine if my requirements have been met. I know, it’s a little product manager-y.

Below is an overview of the 5 round elimination that led me to Vermont:

Round 1 | Climate

15 States eliminated, 35 States Remain

Definition: average summer temperatures less than 75 degrees. Source here.

Round 2 | Trump won

13 States eliminated, 22 States remain

States where the majority voted for Trump in 2020, aka “danger zone,” removed from consideration. I realize that ruling out an entire state may seem unfair, the logic is that most of these states have urban areas that did not vote Trump. However, my goal was to purchase in a rural area, and you can bet rural area + Trump state would not meet my criteria. Source here.

Round 3 | Affordable housing

10 States eliminated, 12 States Remain

Definition: average home costs under $420K*. Average home prices over $420K removed from consideration. Source here.

*prices have fluctuated since first gathering this data, this map shows 2023 prices

Round 4 | Resistant to climate change

7 States eliminated, 5 States Remain

We looked at the top 10 states that are most resistant to climate change. Only the top 10 were in the consideration set. Factors considered by the source include drought, extreme heat, wildfires, flooding, and state preparedness. Vermont scores especially high for states that will experience the least amount of extreme heat in the decades ahead. Source here.

Round 5 | Women’s Rights

4 States Eliminated, 1 State Remains

In the final round we looked at places where Women’s rights are the strongest (in terms of workplace, health, education, and political empowerment). Source here.

We’ve landed in Vermont!

Now where in Vermont? Well we need lots more data for that, including:

  1. 2020 Presidential election by county.
  2. High voting average for codifying reproductive rights in the state constitution.
  3. Within a 15 minute commute of a Waldorf school.
  4. Close to farmers markets, skiing, and libraries.

Source here. I created this last map by manually inputting dozens of data points and GIS data overlays. Using the data overlays we homed in on hyper-specific locations that met our conditions.

We focused our housing search within three main markets around Burlington, Montpelier, and Quechee. We ended up loving the Montpelier area the most and found our new home in a village (yes, a village is smaller than a town) of 1,500 people comprised of two general stores, a town hall, miles of dirt roads, and lots and lots of natural beauty.

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