Starke ranks near the bottom of a 92-county quality of life study recently conducted by Ball State University. “The Human Development of Indiana Counties: A Policy Perspective,” looks at factors like health and longevity, knowledge and education and standard of living in its rankings.
Specific consideration is given to life expectancy at birth, the adult literacy rate and per capita gross domestic product, according to the survey’s author.
Ball State University economist Michael Hicks says urban counties fare better than their rural counterparts in the study. The five counties with the highest ranking are Hamilton, Monroe, Tippecanoe, Porter and Boone, while the lowest are LaGrange, Scott, Switzerland, Starke and Crawford.
The study’s co-author Dagney Faulk says state economic development policies need to be adjusted to make communities more attractive. Specifically that includes K-12 education improvements, developing quality of place as a mechanism to attract skilled workers, which they say would boost the productivity, health and economic conditions within a region and possibly transferring township services to county governments in order to improve responsiveness. Additionally the report recommends developing local infrastructure to support healthy lifestyles and focusing on regional development.