Progressive Farmer.com has compiled a list of the 100 best rural counties in which to live. They started with 600 counties with rural areas that met their population, population density and income criteria. Then They ranked them by health care (the number of hospitals and clinics in the county); education (student/teacher ratio and number of higher learning institutions); climate (average temperature and rainfall); pollution index (ranked against the national average); crime index (personal and property crime ranked against the national average); and tax burden (county sales tax and state income tax only, since pro p e rty taxes vary too widely between municipalities). In each category, they used OnBoard's most recent stats.
After crunching the numbers, their editorial board looked at the intangibles, such as quality of life, leisure and cultural pursuits, and scenery. The selections stayed true to the numbers but also reflected subjective opinions about the counties chosen. They also talked to residents in these counties.