BusinessWeek magazine, one of the world's leading business publications, has rated Clayton's schools among the top in the U.S. and ranked the town in the top 10 of the country's most affordable places for families to live and assure a top education for their children.
Clayton's schools received an "average school rating" of 9.3 out of 10, one of the highest rankings in the country. The magazine singled out East Clayton Elementary, Riverwood Elementary and Riverwood Middle Schools as the area's best.
"BusinessWeek is pointing out something that people here have known for a long time, that Clayton is a great place to live and raise a family," said Mayor Jody McLeod. "Our schools are awesome. Our people and our town are awesome, too."
The article mentioned the town's close proximity to the state capitol in Raleigh and "the thriving Research Triangle area" as big selling points. It also singled out area golf courses, the recent Harvest Festival and the Clayton Center, with its 600-seat auditorium, as top assets.
"The location of a home, as we all know, determines its value," the magazine said in an article written by Prashant Gopal. "Buyers consider proximity to jobs, public transportation, shops, parks, and entertainment when looking for a place to live. But they'll pay a premium—even if they have to work multiple jobs, pinch pennies, and endure long commutes—to find a home in a top-rated school district."
But, in Clayton, the article says, residents get it all—good quality of life, affordability and top schools.
"It's all families' dilemma," the article says, "how to provide the best education for the children without bankrupting themselves? Some kids are lucky—and smart enough—to win scholarships, and others have parents who can afford to send them to private schools. For most Americans, however, there is too often a trade-off between affordable housing and quality education. But not always."
The magazine said its research shows that only 26 percent of the town's households have children, and the median household income is $84,005. The town's median home value is $167,900 and the "metro area" median home price is $204,000. The article listed the town's population at 27,954.
The magazine ranked the top 25 most affordable places with top schools, naming Clayton tenth in the country. Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, which is located 35 miles northeast of Pittsburg, ranked at the top.
Clayton is the only town in North Carolina to make the rankings.
Here is a link to the rankings