Personal Finance

What's Your Neighborhood's Walk Score?

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Last updated on July 23, 2019 Comments: 16

If you’re moving into a new neighborhood, it’s usually easy to drive around (or walk around if the new neighborhood is a city) to find amenities and stores within walking distance. If you agree that walking is a necessary exercise, the ability to walk to destinations should be a large factor when deciding where to live.

Now you can find similar information with a handy web site called Walk Score. Type an address when prompted and Walk Score will provide a map containing local grocery stores, restaurants, schools, fitness centers, and more, including walking distance from the address. The web site uses an algorithm to develop a score, the “Walk Score,” for the neighborhood.

For example, here are the results for Princeton, NJ, not my neighborhood, but nearby.

Walk Score for Princeton, NJ

The left column shows the closest location in each category, but is expandable to show all locations within walking distance. You can compare Walk Scores between neighborhoods to help determine an optimal place to live for your exercise needs.

As you can see above, Princeton, New Jersey has a Walk Score of 85. But what does that mean? The web site provides this guide to help you interpret the numbers:

90 – 100: Walkers’ Paradise. Most errands can be accomplished on foot and many people get by without owning a car.
70 – 90: Very Walkable. It’s possible to get by without owning a car.
50 – 70: Some Walkable Locations. Some stores and amenities are within walking distance, but many everyday trips still require a bike, public transportation, or car.
25 – 50: Not Walkable. Only a few destinations are within easy walking range. For most errands, driving or public transportation is a must.
0 – 25: Driving Only. Virtually no neighborhood destinations within walking range. You can walk from your house to your car!

My neighborhood’s Walk Score is 60, an accurate evaluation of my opportunities for ambulatory errand completion.

Walking should be a strong factor in your decision. According to the Walk Score website, walking increases your health, reduces greenhouse gas, increases your social capital, strengthens local businesses, and allows for more public transportation options.

I certainly don’t walk enough as I should. I have a grocery store practically across the street from where I live. Rather than making smaller shopping trips more often in order to walk, I usually wait and make large trips less often, requiring the use of my car to transport the bags of groceries required.

This is one habit I should change for my own benefit.

What is your neighborhood’s Walk Score?

Thanks to Julia_JJ for the tip.

Article comments

Anonymous says:

Mine is 100 but it is probably one of the most unwalkable neighborhoods in Manhattan (the financial district). I think NYC needs it’s own separate scale.

Anonymous says:

My area scored a 12, which was inaccurate because it listed two locations as restaurants which I think may have been mobile food carts or ice cream trucks – there is nothing like these retail areas they mention around here! So the accurate score should have been around 0. Growing up in NYC and slowly working my way towards the rural, suburban, then wilderness-type surroundings, it took me a while to decompress from the ease of transport and the ready access to food and items when I wanted them, city-style. I still miss this ease once in a while, but the rugged wilderness in my backyard is a constant and compelling reason to remain at 0, for now.

Anonymous says:

As with the first comment, I scored a big goose egg. Not that I mind, because we live in virtual isolation for a good part of the year and have a splendid view of a lake. On a typical day, you can sit on the deck and hear nothing but wildlife. A car might drive down our road once an hour. I did my time living in a city and in cramped quarters with obnoxious neighbors. No thanks!

Anonymous says:

I live in Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood and despite three supermarkets, four health clubs, numerous shops, boutiques, bars restaurants, bus lines, L lines, schools, churches, temples, and all that, I got an 86. As if!

My favorite thing was how the reporter had a gay adult book store listed under “book stores.” LOL Honey anyone who goes to The Ram for a little light reading is gonna be in for a big surprise baby! And that big surprise just might be poking through a glory hole in the stall next to yours! Mmmmm! Creamy-liciousness!

Faggy Waggy

Anonymous says:

That is a very cool site. Down here in Texas – where just about everywhere is a suburb – our neighborhood scored a 68. We live in a very old neighborhood and are very fortunate that we have a nice set of little restaurants within walking distance.

Unfortunately the score is a little higher than it should be because they’re still counting a grocery store that closed a few years ago. I would have to argue, however, that they’re kind of nuts for even counting the locations that are over 1/2 mile away as being even remotely walkable. You try walking to the grocery store in August in Texas. No thanks!

Anonymous says:

my hood’s walk score is 86. i do not own a car. although my boyfriend does and helps me get groceries, etc.
i walk to work, etc. i planned it that way. without a car i have more $ for other things, like a 401k, good walking shoes. i do spend on shipping costs for certain things, but it doesn’t total the expense of a car!

when i lived in the city of san francisco, score in last hood lived was 89. first hood i lived in there was 97 (i live 3,000 miles from there now). i have never owned a car.

cool site link, thanks.

Anonymous says:

Wow, KC… we’re totally opposite. If our walkscore was a 2, I’d wonder why everything had to be so close!

I like to visit places that have hustle and bustle, but I’d go stir crazy if I had to live there all the time.


Anonymous says:

My ‘hood got a 78 which is about right. Its easy to get groceries, drugs, restaurants and most everyday items by walking or biking. But to get to a larger store like a Target would require a car. I grew up in a rural area (it scored a 2). Thank God I’m no longer there. I love going to visit my parents but I’d probably be an alcoholic or severly depressed if I lived in such an environment. I’ve thought about moving to other areas of my city that would probably score around 60, but my spouse and I have agreed we like the hustle and bustle of the city and the amenities it provides. I only wish I could convince him to move into a high rise downtown and we could ditch the yard and all the headaches it affords.

Anonymous says:

We recently moved from a place with a score of 85 to one that is 49. There’s no question that there’s a difference. We still walk some places and ride our bikes a lot. It just isn’t quite as easy. However, one of us can now walk to work and it’s just over 3 miles (within biking distance on days I want to do it) to work for the other. Since obviously you work every day, we actually end up with more walking overall.

Anonymous says:

This is definitely a hot and current topic. I just completed one of my MBA courses and did a major project on this topic, specifically Transit Oriented Developments. Here in South Florida there is a great need for these type of pesdestrian friendly developments! Good site, wish I had known about it when completing the project!

Anonymous says:

Wow, ours is a 37. Strange since I live in a traditional neighborhood which is meant to encourage walking.

Anonymous says:

I got a 63, though it was a bit misleading; for example, the closest library is actually part of a college, and wouldn’t have the books I’m interested in. Of course, there is a public library that’s fairly close, but I’m too lazy to walk there. And scared of some of the intersections in between.

Anonymous says:

Mine is 100…not so hard to achieve living in the middle of NYC. Through investigation with friends though this site is missing bits quite a lot. Another friend of mine should have a 100, but she got a 98, because for some reason union square park (major, well known park in manhattan) wasn’t listed as a park, so she had a .39miles to the nearest park, rather than .02.

Anonymous says:

I got a score of 95!! and I don’t own a car..
Car Owners can probably use this site to figure out if they need to keep their car or just rent it out when they require it.
my only gripe with the site is that it does not contain take into consideration on how safe the neighbourhood is…
I mean i would want to know whats the probability of getting mugged on the way to the store……

Anonymous says:

My husband and I are currently househunting, but we would prefer a very low score. We like rural settings, privacy, etc… I think this generally would lead to a low walk score.

Anonymous says:

My walk score is 0, apparently. Ahh, the price of rural living.

With the increased costs of fuel, I expect to see a re-urbanization of many parts of the US. Walkscores and energy efficiency will become more important to consumers, which, as you pointed out, may be a good thing.