Neon Vincent (darksumomo) wrote in ontd_political,
Neon Vincent

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Raleigh best, Bakersfield worst metropolitan areas in U.S. according to Portfolio That's the Life
by G. Scott Thomas May 24 2010

Step aside New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. When it comes to living the good life, Raleigh has it all: from high-tech jobs to good education and economic stability.

Raleigh can’t match the cultural splendors of New York, the financial clout of Chicago, or the ethnic diversity of Los Angeles. But it does have plenty of attractive qualities of its own.

Such as its high-tech industries, which have established Raleigh as an anchor of the famed Research Triangle. Then there are its high-profile universities, led by North Carolina State, which have cemented its reputation as an educational center. And its status as a state capital, which has brought political prominence and economic stability.
And now you can add this: Raleigh is the major metropolitan market that offers the best quality of life in the United States, according to a new study by
The study compared the performances of the nation's 67 biggest metropolitan areas in 20 statistical categories. The highest scores went to well-rounded markets with healthy economies, moderate costs of living, light traffic, impressive housing stocks, and high-powered educational systems.
Raleigh earned first place, edging out two metros that are substantially larger, No. 2 Washington and No. 3 Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Several factors pushed Raleigh to the top of the list:
  • It’s growing at a rapid pace. No major market is expanding as rapidly as Raleigh, whose metropolitan population has increased by 37 percent since 2000.
  • It has a vast inventory of new homes. More than half of all houses in the Raleigh area have been built since 1990. Las Vegas is the only other market above 50 percent for new homes.
  • It has an impressive supply of high-level jobs. Forty-four percent of Raleigh’s workers hold management or professional positions, surpassing all but three markets.
  • It has a well-educated workforce. Raleigh, at 41 percent, ranks sixth in the share of adults holding bachelor’s degrees. analyzed the 67 metropolitan areas that have populations of 750,000 or more. The raw data used in the study came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2006-2008 American Community Survey. Details of the criteria for the rankings are in Metro Quality of Life: Methodology.
These markets are the 10 best in terms of quality of life:
  1. Four reasons for Raleigh’s No. 1 rank are listed above. Others include its large percentage of young adults, its historically low unemployment rate, and its impressive array of big houses.
  2. Washington leads four categories. It has the lowest poverty rate for families, the largest concentration of management and professional jobs, the highest share of big houses, and the best percentage of college-educated adults.
  3. Prosperity is a key to Minneapolis-St. Paul’s high rating. It has the third-lowest poverty rate of any major market, and its median household income of $66,281 is the ninth best.
  4. Bridgeport-Stamford, Connecticut, is unusually stable. Eighty-eight percent of its residents have lived in the same house for more than a year, a rate second only to New York City. Its median household income ($83,492) ranks third.
  5. No market has a lower jobless rate for workers between the ages of 25 and 64 than Salt Lake City. Only Washington has a larger share of homes with at least nine rooms. One fifth of Salt Lake City’s houses are that size.
  6. Denver attracts young, self-motivated individuals. It has the nation’s sixth-highest concentration of young adults, 30.6 percent. And it’s ninth in the share of self-employed workers, 11.6 percent.
  7. Education is one of the secrets to Seattle’s success. Ninety-one percent of its adults are high-school graduates, a rate topped only by Minneapolis-St. Paul. It also ranks 10th in the percentage of people with bachelor’s degrees.
  8. Forty-five percent of the workers in Boston hold management or professional jobs. Washington and San Jose are the only markets that do better. And Boston’s median household income of $70,344 is sixth in the study group.
  9. A recent study by named Austin the best metro for young adults. That quality helped it crack the top 10 for overall quality of life, as did its strong population growth (32 percent since 2000).
  10. San Jose has been on the comeback trail since the dotcom bust a decade ago. It now has the highest household income (median of $86,806) and third-lowest poverty rate (5.6 percent of all families) of any major metro.
Two California markets are mired at the opposite end of the list. Bakersfield is 67th—dead last—in overall quality of life, and Fresno is a notch higher in 66th place.
Bakersfield ranks last in six of the study’s 20 categories. It has the highest poverty rate of any major market, as well as the lightest concentration of management and professional jobs, weakest inventory of big houses, and smallest percentages in the three educational categories that track adults with high-school diplomas, bachelor’s degrees, and advanced degrees.
Also in the bottom five are New Orleans, Memphis, and Riverside-San Bernardino, California.
A Bakersfield TV station ran the story, trying to make lemonade out of lemons from it.  Here's how that went.

KERO-TV 23 (Bakersfield): Bakersfield Ranked Highest In Poverty Of Any Major Market

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- Raleigh, North Carolina surpassed Washington, Seattle and Boston to be named the American city with the best quality of life in a new poll.

It scored top marks in the survey by the website that ranked 67 metropolitan areas with healthy economies on cost of living, housing stocks, educational systems and traffic.

"There are several factors that pushed Raleigh to the top of the list, with it being the only major market that's expanding and growing at a rapid pace, resulting in a metropolitan increase of 37 percent since 2000,' said G. Scott Thomas, a demographer who created the analysis.

"Raleigh has a well-educated workforce and an impressive supply of high-level jobs, not to mention its low unemployment rate and its impressive array of big houses," he added in a statement.

Washington came second in the survey, followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul, Bridgeport-Stamford in Connecticut and Salt Lake City.

Bakersfield and Fresno in California came in at the very bottom of the list because their high poverty rate and low scores in the major categories.

"Bakersfield has the highest poverty rate of any major market, as well as the lightest concentration of management and professional jobs, weakest inventory of big houses, and smallest percentages in the three educational categories that track adults with high school diplomas, bachelor's degrees and advanced degrees," Thomas explained.

New Orleans and Memphis also scored low in the poll, while Denver came in at No. 6, followed by Seattle, Boston, Austin and San Jose, which rounded out the top 10.

Washington D.C had the highest percentage of the population with management and professional jobs. But Omaha had the shortest commuting times to work, with an average of 19.3 minutes, while New York City had the longest with 34.5 minutes.

Information Provided by 

My adopted city of Detroit managed to stay out of the bottom 10, at 57th place. My original hometown of Los Angeles wasn't so lucky.  It fell into the Bottom 10 at  61st.  I'm living in the most livable city I've ever lived in, and it's Detroit.  Imagine that!

I can't resist one last dig. I've lived in Bakersfield, and I've lived in Detroit. I'll take Detroit.

Tags: california, colorado, economy, housing, louisiana, massachusetts, michigan, minnesota, nebraska, new york, north carolina, tennessee, texas, utah, washington (the state)

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