101 Cities Ranked on Just About Everything

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Data geeks rejoice. Or kiss your afternoon goodbye. Particularly interesting are the little Google Maps mashups that accompany each list. A few of my favorites, after spending way too much time poking around the lists last night:

• You can find native-born Czechs all over the place. Not so much with the Portuguese.

Eight percent of people in Palo Alto, California have a doctoral degree. No one in East L.A. does.

• If you're looking for women, try St. Joseph, Minnesota. If you're looking for fat women, try St. Louis, Missouri.

• The map showing the places where people are most likely to drink alcohol looks a lot like the map showing the healthiest counties. And the map showing the places were people were least likely to drink looks a lot like the map showing the least healthy counties.

• I suspect that the word legal is missing from this list. Also interesting to note how many cities from this list are located in the counties on the other one.

Flagstaff, Arizona is one of the 101 coldest cities in the country.

• If you like to drink, move to Austin.

New Orleans is getting safer. Flint, Allentown, and Oakland are getting scarier.

• Seattle isn't actually among the 101 rainiest cities, but it is one of the cloudiest.

• African immigrants seem to settle in and around Washington, D.C. (which also boasts the most delicious Ethiopian restaurants in the world). The odd exception is Clarkston, Georgia, which has the highest proportion of native-born East Africans in the country.

One in four of the 88,000 people in Westminster, California is native-born Vietnamese.

Feel free to add your own nuggets of gee-whiz demographic wisdom in the comments section.

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  1. Uhh, so Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach county are on the list for the least number of firearms?!?

    Yeah, they must be referring to legal firearms, because there is no fucking way any county in South Florida should be anywhere close to making a list of least # of firearms.

    That’s why I love it here. You’d have to run over a cop, then back up and run him over again, to get pulled over…

  2. Boca Raton, Florida has the highest number of McDonalds disguised as posh boutiques.

  3. Okay, Im going to call bullshit on one of those. My county, Jefferson Co. KY, was #14 on lowest drinking counties. While I will accept the 40% number, and I realize that lots of people in dry counties drink (heck, I know a couple of bootleggers in my Mom’s home county), I refuse to believe that some of the dryest counties in KY have a higher percent of people that drink. Im thinking they failed to survey all 120 KY counties.

    For one thing, we have catholics in Jefferson Co. The rest of the state doesnt.

  4. I’ll bet that the rainfall category is measured by number of inches per year rather than number of days of precipitation.

  5. Error the 2nd:

    Their 101 biggest cities list includes Lexington, KY but not Louisville. Before the city/county merger in Louisville, that might have been okay, but after the merger (which was in 2000? 2002?, way before 2006), we are “bigger than Boston”.

  6. 1. Gilberts, IL (housing, pop. 5,245): 0.0%
    2. Gretna, NE (housing, pop. 5,970): 0.0%
    3. Rensselaer, IN (housing, pop. 6,259): 0.0%
    4. Pana, IL (housing, pop. 5,501): 0.0%
    5. Prosper, TX (housing, pop. 5,158): 0.0%
    6. New Franklin, OH (housing, pop. 15,013): 0.0%

    All places with the same homosexual population as Iran…riiiiight.

  7. Just a couple observations from areas I am familiar with.

    I am not surprised to see Dundalk,MD on the “low Doctorate” list. Nice to see it right up there with Compton.

    And I guess Princess Anne has a large African population because of UMES.

    Overall not too surprised to see MD and OH ( the 2 states where I live) towns high on the “‘bad” lists.

    I didn’t see my hometown on there anywhere but I don’t think there is a category for ” top resort beach towns where every business bulldozed to build luxury condos but many couldnt sell 1 unit, and mothers keep dead fetuses in their apartments.”

  8. great fun! Thanks!

  9. huh? oh, what did you say? I was too busy looking at the pretty ranking lists

  10. Denver just joined the ranks of “coolest cities”. Excellent!! In your face prohibs!!!!

  11. Way cool, Radley. Way cool. Many thanks for the link.

  12. Radley,

    Somebody is bound to call you a racist on this. Prepare to grovel.

    Eight percent of people in Palo Alto, California have a doctoral degree. No one in East L.A. does.

    New Orleans is getting safer…

  13. If you’re looking for women, try St. Jospeh, Minnesota.

    St. Joe is a otherwise tiny town that is also the home of the College Of St. Benedict which is an all women school.

    Speaking of all womens private schools in the midwest (Hello, Penthouse Forum!), if you’re looking for sluttier Catholic school girls I’d highly recommend the College Of St. Catherine in St. Paul. Bennies usually only date Johnnies (or themselves) and are kind of boring, plus St Joe is like an hour away from the Twin Cities. Caties used to only date Tommies, but if you were a handsome, suave Hamline guy like me you were in too.

    The hottest private school girls though go to the fascist / baptist Bethel. No smoking, no drinking, no dancing, etc. rules make those folks go crazy with repressed desires after a while.

  14. “The map showing the places where people are most likely to drink alcohol looks a lot like the map showing the healthiest counties. And the map showing the places were people were least likely to drink looks a lot like the map showing the least healthy counties”

    Yeah and I bet if I tried real hard I could find some sort of data demonstrating that people with brown shoelaces live longer than those with white shoelaces. Sound stupid? Yes, but no more stupid than your attempt to show that alchohol consumption, absent a discussion of the myriad of other factors, is what is leading to the increased longevity.

  15. Wow, the richest zip code in the United States

    10004 (New York, NY), pop. 1,225: 1192091

    looks like its actually be the lost city of Atlantis. Plato would be pleased.

  16. “Okay, Im going to call bullshit on one of those. My county, Jefferson Co. KY, was #14 on lowest drinking counties. While I will accept the 40% number, and I realize that lots of people in dry counties drink (heck, I know a couple of bootleggers in my Mom’s home county), I refuse to believe that some of the dryest counties in KY have a higher percent of people that drink. Im thinking they failed to survey all 120 KY counties. ”

    As a fellow resident of this county, I totally agree with what you say on this one.

  17. Wayne,

    Somebody is bound to call you a racist on this. Prepare to grovel.

    Do you walk around afraid of people calling you a racist all the time?

    What perspective on the world makes you automatically look at issues through this lens?

    Fascinating.

  18. Not going to click… Not going to click… This sort of thing is way up my alley. Maps, lists, cities, oh my!

    OK, I see most of the factoids are based on city rather than metropolitan populations, which–given the total arbitrariness of city boundaries–results in bizarre facts such as the one I saw a couple years ago calling the “city” of Amherst, NY (it’s really a suburb that adjoins crime-ridden Buffalo) the safest in the US.

    Still, fascinating stuff.

  19. I live next to a man with a doctoral degree in East Los Angeles.

  20. If you’re looking for fat women, try St. Louis, Missouri.

    For some reason this leads me to picture Stevo Darkly photoshopped onto David St. Hubbins’ head singing “Big Bottom” for all he’s worth.

  21. 10004 looks like its actually be the lost city of Atlantis

    I saw that too. The map shows Governors Island (where nobody lives) but neglects to make it clear that the ZIP code happens to include the NYSE and many of its many hyper-wealthy traders who live nearby.

  22. What is also interesting , but not really surprising, is that most of the ‘poorest’ zip codes are college campuses.

  23. It’s interesting to see the effects of college campuses and military bases on a lot of this data. Like lowest average AGI, for example, you’d think you’d be seeing a lot of neglected inner city and rural areas, but you see stuff like zip codes for student housing at large universities, etc.

  24. What Kolohe said.

  25. Rhywun – you said it – maps, facts, figures – AWESOME!!!!! And Lunch – talk about a graphic image 🙂

    And for that, you have given STEVO a big win on the internets. 🙂

  26. you see stuff like zip codes for student housing at large universities

    Which should be factored out in a “serious” study.

  27. As for the best place to go drinking, the Austin thing is a little skewed. It’s listed with one zip code at 80 places.

    My own neighborhood is split up into three zip codes (10002, 10003, 10009) which all sort of bump into one another and is listed as 52, 73, and 53 respectively. That would make for a grand total of 178 places to drink just in the East Village-Lower East Side area of Manhattan. If you include the “greater” Village area, it would be twice that number.

    Anyway… Just doing my part to parse the numbers a little.

  28. So most of the sunniest cites are in CA. No wonder they’re spearheading the solar power movement.

  29. I see most of the factoids are based on city rather than metropolitan populations, which–given the total arbitrariness of city boundaries–results in bizarre facts

    Yes, because of the transient and fractured nature of the borders in South Florida, I declare all SoFlo facts inaccurate.

  30. Yeah, comparing ZIP codes is as much apples-and-oranges as comparing municipalities.

  31. I couldn’t help but notice the 101st county with the most drinking Sarpy County NE had 59.8% drink within the last 30 days also appeared on the list of counties that didn’t drink at number 99. Thus they surveyed a grand total of 200 counties.

  32. Richmond, Virginia is the fifth most dangerous city in the country! Yeah! We’re #5!

    It also has one of the lowest employment rates in the nation at around 3%, though.

  33. And, a last one, no suprise, the Army walks (marches?) to work. But so does the the Air Force and Marines, which contradicts the “chair force” stereotype and the M.A.R.I.N.E. acronym. But I guess the Navy swims to work.

  34. As far as the lowest weighted women, of course Hawaii ranks high. I account this both to vanity and especially the unusually high percentage of asian women 🙂

  35. I went to Austin once. I’ve never seen so many bars in my life.

  36. As far as the lowest weighted women, of course Hawaii ranks high. I account this both to vanity and especially the unusually high percentage of asian women 🙂

    Whenever I’m in the northeast I notice people seem a lot skinnier than down here, particularly in New York. I would blame our food, but its not like a Philly Cheesesteak or New-York style pizza is the epitome of healthy cuisine.

  37. On the highest percentage of women list, Geneseo, NY appears twice. At #21 and again at #44 I believe.

  38. its not like a Philly Cheesesteak or New-York style pizza is the epitome of healthy cuisine

    Maybe it’s the high influx of skinny immigrants.

  39. Clarkston is where the State Department relocated a huge number of refugees.

  40. People in NYC are skinny because they walk everywhere. And there is lots of stress just living their where everything is going 100 mph. You either walked to where you wanted to go, walked to the subway or cabstand, or drove and then parked where you could find a spot, and then walked to your destination. And the whole time you were stressed out so your body burned the calories. Also, a lack of large grocery stores like we have in suburban areas. It may be less likely that you are willing to carry space wasting bags of chips on your walk from the corner store to your apartment when you also have to carry everything else because you don’t have a car, or if you get the stuff delivered, do you tip by the bag? Maybe you only got what you needed because you’re cheap. I don’t know if any of these reasons are legit. I’m just imagining why people in NYC might be skinnier than people who live near me, upstate, that drive everywhere, are less stressed, and can load the SUV full of food for the week.

  41. I’m just imagining why people in NYC might be skinnier than people who live near me, upstate, that drive everywhere, are less stressed, and can load the SUV full of food for the week.

    Yeah, upstaters aren’t terribly known for their skinniness. It’s still better than the south, but you see a lot more of the crazy-obese types than you do in the city.
    If you do find vain people upstate, they will likely move to the city in the short term, or just moved from the city.

    I had a friend who lived in the city for 3 years though and somehow managed to gain weight, even though he walked positively everywhere. I don’t know how, but he managed.
    Also, I was under the impression that stress led to gaining weight… Either way, I bet your assumptions on exercise levels and food expense are right on.

  42. Maybe Austin ranks #1 for places to drink, but Manhatten has 12 zipcodes in the top 101 list. I’m not from New York, I’m from Boston, which I didn’t see on that list. So much for having a large Irish Catholic community.

  43. The “Crime index increase” map is interesting for a specific reason:

    Napa ends up #23 in crime rate increase. Oakland and Bakersfield are numbers 4 and 5.

    Napa got there because a moderate increase of crime from a previous small number is a large/moderate increase. Oakland and Bakersfield were scary BEFORE 2002 and they went up precipitously.

  44. I’m in wonk heaven!

    Note that Denver has a zip code with the 5th most Internet business establishments:

    http://www.city-data.com/top2/z56.html

  45. OK, I see most of the factoids are based on city rather than metropolitan populations, which–given the total arbitrariness of city boundaries–results in bizarre facts

    Indeed. Like the bizarre fact that San Antonio is the 7th largest city and bigger than Dallas (which is both technically true and completely misleading). After all SA is only the 29th largest metro area while Dallas is the 4th largest. And what is up with Texas in that regard? They also have Austin and El Paso as the 16th and 21st largest cities when they are only the 37th and 68th largest metro areas. Right, like saying that El Paso is bigger than Seattle and Boston makes any sense. Or that Oklahoma City is bigger than Portland? Only until you check the metro area populations and notice that Portland (23rd) is twice as big as Oklahoma City (45th). Basically the city population tells you nothing about the actual size of the “city” in any meaningful way.

    Oh and speaking of Portland, I notice that just since 2000 it has surpassed both Cincinnati and Cleveland. Watch out Pittsburgh, we’re coming for you next! 🙂

  46. Under the list of 101 cities with the least cars per population, pop. >50,000, I noticed that six of the cities on the list are Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and… New York City. Gee, that’s funny, Georgetown failed to make the list but Washington DC did.

  47. OK, I see most of the factoids are based on city rather than metropolitan populations, which–given the total arbitrariness of city boundaries–results in bizarre facts

    For sure. Denver metro is like over 1.5 M, not the 1/2 M of the city limits.

  48. I’ll bet that the rainfall category is measured by number of inches per year rather than number of days of precipitation.

    No doubt. Look at the list for the Top 101 cities with the lowest maximum monthly sunshine amount (population 50,000+) and you’ll see the top six, and 13 of the top 15 are in the Seattle area.

    Denver metro is like over 1.5 M, not the 1/2 M of the city limits.

    From the list I was just looking at the Denver-Aurora metro area is 21st largest with a 2.4M population estimate for 2006.

  49. ..Oops. I meant that metro Denver has a population of 2.5 M. Oh yeah, and we’re wonderfully urbane, sophisticated, and cosmo and nice…and our local musical scene is stellar…For example, what can I say about my friend, H&R’s own …

    http://www.littlefyodor.com/

  50. Brian,

    You caught that fast!

  51. Oakland is getting scarier? That’s an oxymoron.

  52. One in four of the 88,000 people in Westminster, California is native-born Vietnamese

    Not sure why the Vietnamese refugees all picked Westminster. When I lived there with Ed Royce (pay attention, I’m name dropping) there weren’t any Vietnamese in town (because we hadn’t lost the war yet).

  53. Gee, that’s funny, Georgetown failed to make the list but Washington DC did.

    Well, each NYC borough is a separate county. Might as well throw them in there.

    Basically the city population tells you nothing about the actual size of the “city” in any meaningful way.

    Yes, because you have a city like Buffalo whose limits have been fixed since 1850, versus cities out south and west which continue to expand like crazy.

  54. TWC,

    Rather than the Vietnamese picking that city, they were probably settled there by the U.S. government. They did that with southeast asian refugees.

    Other examples include Cambodians in Long Beach and Lowell, and Hmong in Minneapolis and Fitchburg, MA.

    I can’t for the life of me figure out why they settled people from southeast Asia in such cold cities.

  55. I can’t for the life of me figure out why they settled people from southeast Asia in such cold cities.

    If I grew up in a hot, sweaty pit, escaped on boat only to have the Americans put me in another humid hell, I’d be pissed. Give me 4 distinct seasons!

  56. Oakland is getting scarier? That’s an oxymoron.

    One time when I was visiting Berkley, I was having Pizza at a place called Blondie’s (still there?) on Telegraph Ave. It’s an outside seating place right by the university. This Black guy came up and asked if I wanted to give him any spare change. I wound up buying him lunch too and as we talked, he told me that he was from Oakland. I told him that it was my understanding that there were places in Oakland that weren’t safe for White people. He looked at me a tad incredulously and told me that most of Oakland isn’t safe for Black people!

  57. I can’t for the life of me figure out why they settled people from southeast Asia in such cold cities.

    One time I came upon little Vietnamese kids in a park joyfully cavorting in the snow for their first time. After a while they were holding their ears and rubbing their hands together as the cold got to them, and telling the adults minding them about it. I asked the adults what the kids were saying and they told me that they were saying, “The snow and weather in Colorado hurts!”

  58. Radley,

    I think you need to reconsider your statement that no one in East L.A. has a doctoral degree. Considering that City-Data only reports percentages out to one decimal place, it is possible that East LA has up to 62 people with doctoral degrees. Here’s the math:

    62 doctorates divided by population of 124,283 multiplied by 100 = 0.0499% = 0.0%

    Essentially, rounding off the percentage to one decimal gives the impression that there are zero doctorates in East LA. In fact, clicking through to the “raw” data for East LA shows that there are a whopping 14 males and 9 females with doctoral degrees among those 25 years and older!!

    While the true percentage is still abysmally low (0.02%), it’s not accurate to state that no one in East LA possesses a doctoral degree.

  59. Rick Barton

    Statistically speaking, blacks are far more likely to be killed in “bad” neighborhoods than whites.

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