”Survey says” looks at various rankings and scorecards judging geographic locations, noting these grades are best seen as a mix of art and data.
Buzz: California cities ranked poorly in one often-discussed livability scorecard.
Source: U.S. News & World Report’s annual “best places to live” rankings combine measurements of the 150 largest metropolitan areas for jobs, value, quality of life, popularity and migration trends.
My trusty spreadsheet tells me the 14 California metros graded for 2021 received an average No. 115 ranking out of 150, with all but two ranked 97th or worse. These Golden State cities averaged a better-than-mid-range 69th place for quality of life. But, no surprise, the state’s high cost of living dragged down results with the 14 averaging a lowly 137th for value.
Now, let’s compare California with Florida where its 14 cities had an average No. 48 overall ranking (averaging 40th for quality; 116th for value). Or Texas, with 10 cities averaging a No. 93 overall ranking (averaging 82nd for quality; 86th for value).
The remaining 112 cities from outside these three big states averaged 72nd overall; 76th for quality; 59th for value.
Here’s how the 14 California metros fared in this rankings, highlighting quality of life and value …
15. San Francisco: 44th best score of 150 for quality of life; and the 130th highest for value.
36. San Jose: No. 4 for quality; No. 121 for value.
97. San Diego: No. 8 for quality; No. 146 for value.
98. Sacramento: No. 66 for quality; No. 130 for value.
115. Santa Barbara: No. 6 for quality; No. 146 for value.
121. Santa Rosa: No. 8 for quality; No. 142 for value.
126. Five-county Southern California, or the “Los Angeles” metro: No. 74 for quality; No. 148 for value.
135. Vallejo/Fairfield: No. 128 for quality; No. 140 for value.
136. Fresno: No. 98 for quality; No. 137 for value.
141. Salinas: No. 20 for quality; No. 145 for value.
146. Modesto: No. 128 for quality; No. 134 for value.
147. Stockton: No. 147 for quality; No. 134 for value.
148. Bakersfield: No. 146 for quality; No. 130 for value.
149. Visalia: No. 82 for quality; No. 141 for value.
Every scorecard uses a different scale to weigh the “best” geographical region.
So when the Niche website ranked 231 U.S. cities as placed to live, California had five with an A-plus grade — Irvine, Torrance, San Francisco, Berkeley and Sunnyvale. Texas had three; Florida, none.
But Niche also gave three California cities its lowest C-minus grade: Ontario, Salinas and Victorville vs. zero in Florida and Texas.
So where are the best metros, by U.S. News math? Boulder, Colo., then Raleigh-Durham, N.C., Huntsville, Ala., Fayetteville, Ark., and Austin, Texas. These are decidedly smaller cities with a heavy Southern accent.
“The ability to afford to live comfortably is of gross importance to many, and the cost of living is a major consideration when people weigh the possibility of moving to a new metro area,” U.S. News wrote.
Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Orange County Register