FIRST OF ALL, I read this AWESOME post from WalletHub:
And it was SUPER-INTERESTING. Not just as a "Ranking", but as a measurement of quality of life. First of all read the article right now. It’s a good article and it’s not going to kill you, I promise.
If you haven’t already done so, follow the link and scroll to the bottom. Look at the indicators they use for their Methodology - the factors they used to QUANTIFY what is essentially their view of what provides a good quality of life.
THIS IS FASCINATING, YOU GUYS! Have you ever seen a definition of Quality of Life*, much less one that ranks it by city?! Or breaks it down in a way that makes you look around at your s#itty apartment / tract home / McMansion and say, “Heyyyyy, maybe I should move somewhere else”?
* (Quality of Life: the standard of health, comfort, and happiness experienced by an individual or group. Still worthless without another season of Firefly.)
Among 2017’s (62) Best Big Cities to Live in are fifteen cities in California and Colorado, two of the many states* in which I have been a long-time resident. The Bureau of Unnecessary Statistics tells me that is twenty-four percent of the 62 Best Big Cities!
(*I have lived in California and Colorado, the two best states that begin with the letter C. Suck it, Connecticut. You have ZERO Best Cities.)
#4 San Diego, CA
#5 Colorado Springs, CO
#9 Denver, CO
#10 San Jose, CA
#16 San Francisco, CA
#17 Aurora, CO
#21 Sacramento, CA
#29 Los Angeles, CA
#40 Riverside, CA
#42 Anaheim, CA
#50 Oakland, CA
#51 Bakersfield, CA
#55 Santa Ana, CA
#56 Long Beach, CA
#58 Fresno, CA
Let’s assume you read the article and looked at the graphics and stuff, because they’re great.
As a low-level Statistics geek, I really wanted to see their formulas, but I can’t because they’re super-secret like KFC’s spice recipe. So is the WalletHub base data. I asked. A nice lady from WalletHub was kind enough to share some of the raw data anyway, provided that I don’t share it with YOU. For the record, the WalletHub raw data is spicier than KFC.
This data enables me to make a comparison between San Francisco (Audience: “Booooooooooo!”) and Oakland (Audience: “Yaaaaaaaaay!”), and a parallel comparison between Denver (Audience: “ . . . “ *stoned*) and Aurora (Audience: “FFFFUUUUUU. . . “ *stuck in homicidal traffic, commuting from Denver*). I can make these comparisons because both Oakland and Aurora are Best Big Cities that are considered suburbs of the more famous Best Big Cities of San Francisco and Denver, but which both get really ticked off if you say that to their faces.
Aurora: “Hey Man, knock it off, okay? I’m a hunnert fifty-four POINT ONE square miles, okay? You know how big Denver is? ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-FIVE. People like you always make a GIANT FREAKING DEAL about POINT NINE MILES! I! AM! NOT! A! SUBURB!”
Oakland: “Cool it. I am F*&%#ing TWICE THE SIZE of San Francisco. I would shoot you, but I’m trying to be better. Take the F^@# off.”
Oakland and Aurora each totally have a point. BUT: Oakland and Aurora are totally each suburban big cities living in the shadow of their more-famous neighbors. More statistically significant, though, is the fact that these are the cities I want to compare, okay?! Because I want to.
Oakland: 78 sq. mi 405,000 population
San Francisco: 47 sq. mi 860,000 population
Aurora: 154 sq mi 325,000 population
Denver: 155 sq mi 3.5 million population
So we can see that beyond a shadow of a doubt, Denver has, by far, the highest population of men with this damn haircut.
(Picture courtesy of me Googling “What’s that one damn haircut that every single guy in Denver has?” and then this picture comes up, courtesy of a place called My Hair Trip Salon Denver.)
Also, any idiot can see that my comparison between the cities involved will completely fail to be statistically significant - and that idiot would be correct, but he’s still an idiot.
Also also, since I moved from the Oakland area to the Denver area, The Denver Beard has just appeared on my face. Nothing can take away the OAK-LAND!, though.
Let’s do some actual statistics-based comparisons from the secret stash of WalletHub Hidden Figures.
Oakland vs. San Francisco Cost of Living and Median Income: San Francisco scores just three spots lower than Oakland for affordable cost of living, somewhere very far down at the bottom (think: the BEST score is at the Top of the list, and the WORST score is on the floor because it has had too much to drink and has lost its grip on the bar). News Flash: San Francisco is Not Affordable! Also, Pope is Wet! and Water is Catholic! Also, Oakland Is Not That Affordable, Either!
However, San Francisco can’t really get much higher on the list for Median Annual Household Income. There’s GOLD in them thar hills! Oakland was just a smidge richer than Aurora and Denver (which were nearly identical to each other - Aurora and Denver were ONE expensive dinner away from being the same income number). So this ends up more as a comparison of San Francisco versus the other three cities. The data says, “If you want to play in San Francisco, you PAY to live in San Francisco”. And it also says, “If you want to play in the other three cities, you can afford to!”
*** Special Shout-Out to San Jose, #10 on the 62 Best Big Cities List, for being the only Best Big City where a highly-paid single, cuddly, software Engineer with a new Tesla Model S cannot afford to buy a home.
The data also says that San Francisco residents have the lowest Debt Per Median Earnings of ANY of the 62 Best Big Cities. San Francisco has HALF the debt ratio of the next Best City on the list. San Francisco is BALLING - that’s how they can afford to be San Francisco. Ranking-wise, Oakland isn’t far behind SF on the Debt Chart, but Denver and Aurora are. Denver is about in the middle of the Debt Race, while Aurora scores dead last. Aurora could have been sent to prison for life in the early 1900’s. Aurora residents carry about as much debt (per income) as San Francisco, Oakland, and Seattle residents combined. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Aurora is where all the parents live, and they’re paying for their college kids to go to school in Denver. Aurora parents need to ask San Francisco parents for a loan.
Some scores of interest! Just our Four City Rankings (Best to Worst):
San Francisco 2
Quality of Public School System:
San Francisco 2
Violent-Crime Rate per 1,000 Residents:
San Francisco 3
Cost of Living:
and Aurora 1
San Francisco 4
San Francisco 4
Best Baseball Team EVER:
San Francisco 2
Aaaaand, just about every category that has to do with Culture: San Francisco #1, Aurora #62. For reals. Look at the list.
I have one last Best Big City statistic for you:
- We now live in a world where the safest Best Big City is New York, New York.
Next: We compare completely made-up statistics for Gotham, Metropolis, Coast City, Central City, Atlantis, and Riverdale!