Best U.S. City to Raise a Family: Honolulu?

Let the controversy begin -- Best Life Magazine named Honolulu #1 on its list of "The 100 Best Places to Raise a Family", while Flint, Michigan scrapes the bottom. Where does your city rank?

"Television executives seized the idea long ago: American families value where they plant their roots. The Cosbys had Brooklyn. The Cunninghams, Milwaukee. The Simpsons, Springfield.

But fathers face reality when they're not in prime time. They want to raise their children somewhere safe, where they can attend good schools with favorable student-teacher ratios, above-average test scores, and respectable budgets. Plenty of museums, parks, and pediatricians also contribute to a good quality of life, whereas multihour commutes, expensive houses, and divorcing friends and neighbors do not. Best Life editors used these categories and data from the U.S. Census Bureau, National Center for Education Statistics, FBI, American Association of Museums, National Center for Health Statistics, and American Bar Association to evaluate 257 cities."

Virginia Beach, Virginia and Billings, Montana rank high with Honolulu, while Dayton, Ohio and Waco, Texas join Flint at the bottom of the heap.

Full Story: The 100 Best Places to Raise a Family



Yet another "top 100 lists"

Is anyone else tired of these unscientific and poorly scaled lists that this magazine and others publish? I love how control factors such as population or metro area size aren't reflected in these lists. I could make a huge list of assumptions and conditions these lists lack to tell the reader about. I'd love to desect the author's methodology and see just what goes into these rankings.

What methodology?...

Obviously, we need to "consider the source" when viewing ridiculous "Top 100" lists such as this. I doubt any reasonable amount of scientifc methodology was utilized in this slap-dash patchwork of "best places." Witness: Las Vegas ranked higher than Portland (Oregon), Seattle, Denver, and Kansas City (MO & KS)?? Are legalized prostitution, widespread gambling, the highest foreclosure rate in the nation, and quickie divorces a positive environment in which to raise a family? Apparently so...

Statistics and numbers in

Statistics and numbers in general are abused here as they are too often elsewhere. Philadelphia International Airport was just ranked by JD Power and Associates as "#1 in Customer Satisfaction," which is a laughable notion to locals. All these lists and rankings are really about the underlying goals and objectives (i.e., the agenda) of those who publish the lists. Business magazines might use criteria related to taxes and regulation to show that Houston is better than Portland, while environmentally-minded or progressive publications might use such criteria as number of parks, the presence of bike trails, recycling programs, etc., to show the opposite. The cherry-picking that allows certain un-named authors and posters to paint spending tax dollars on public infrastructure as a wasteful boondoggle (especially if it's related to mass transit) is the same type of selective use of statistics to prove that Honolulu is the best place to raise a family. But wait a sec...what if the authors included "danger from volcanic eruptions" or "danger from earthquakes" as criteria? That might change things just a bit. I'll throw one out there - the 'ten most architecturally significant U.S. cities.' What should those criteria be? Density of buildings designed by famous architects? Number of buildings over 500'? Concentration of brick rowhomes? Art-deco facades? Billboards, gas stations, and fast food shacks?

Michael Lewyn's picture

a plug for my most livable cities site

- No doubt flawed, but no more so than anyone else's. Basically looks at crime rates, percent of people walking to work, and transit use.

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