WalletHub (a society web site) went out and did a survey on "best cities" in America. I sat and read through the whole thing.
Basically, you have to start a study with some requirements in mind....measurements.....so to speak.
What they used in this? Affordability, Socio-Economic-Environmental, Education and child-care, health and safety, and fun activities.
Yeah, it's an interesting list of things to measure towns against.
At the top of the list? Plano, Texas made it to number one, with Sioux Falls, SD as number two. I've passed through Plano once in my life. Maybe it deserves the status of number....maybe not.
The bottom three? Miami (surprise), Detroit, and Birmingham. I won't argue over Detroit or Birmingham. It'd be hard for me to convince anyone to move into Birmingham....set up a house.....and feel safe around the city (day or night).
At number fifty-two was Huntsville, Alabama. Personally, I would have rated it closer to the top ten and think something got missed in the analysis for best cities.
One key factor in this whole thing.....smaller towns of 50,000 to 100,000.....generally had a better grade than towns of 500,000 or more. Being small....helps.
Somewhere in their analysis....they even got around to measuring divorces, and both Detroit and Birmingham really got down into the weeds with pretty high rates of divorce. Fremont, California for some odd reason....didn't have many divorce cases, which they equate to some form of happiness. Fremont is on the San Francisco Bay area, and I'm wondering how you avoid stress and chaos in these relationships.
Statistics always tell a story. Sometimes, it's absolutely factual. Sometimes....it's slanted. It's hard to tell in this case. The truth is that you could take a very unhappy group of people....say a thousand....and move them all to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A year later....you could measure the thousand, and find that five-hundred of them are now exceedingly happy and would never want to move again. The other five-hundred? Still miserable.
There is no mathematical formula to find the perfect place or best city to live in. You could take a very unhappy guy and move him into the middle of Birmingham or Detroit....and maybe there's one or two little factors that suddenly shift this guy's mental attitude around and he think's it's paradise in Birmingham. Yeah, I'd say he was a nutcase.....but it's entirely possible that Birmingham does have some mythical magic left to sprinkle on some folks.
We could go the other direction and find really happy family residing in some rural area of Idaho, and move them into another rural area of Alaska....only to find that rural qualities were just the one single factor to make them happy, and they feel really negative living in Alaska.
An update to the survey by next year? Yeah....some town will slip, and some town will gain. Birmingham? Well....it could slip past Detroit and go to worst city in America.....maybe.