24 October 2009

Greensboro cool for kids, but not as cool as Jersey City?

We see a lot of city rankings for a lot of different topics.

There's the most dangerous list (#1: Detroit), the most expensive list (#1 worldwide: Tokyo), the fattest cities (#1: Miami -- really?!?!) and even the ugliest cities (#1: El Paso, TX).

As with most things in life, we give a quick glance at such belittling things, discard their contents and never speak of them again, especially considering the sources. Unless, that is, you're on the list. Then you either puff out your chest and exult in your revelry, or you scream bloody murder and demand a magazine or Web site staff's heads.

This latest list, I really don't know what to make of. You see, the people at Children's Health Magazine decided "to rank 100 noteworthy American cities" to find out which are the best to raise a family. While commendable in theory, the people at Children's Heath Magazine leave a lot to be desired on disclosure.

Now, in fairness, they do tell us their criteria. There were 17 individual studies, reports and statistical comparisons used within three specific categories: Employment, Health and Housing. While the magazine tells us exactly which reports were used to determine these rankings, they don't tell us how they decided to choose the cities themselves.

Now, I am going to guess that the good people at Children's Health Magazine never visited the cities, since they give no synopsis on what they found in each city. They give a very short summary on their #1 choice -- Burlington, Vermont -- but not a word about the other 99 cities.

And some of those cities? You can probably guess those that ranked near the bottom (Detroit, Miami, Cleveland and Las Vegas were all in the bottom 10). Some surprises:

Orlando was ranked 98th out of 100. I'm sure that if you polled children, they would like nothing more than to live in Orlando. Trust me.

Fargo, North Dakota, ranked third out of 100. The magazine's explanation was the same as my reaction: Speechless.

Jersey City, New Jersey ranked 13th and Newark, New Jersey ranked 46th. Now, as someone born and raised in the Garden State, Jersey City and Newark are not the first places I would choose to relocate with the little ones. Granted, they're no Camden. But "Jersey City", "Newark" and "best places" don't deserve to be in the same sentence, unless we're including "cheap hookers" in that sentence, as well.

As for something a little closer to home, Greensboro, North Carolina, came in at Number 61 on this list. I can't really make a solid argument to move the Gate City much higher since I haven't seen the data or visited most of the other cities ahead of us. And I'm no magazine writer who looks at random data and puts a whole bunch of cities through the ringer for gits and shiggles, so I'm not going to bust open an argument.

All I know is that Growing Up Kaitlyn is proud to be based in the Piedmont Triad, even if we do have some of the ugliest men in the nation.

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