Arlington and DC both made it into the top-ten list of America's best cities. Photograph by Flickr user WilliamMarlow
This week Bloomberg Businessweek published the results of its attempt to quantify what makes a great city. They looked at a variety of databases, from the US Census to RealtyTrac, to determine which cities have the best balance of culture, safety, schools, and green space for its residents. The city at the top of its list was Raleigh, North Carolina, but the DMV area didn’t do so badly—with Arlington ranking second and DC itself ranking sixth.
The area’s high rate of education, low foreclosure rate, and abundance of culture were all cited as reasons for Arlington and DC’s rankings. Arlington was cited as having the lowest unemployment rate of all the cities they evaluated, and its rate of bachelor’s degrees among its citizens is near 70 percent. The authors of the list note that DC, despite a plethora of culture, has some downsides, saying it “suffers from the second-highest level of violent crime on this list and a poverty level that nears one in five citizens.”
The publication cited 16 criteria they used to evaluate the cities: “the number of restaurants, bars, and museums per capita; the number of colleges, libraries, and professional sports teams; the income, poverty, unemployment, crime, and foreclosure rates; percentage of population with bachelor’s degrees or higher; public school performance; park acres per 1,000 residents; and air quality.” They placed greater weight on culture, educational attainment and school quality, poverty, and breathability. They say they didn’t look at affordability.
So there you have it. The DMV area does pretty well by the numbers.