We may be a moving company, but we often like to blog about city rankings and migration trends. After all, city rankings are a great way to measure how a region is doing and thus, where people will be moving to or from.
One metropolitan area that never ceases to amaze me is the Washington D.C. area. For the past ten years the DC area has consistently topped national rankings, from "Top Earning Towns" to "Most Literate City". It's these high rankings which people use to measure the quality of life and why so many people choose to move to the DC area.
This week I decided to look at recent statistics and see how the area has fared since we last discussed it in the summer of 2012. As I expected, the DC area continues to bring home the accolades which adds to the desirability of those relocating. But it's not all great news, as with many things positives are usually met with negatives. The DC are also found itself on several 'undesirable' lists proving that progress and growth comes at a cost.
Let's take a look at some recent placings on major city lists.
America's Coolest Cities
Towards the end of July 2012, Forbes published rankings for 20 of "America's Coolest Cities". While Houston, Texas snagged 1st place, Washington D.C. grabbed the #2 spot. One of the nations richest cities (and directly next door to DC), Bethesda, MD, placed 17th on the same list. Baltimore, a mere 45 minutes from Washington D.C., placed 14th.
In December 2012, Fast Company released the top 10 "Smartest Cities in the US". Washington D.C. and the Washington D.C. metropolitan area (which includes Maryland and Northern Virginia) ranked 6th. This is not terribly surprising when you consider that DC area schools consistently rank very high on the U.S. News "Best High Schools" list.
Back in May 2012 Measure of America released its publication, "Women's Well-Being: Ranking America's Top 25 Metro Areas". According to the report, women living in the Washington D.C. area, "live longer, have more education, and earn far more than the average American woman." Talk about a glowing report! The publication makes an incredibly powerful argument as to why the DC area is a great place for women.
Best Cities for Families
Each year Parenting Magazine publishes its list of "Top 10 Best Cities for Families". The report takes into account the quality of schools, affordability of homes, crime rate, employment rate and the number of parks. In 2012 the Washington D.C. area ranked 6th overall, a rather large tumble from their 1st place rank in 2011. The publication does not offer a reason for the decline in ranking other than the inclusion of data from nearby Arlington, VA into the DC score, which by all accounts should have increased the ranking. But hey, I'm just here to talk about what has already been reported.
Despite a myriad of positive rankings, Washington D.C. has a few bad ones too. According to the "2012 Allstate Annual Best Drivers Report", Washington D.C. finished in last place, 195th. In both 2010 and 2011 DC finished just slightly better, 193rd both years. Interestingly enough, Baltimore finished in second to last place, 194th. It's important to note that this report is published based solely on Allstate policyholders. However, Allstate insures approximately 10% of all US drivers so that data is an accurate representation of drivers as a whole.
According to The Daily Beast, the Washington D.C. area ranks 9th in the nation on the "25 Drunkest Cities 2012" list. The outlet appears to have done their homework too, using data from market research companies and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the site, DC area adult residents consume an average of 15.6 alcoholic drinks per month and 14.5% of the population is classified as binge drinkers. Yikes! The top 25 cities are mostly smaller metropolitan areas like Providence, RI and Charleston, SC but there are several major cities ranked as well. So, what city is the drunkest of them all? Boston, good ol' Beantown. What is most interesting is that Boston also happens to rank 1st on the previously discussed 'Smartest Cities' list. Coincidence?