Virginia’s Best Small Cities (according to WalletHub)

Hyperion Espresso, in downtown Fredericksburg, one of America's great small-town coffee shops.

Hyperion Espresso, in downtown Fredericksburg, one of America’s great small-town coffee shops.

OK, I’ll admit it, I’m a total list junkie. That’s why I faithfully check out the latest WalletHub rankings of the best this or worst that among America’s states and cities, even knowing the methodological pitfalls of comparing any unit of government in Virginia, with its one-of-a-kind local-government organizational structure with municipalities in other states. I just can’t help myself.

Now WalletHub has published a list of the best and worst “small cities” in America based on 22 metrics of affordability, economic health, education, public health, and quality of life. In WalletHub’s world, the more coffee shops, museums and fitness centers per capita, the higher the quality of life. Writes WalletHub:
small_cities

America’s little towns commonly attract newcomers or returnees for the same reasons: tighter communities, less competition, shorter commutes and an actual backyard with a white picket fence. And from a purely financial standpoint, living in a small city creates a sense of greater wealth because of cheaper cost of living — one of the main draws for in-movers, especially those seeking to raise a family.

Looks like Northern Virginia small “cities” — like Ashburn and Sterling, which are suburban places, not local governments — score among the top of the 1,268 places scored. Petersburg and Annandale scraped the bottom for Virginia, but they scored better than the 23, yes, count ’em, 23, California cities that crowded out the very bottom of the list.

Overall, Virginia small cities averaged a score of 451, considerably better than the 634 average for the country as a whole, but nothing to write home about.

Get this, Fredericksburg ranked No 1 in the entire country for WalletHub’s “quality of life” ranking. One of the metrics the publisher includes in quality of life is “commute time” and “walk to work.” Given the enormous percentage of the population that makes the daily trek north on Interstate 95, Fredericksburg assuredly is not racking up points for its commute time. Must be all those bars, restaurants and coffee shops.

— JAB

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5 responses to “Virginia’s Best Small Cities (according to WalletHub)

  1. well it would be a mistake to compare Fredericksburg city with the Fredericksburg “Area”.

    Fredericksburg city -is a small town with real grid streets and a train station that has both VRE and Amtrak.

    People … CAN walk to the train station to take VRE to a NoVa job.

    the “area” around Fredericksburg – Exurban Spotsylvania and Stafford are chock-a-block with single family detached subdivisions – with large dollops of commuters from hell… who bleat plaintively about “come-here’s” spoiling their “rural” nirvana and how the state screws them over on transportation funding because the state refuses to build more “free” roads…to ease their commute.

  2. What’s not to like about #772 Blacksburg — once called “the most wired (online-connected) town in America” — other than its lack of major shopping?

    And #406 Springfield is geographically next to #1054 Annandale – they’re quite similar, and developed largely in the 1950s- 60s. Springfield is at the busy junction of I-95, 395, and 495 and has an aging shopping Mall…..Annandale has an enormous community college, and countless Korean businesses.

  3. What’s not to like about #772 Blacksburg — once called “the most wired (online-connected) town in America” — other than its lack of major shopping?

    And #406 Springfield is geographically next to #1054 Annandale – they’re quite similar, and developed largely in the 1950s- 60s. Springfield is at the busy junction of I-95, 395, and 495 and has an aging Mall, and a large recreational park…..Annandale has an enormous community College, and countless Korean businesses.

  4. Any such list that doesn’t even mention Staunton (let alone rank it highly) is suspect.

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