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:
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.
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