How the world (according to CNN) sees us.

CNN/Money once again have published the "top 100 places to live" list, broken down by numerous factors. Small cities, large cities, medium-sized.. et. al.

And Roanoke is not on the list.

But it does not stop us from taking a look at the city's profile.

Shall we?

Median family income
(per year)
$49,283 $93,075
Family purchasing power
(annual, cost-of-living adjusted)
$38,490 $107,483
Sales tax 5.00% 6.57%
State income tax rate
(highest bracket)
5.75% 5.17%
State income tax rate
(lowest bracket)
2.00% 2.43%
Auto insurance premiums
(Average for the state)
$1,576 $1,791
Job growth %
-7.05% 18.72%

Ok - so some of those are things which we have no control over - the income tax and such.

Want to see something we do?

Movie theaters
(within 15 miles)
13 51
(within 15 miles)
601 4,094
(within 15 miles)
19 408
Public golf courses
(within 30 miles)
41 316
(within 15 miles)
22 89
Museums (accredited by AAM;
within 30 miles)
2 13
Ski resorts (within 100 miles) 5 33
Arts funding (Dollars per person of state funds spent on arts) 0.9 1.5

Suddenly, we no look-a so good.

I could go on, but I'm sure CNN would sue me for reposting all the data.

(This data courtesy CNN/Money, thanks for not being litigious.)

I guess we could over-analyze this and point fingers and everything else. Or we could just decide to do better.

But is that really an option?


t. bob ross said...

408 bars? wow...

Sean said...

Some observations about Leisure and Culture that may help shed light on why Roanoke doesn't do well in these ill-conceived "best places" lists.

1. Of the top 100 best places, places with the coldest winter weather have the most number of movie theaters. Places in the south and in the southwest have fewer theaters.

2. The restaurant tally within 15 miles is a joke. For example, Plymouth MN has a population of 70,000 and 3,362 restaurants within 15 miles. But I dug a little. It's in the Minneapolis Metro Statistical Area - population 3,500,000! It's 12.5 miles from downtown Minneapolis, of course it will have more restaurants. But the Roanoke MSA has 1/11th the population. Therefore, the Roanoke Metro has 1 restaurant for every 500 citizens. By contrast,t the Plymouth area has only 1 restaurant for every 1,000 citizens. Advantage Roanoke.

3. Miles doesn't mean anything these days. The commute from Plymouth to downtown Minneapolis is only 12.5 miles but it takes 40 minutes one way (according to commuter testimonials). By contrast, it takes me 26 minutes to drive the 17 miles from Boones Mill to North Cross School in Roanoke.

4. Roanoke has more golf courses per capita than Plymouth, MN does, especially within 30 miles. 30 miles from Plymouth includes additional very dense metro areas. Anyway, it would take 2 hours to drive 30 miles in Minneapolis :) And in MN, you can golf for what, 4 months? :)

5. Plymouth does have more bars per capita, although I'm not sure that's something to be proud of.

6. Libraries per capita. Roanoke trounces Plymouth. Plymouth has 5 times as many libraries within 15 miles but it has 11 times the population!

7. Museums per capita. Roanoke trounces Plymouth.

8. Ski resorts per capita. Roanoke trounces Plymouth AGAIN. Which surprised me.

9. Arts funding. This is misleading. Roanoke City statistics do not include metro statistics, which are quite different. Where Roanoke City is poorer and surrounding counties within the Roanoke Metro are wealthier, Plymouth is the Minneapolis equivalent of a Roanoke County. In other words, dude, Plymouth is 95% white, and not only that, they're mostly white collar. Of course they'll pump lots of money into the arts. Still, the arts in the Roanoke metro, and that counts everything from Ferrum to Rocky Mount to Roanoke to Hollins and so on, is pretty damn amazing.

I think you're right on the money, there is definitely room for improvement in Roanoke. But Roanoke is a WAY better place to live than these "Best Of" lists indicate.


Jen said...

(sarcasm mode on) Well we could always have an inn on Mill Mountain... That coupled with the Taubman Museum of Art should thrust us to the top of the heap... Notice I didn't say what heap.(/sarcasm mode off)