July 16, 2007

The "Best Place to Live" in America.

It's almost Madison.

UPDATE: "[D]oes CNN hate black people? ... Does CNN just assume everyone will know they're talking 'bout crackers?"


Anonymous said...

"Middleton has more going on than you might expect for a town of 17,000."

Really? That's news to me.

froggyprager said...

I have looked over the list and think it is really silly/ worthless. How can you compare places with such different qualities? How could their lists change so much from year to year? It would not be as intersting to readers if the list was virtually the same year after year.

This year they said "we focused on smaller places that offered the best combination of economic opportunity, good schools, safe streets, things to do and a real sense of community." Looking at the list I see a bunch of nice suburbs that are not too pricy. The problem with this is that these towns could not succeed as they have with out the central cities they are near.

The happy families of Middleton can live their charmed life because they mostly work in Madison and don't have to pay for or deal with the cost of educating the lower income/ minority kids in Madison (yes Madison has some lower income people), police, fixing decaying infrastructure of Madison, etc. I am sure the case is the same for every place on the list – basically the same old white flight story. Also, are the municipal boundaries even relevant anymore. I would bet that virtually everyone in all these great towns, goes to another town to go to school, work, shop, eat, etc.

Richard Dolan said...

These places define yemensvelt. Imagine the demographic that would want to live there -- sounds like an upscale sort of place where the locals are more in need of employing "help" than they are in finding employment for themselves.

MadisonMan said...

I don't understand why winter is a con in northern locales, but summer is not in southern locations. Summer in Wisconsin is breathtaking in a way that people in the south can only dream of. (Winter is also breathtaking, but in an entirely different way.)

Middleton will face spiraling taxes soon enough. I know Madison families who have moved to Middleton because of Middleton's great services for challenging school children. The many developments off of Airport Road, and Highway 14, and around Cross Plains are not paying for themselves. All this (and the State's silly revenue sharing formula for public schools) practically ensure it.

XWL said...

College towns (or places that serve as the bedroom communities for college towns), always seem to dominate these lists.

College towns are great in their fashion, but a nation made up completely of college towns would be frightening and unproductive (or one of the Benelux nations).

Laura Reynolds said...

The Best Places to Live in America, in you don't want to be around any poor folks and minorities, you know like blacks and hispanics. We'll excuse the maids and landscapers that leave at night. Exceptions granted for imports which boost high school sports performances.

MM: your point about weather is good, I live in the Southwest and ratio moving here from there is close to 1.0.

James Wigderson said...

Hey! Waukesha got dropped off the list! I demand a recount! We were #36 last year!

chickelit said...

Is that a forward looking statement or based on past performance?
Having done it (1963 to 1983), I can attest it was a wonderful place to grow up.
Congrats Middleton!

Anonymous said...

Middleton is now doomed.

ricpic said...

The best place to live in America is Fresno, California, case closed.

LoafingOaf said...

The only town around my neck of the woods that made the list was Highland Heights, OH, which is kind of a random choice. Yeah, it's a nice, comfortable, low-crime, affordable suburb, but I can't think of anything special about it. It's next to Mayfield, OH, where Leave it to Beaver took place....

The article says something about a golf course and that they "require every new subdivision to install underground wiring and decorative street lights." Big friggin' deal.

Those are the same two notable facts that Wikipedia lists in almost the same words, so either those are the only two notable facts the town can hype about itself, or an intern at the magazine lifted out of Wikipedia.

They also say you can hop on a train to Cleveland. Actually, you have to drive out of Highland Heights and to one of the cooler suburbs, then you can hop on the train. Maybe that's splitting hairs, but if access to trains is a reason it was selected, there were much better choices in the area.

Another notable thing about Highland Heights is that it's one of the suburbs in Greater Cleveland where white people (including a lot of Italian-Americans) avoid being around blacks and other "undesirables". But I guess they don't wanna mention that. Since that's not as much the case in some of the cooler suburbs , again there were much better choices in the area.

paul a'barge said...

Nothing in Texas made the top 25?

But there are a bunch of places in like MASS, NY, NJ?

Oh please. We must be in CNN-land ... down is up again.

blake said...


The gateway to Bakersfield?

reader_iam said...

What the--? Pike Creek, Delaware is #79.

Huh. I'll be.

Pike Creek is not a town, by the way, folks. It is part of the Greater Newark Area, and its mailing addresses end with "Newark, DE 19711."

Well, wait a minute--over the past couple of decades, people have very oddly extended the range of the historical Pike, so I suppose they're including the other side of Limestone Road (Route 7) north of Kirkwood Highway as Pike Creek (horrors!). In that case, there'd be some Hockessin mailing addresses and some Wilmington mailing addresses.

Weird, weird, weird.

How do I know this? I used to live in Pike Creek (in the heart of the original designation), and my in-laws still live and run a business there.

And I am here to tell you that designation is just plain nuts, IMO, notwithstanding the fact that when we move back to Delaware, it is highly likely that we will end up back in Pike Creek on another property owned by family.

Pike Creek, Delaware. Nuts.

reader_iam said...

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate Pike Creek, at all. Just don't get its inclusion on a "best place to live" list, especially given some of the other places on the list, a number which I've visited.

Bill said...

Madison Man, in the Lake Mary writeup the cons were Florida summers, hurricanes and not mentioned were alligators and Burmese pythons and night of the living dead type bugs.
Also the acres of unsold houses, some converted to grow houses and meth labs.

reader_iam said...

Don't about Lake Mary, but does it also have those large-ass roaches known as Palmetto bugs? I'll never forget the first time I saw one of those Key West. Yowza!

reader_iam said...

Insert "know" after "don't."

reader_iam said...

And "in" after "those."

THAT one is dedicated to YOU, Internet Ronin, you smart ass.

; )>
; )

reader_iam said...

You know, I keep thinking about this article, and the Pike Creek thing, and it really does sort of call into question the motivation (though, given that we're talking Money magazing, you get what you're paying for).

Here's why: Given a number of the factors that go into the equation, you could say the exact same things about any number of areas in Delaware, including a whole number just one intersection across Kirkwood Highway at numerous points. But of course THOSE aren't the areas chosen.

Anyone want to speculate why?

reader_iam said...

Can't imagine the same weightings didn't play into the equation with regard to at least a goodly number of the other slots ... .

Randy said...

As no one else has said anything, I suggest taking the statistics provided by Money magazine with a huge dose of salt.

Probably 20 of their "25 Hottest Cities in America" are NOT the hottest cities in America. The info. supposedly reflects average high temperatures in July and comes from the National Weather Center. The numbers I checked for California cities are about 20 degrees too high. There is absolutely no way that Davis, California can be the hottest city in America, and I sincerely doubt that the National Weather Center told them it was.

If weather is not your bag, check out the "racial diversity index" results for a few cities. You may be surprised to learn that Baltimore, Maryland is 760% more racially diverse than the United States population at-large. How Baltimore accomplishes that while have an Hispanic population of all races of just 1.7% is best left your imagination.

After that, I din't bother double-checking too closely their claims about average incomes, tax rates, marriage rates, and local amenities, but I was unimpressed with the accuracy of the supposed data on a few locales with which I am familiar.

dick said...

I was wondering how those towns got on that list. Do they have to send in videos or presentations or is this just a random selection process. I know in the old days when Look Magazine picked its American cities you had to apply for it. I know my home town applied and won two years in a row and was described as the quintessential American/Mom/Apple Pie town, America's home town.

We were also picked shortly after WW II when the VOA decided to try to show the rest of the world what America was like. They picked the typical American town and spent several months there photographing daily life, school kids, shops, workers, etc. It was really fascinating to see it and live in the town because you could see friends, neighbors just being themselves. I don't know whatever happened to that one but I would love to see it to compare the America as viewed from the 1948/1949 era and the way it is portrayed historically now. I think it would make a good Ken Burns type of film.

Back to this it just strikes me that of the towns I am familiar with on this list, they have to be just a random sampling of the areas because I know that I would rather live in the towns near these than I would in these towns themselves. Too many of them remind me of the Stepford Wives syndrome.

Wade Garrett said...

Middleton is about as close to Stepford as you can get in the midwest. Its a slightly less wealthy and slightly more overweight than Stepford, Connecticut, but the all-white demographics and lockstep conformity are the same.

Wade Garrett said...

The makers of this list focus too much on towns that lack crime and poor people. Perhaps nobody wants to live in a poor, violent neighborhood, but a lot of people want to live in a town that has a little more exposure to the real world. If you live in a town where you get a ticket for driving 29 miles per hour in a 25 mile-per-hour zone, your family isn't living in reality.

Hanover, New Hampshire might be my favorite small town in the country, but the only people who move there are professors who teach at Dartmouth, the doctors who work at their small teaching hospital, and a few writers like Bill Bryson who can pretty much live anywhere they want. There are no blue collar jobs to speak of, and, in a town of 15,000 people, the market for professionals is very poor. Sure, its a nice place, but if you can't easily move there and make a good living for yourself, what's the point of having it on the list?

Galvanized said...

Yea for lovely Friendswood, Texas -- 51st! :) A pretty nice to raise a family, I'll admit.