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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Whose grass is greenest?

A recent study, by the Pew Research Center, revealed that nearly half of all Americans want to live elsewhere (there's a shocker). In that survey the three most popular cities were Denver, Seattle, and San Diego. The three least popular were Detroit, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. The survey also showed that many 'city dwellers' were unhappy about their living conditions. So what does all this mean, or does it mean anything at all?

Well it's natural to want something better for yourself and your family. It is also natural to think the grass is greener on the other side. The survey also showed that younger people are more drawn to cities, and that women are the more difficult draw for cities - reemphasizing the indicator species phenomenon with women as noted by William H. Whyte in The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces.

Cincinnati's own, Brianne Fahey, says that she not only loves Cincinnati, but she loves the city.

Brianne Fahey lives in a city the survey says an overwhelming majority of Americans would prefer not to live in: Cincinnati. Like many other large Midwestern and Northeastern cities, Cincinnati ranks near the bottom on people's lists of ideal spots.

For Fahey, 30, Cincinnati is truly home. She grew up in North College Hill, a suburb where her parents and friends still live, but bought a downtown condo after college. She gets by without a car in a city that has few mass transit options. "I like the self-sufficiency of the city," she says. "It's a good place to be in all stages of life."

From USA Today 9/27/09

I think Cincinnati does have a lot to offer. I would also say that other Midwestern and Northeastern cities are the same way. We could sit here and talk about the survey's methodology or psychological behaviors all day. In the end I think people will take what they want to take from the survey, and criticize what they want.

The most significant data there is though is reality. The Cincinnati metropolitan area is a growing region and the city itself is growing too. Public schools are improving as is public safety. And the urban core has more residents and families calling it home than its had in many, many decades. Brianne is certainly not alone even though her story may be silent.

Map from Pew Research


Brianne said...


Call me naive, but this place is awesome! My family is here, there are quite a few decent career choices, a 30 (gasp - did I just admit that) year old like myself can afford to live a block from the center of the city.

It's my little secret corner of the world and I'm guarding it and keeping it.

Quimbob said...

The top places listed are great places to visit but I wouldn't want to live there. before moving to Cincinnati, I seriously considered Minneapolis. I guess I am just a bottom feeder.

Andrew said...

i think most people in this survey didn't choose cincinnati because they don't know anything about it. not because they think it's lame.

liz said...

i totally agree w/ drew and i also have observed that many people who live in cities like new york and LA are miserable but refuse to even consider living anywhere else. which means i think that like everything else people really have no clue what will actually make them happy in life and base their decisions on what other people are doing rather than on what they truly want.

Anonymous said...

Cincinnati will never be high on anyone's list. Accept it, embrace it and don't worry about it, just get over it and do what you can to make the city a better place for its residents.

As far as growth...its marginal. Not much to make a difference (it's the birth rate). It'll never be a city where people migrate to in mass such as the sunbelts but it certainly is performing better than Cleveland and Detroit (not sure if that's something to brag about)

Charlie Green said...

I'd love to live in any of the top three cities (add Portland, OR to my list), and I've also met tons of NYCers who love that city and would never leave.

I like this city a lot, but as a transplant, I don't have the connections here to stay long term unless the city's infrastructure improves drastically. Still, I've met too many locals who ignore what's great about this place.

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