November 11, 2012

A Livability Index

We’re always interested in ways to measure how Special a place is.  A website called has a Livability Index that has some interesting assumptions.

First, let’s see what it makes of some places most of us agree are Not Particularly Special (by which we mean we wouldn’t live there for free and we also wouldn’t live there unless we were paid Larry Ellison’s stock options).

Here’s areavibes on Detroit.


Detroit, MI is “Somewhat Livable.”  The only “A” grade it received was in cost of living, and that’s because the city will pay you to take one of their excess houses so they don’t have to pay to tear it down.  We can’t imagine what kind of city would merit a “Completely Out of the Question.”  Let’s move another to another Perennial of Pwnage: Stockton.


I can see the new Civic Motto over City Hall (if they have any staff capable of hanging banners): Stockton! Four Points More Livable Than Detroit!  But they are an important four points, as Stockton is considered “Very Livable.”

We now move on toward the Bay Area, but not the Good Part.


When Stockton has finer amenities than you do, and their weather is better too, plus your housing costs are unacceptably high to anyone outside the Bay Area, what’s the point of even entering the race?  Let’s try a better zip code.


Ooooo!  Exceptionally Livable!  And what’s really exceptional is that if we type in an actual zip code, the score went down.


Good luck figuring out why.  Finally, we arrive at the pinnacle of Real Bay Area Living.


We invite you to try to score higher than that, either in the Bay Area, or anywhere else.  And we don’t want you to think these “grades” are completely pulled out of Mitt Romney’s car elevator.  Here, for example, is what the housing grade is based on:


Cupertino scores higher than average in every category.  Why would they be marked down for better numbers?

This is also your Weekend Open Thread, so go crazy.

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:11 am

17 Responses to “A Livability Index”

  1. SEA Says:

    Time to move to Lake Wobegon, MN.

  2. sprezzatura Says:

    San Mateo beat Cupertino, scoring an 86 for the Baywood-Aragon section:

  3. Real Estater Says:

    84 for Palo Alto. A+ for housing. It says, “Palo Alto, CA is Exceptionally Livable”.

  4. SEA Says:

    “Tracy, CA is Exceptionally Livable.”

  5. nomadic Says:

    The housing grades seem f*cked up. Higher prices than average are great for people who already live there, but suck for newcomers.

  6. Divasm Says:

    My town also is 84. I’m guessing many peninsula cities are due to nice weather, good schools and all around awesomeness.

  7. madhaus Says:

    Did you notice that some of the Bay Area cities get a B in weather, while Stockton gets a B+? I don’t THINK so. And is housing based on how high the cost is rather than how much house you get for your money (in which case Detroit would be A++++++++++++++++++++++++)

  8. SEA Says:

    Is it time to load up with AAPL on “weakness?”

    If AAPL closes below $600 and below GOOG at year end, I’ll win a nice wager with a friend. If APPL closes above $600 and above GOOG, then I’ll have to pay. It’s a draw otherwise.

  9. Real Estater Says:

    Apple is an excellent buy right now, as is Facebook.

  10. SEA Says:

    Keep saying “buy right now,” and you’re likely to guess correctly at some point in time.

  11. Real Estater Says:

    You should buy now because the fiscal cliff is a problem waiting to be resolved. Stock market will bounce when the resolution comes, and a resolution will come.

  12. SEA Says:

    Should I sell after such resolution?

  13. SEA Says:

    “Another famous loser is Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.

    Before Facebook’s IPO, Zuckerberg was estimated to be worth up to $20 billion. The social network’s stock has underperformed since its May stock market debut Zuckerberg’s net worth has dropped by $10.7 billion. But he’s still the world’s 88th richest person.”


  14. nomadic Says:

    If it’s paper wealth (and only an estimate at that), and now a paper loss, does it count? Sounds like an article directed toward the audience who also reads celebrity gossip.

  15. SEA Says:

    #14- I agree the initial FB valuation was way out of line.

  16. car Says:

    Do you mean in CA only? Because the DFW area of Texas has higher scores…Plano has 89

    This is super fun, I searched for Huntington beach and even compton and compton has a higher score than Detroit!!

    I don’t really understand how they rate cost of living though…Garden City, MI has a D+ cost of living score but it’s really affordable in the whole metro detroit area. I’m confused. Whereas East St Louis has an A+ in cost of living. Well of course it does, it’s incredibly dangerous and no one wants to live there!

    Seems random. But fun anyways.

  17. SEA Says:

    My wager is looking VERY good (see #8).

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