Movoto.com, a real estate research site, recently came up with a way to measure a city’s “happiness” and our own McKinney, Texas, is on the list.
Big grins to all!
Although Rochester, Minn., may be considered the No. 1 Happiest Mid-Sized City in America, good ol’ McTown is No. 10. Here’s what writer Randy Nelson had to say about McKinney:
“We end our tour of America’s happiest mid-sized cities in the Lone Star State, where smiles certainly aren’t an endangered species–especially not in McKinney. Maybe it has something to do with all that wedded bliss in the air? That wouldn’t be surprising considering more people in McKinney are married than in any other place on our top 10 list: 63 percent, resulting in an eighth place overall rank for marriage.
“When it comes to our other happiness factors, McKinney did well overall. It placed 15th for income with 10 percent of its households making below $25,000 annually. It was 21st for home ownership (66 percent of its houses are owner-occupied), 24th for education (46 percent of its people have at least a bachelor’s degree), and 32nd for safety.
“Where did McKinney falter? It placed 60th for stress factors, a number we attribute largely to its 30-minute average commute and cost of living just six percent below the national average. Finally, McKinney residents aren’t getting around on foot. The city has a WalkScore of 23, giving it a rank of 187 for this criterion.”
The Top 10 List of this story follows below, or you can view the entire package by clicking right here.
What factors did the site use? We re-published this part of Nelson’s piece below:
In his book, Richard Florida discusses his conclusions following research into what makes cities happy places, having looked at common sense ideas like “the more money people make, the happier they are” and less common concepts such as correlations between marital status and happiness. Piggybacking on his research, we were able to adapt it into the following seven criteria, one of which is actually comprised of three sub-factors:
- Stress factors (high unemployment, long commutes, high cost of living)
- Personal safety (violent crimes)
- Residents making greater than $25,000/year
- Married residents
- Home ownership
- Residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher
- Convenience of amenities
In his research, Florida found that only 43 percent of people making less than $25,000 a year reported being happy with their city. On the other hand, 69 percent of married residents and 73 percent of residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher reported they were. So, using data from the U.S. Census, we were able to focus in on those groups within each city and measure how much of the population they comprised.
The particular stress factors we looked at were also found to correlate to a city’s happiness, as were higher home ownership, personal safety, and convenience in the sense of amenities being easily accessible, which is where the website WalkScore.com came in.
We applied these criteria to 200 mid-sized cities, which we defined as those ranked 101 through 300 in terms of population size in the U.S. according to the Census Bureau. Each city was given a score of one to 200 in the individual criteria, with one being the best, after which we averaged these scores into one aggregate, which we call our Big Deal Score. The lowest aggregate score was crowned the winner, in this case Rochester, MN.