Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tops and Bottoms

Don't be dirty-minded... we're talking rankings, not sexual role preferences.

You may recall that Fosco loves rankings (especially of cities). And because Fosco is not alone, the media has realized that rankings always make popular news stories.

So what's new in the world of rankings? Well, there's a bunch of Bay Area-related news to share.

First, the good news: California's 14th Congressional District is the happiest in the nation. This district covers most of the Peninsula south of San Francisco and stops just north of Santa Cruz. Because Fosco lives in Santa Cruz and Oz lives in Daly City, Fosco ends up driving the length of the 14th District several times a month. He must admit that everyone in it sure looks pretty happy--and rich.

Speaking of rich, the district contains most of Silicon Valley, including Google, Apple and Mmm Carpets. However, as this article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel notes:

While higher income and greater opportunity associated with these districts didn't hurt their standing, Amy Neftzger, the lead researcher with Gallup's partner Healthways, said money didn't necessarily translate into happiness. Work, she cautioned, took a toll on physical and emotional health in many parts of the country.
Any guesses as to the least happy congressional district? No, not Indiana's 2nd, but close. It's the bleak Kentucky 5th, on the border with Virginia and West Virginia (median income $21,915).

But not all is pleasant in the Bay Area. As this piece on SFGate notes, San Francisco is one of the ten WORST cities to be unemployed in.
Forbes has compiled a list of the 10 best and 10 worst U.S. cities when it comes to stretching unemployment dollars -- calculated based on benefits versus the cost-of-living. Sadly, San Francisco is the fourth worst city to be on unemployment, better only than New York, Miami and Phoenix.
Phoenix? It turns out the problem there is stingy unemployment benefits (imagine that!). This is how it was all calculated:
In San Francisco, the maximum unemployment benefit is $450 a week, and the cost of living is $113,576 a year. That means the benefits only cover 20.6 percent of the cost-of-living, making getting by on the checks in San Francisco a pretty bleak prospect.
Sigh. And lest you think that the top of list is populated by cities that you would prefer not to live in (employed or unemployed), you should know that both Boston and Seattle somehow made the Top 10.

Let's wrap things up with some college rankings. According to this piece in the Sentinel, has named UC Santa Cruz the second best campus for surfing in the nation. The top? UC San Diego. No surprise there, really. The worst surf campuses weren't ranked, but I'm pretty sure the University of Oklahoma is near the bottom.

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Jill said...

Timely my pathetic paper today, it had the ranking for city's homicide rates. Phoenix was number 5 (for highest number of homicides) for 63 major cities (adjusted for socioeconomic factors such as poverty rates, male unemployment rates, median household incomes, the percentage of black population and the percentage of women headed families with children). El Paso was ranked 55th out of 63. If the rankings counted only homicides per 100,000 population then we would come in 64th out of 65 cities. If I were a dude, I would be the continue with my TMI theme.

FOSCO said...

I bet you can leave your car unlocked in El Paso!

As for your TMI confession... somehow, I would have guessed that... :)