I’m always interested in the idea of moving somewhere else. Milwaukee has little to offer to even the biggest optimist1, so that is part of it. But I also like the idea of finding a place that really balances fun and comfort. Not too much day-to-day stress but also an abundance of things to do. I’ve considered all sorts of formulas that manipulate population density, thinking that was a key. Average temperature, number of sunny days and amount/types of precipitation matter a bit too. I’ve thought about cost of living, typical education levels, crime rates, and more. But there’s clearly no magic bullet number that indicates the place for you.
And then there are all these lists. Best places to live. Best cities for one occupation or another. Cities with the most beautiful people. Blah blah blah. Most of it is probably 100% made up 2. But it’s also a lot of meaningless data. What constitutes a “best city” for someone at CNN or Buzzfeed likely does not mean the same to you or I.
So I think we need to attack this problem a little more creatively. I’m thinking of a website that allows voting, possibly. And maybe just focus on the top 50 cities by population3. As a voter, you could maybe select where you live and be given a lot of questions/attributes that may apply to your city. You can pick whether something applies or not. People interested in moving can fill out a profile with the things they like or don’t like, and be given a list of cities that fit them. Almost like dating.
The thing is, you don’t want to ask questions about crime or weather or jobs. You can find that data anywhere. You need to ask the types of things that you can’t possibly learn about until you move somewhere. The things that end up really mattering, at least if you’re hateful like me.
Here’s some possible examples (with semi-fictional results):
City with people least likely to talk to you on an airplane
- New York
- Cincinnati (nobody wants to admit they live there)
City with people most likely to talk to you on an airplane
- New York (this only applies to people who say they’re from NY, are actually from NJ)
- Kansas City
City where you’re most likely to be late to work because a cyclist refused to use the bike lane and held you up
- San Francisco
City where you’re most likely to be screamed at by a homeless person for no reason
City with the highest population of people with “Coffee Shop Patron” as a career
- New York (we’re rolling Brooklyn in here)
City where people drink the wimpiest beer
- St Louis
City where you’re most likely to be punched at a sporting event
City where you’ll be most ashamed to tell people where you’re from
City where you can’t just sit down for a drink without some jackass trying to bother you with their bullshit
- San Antonio
I could go on, and on, and on. Someone should make a site that tracks this stuff.